[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of New Castle 11-28-1989 by L.L. No. 15-1989. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Master Fee Schedule — See Ch. 17.
Building construction — See Ch. 46.
Electrical inspections — See Ch. 63.
Noise — See Ch. 90.
Editor’s Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 38, Alarm Systems, adopted 5-13-1986 by L.L. No. 5-1986.
It is determined that an increasing number of alarm devices are being installed and used in New Castle, that this has contributed to a significant number of false alarms being made or relayed to the Police and Fire Departments and that false alarms hinder the efficiency of these departments, lower the morale of their personnel and constitute a danger to the public safety and welfare.
The purposes of this chapter are to regulate the use and installation of alarm devices, promote their responsible use and reduce the number of false alarms transmitted to the Police and Fire Departments. Among other things, this chapter defines and provides for the registration of alarm devices.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 16-1992]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A visible or audible signal, or a signal transmitted over telephone lines or by other means, which is intended to give notice of an incident to which the Police Department or Fire Department is expected to respond. A telephone voice call or radio transmission made by an individual available to be engaged in two-way communication, and not in response to an alarm device, is not an alarm within the meaning of this chapter.
- ALARM ADMINISTRATOR OR ADMINISTRATOR
- The individual designated pursuant to this chapter who is charged with responsibility for the administration of this chapter.
- ALARM AGENT
- An individual employee or agent of an alarm contractor.
- ALARM APPEALS BOARD
- The board having responsibility for hearing administrative appeals from determinations of the Alarm Administrator.
- ALARM CONTRACTOR
- A person owning or operating a business engaged in one or more alarm business activities.
- ALARM DEVICE
- A device, series or combination of devices or system of devices which transmits an alarm when activated by a criminal act, unauthorized intrusion, fire or other emergency. Excluded from this definition and the scope of this chapter are single-unit, battery-operated smoke alarms and other devices which are designed to alert or signal only persons in the premises where they are installed.
- ALARM-MONITORING FACILITY
- A facility designated in this chapter or by the New Castle Town Board as being authorized to receive transmissions and communications that give notice of or relate to the activation of alarm devices, including communications from central stations. Police headquarters is hereby designated as an alarm-monitoring facility.
- ALARM USER
- Includes each person owning, leasing or otherwise having control over the premises where an alarm device is used or installed.
- AUTOMATIC DIAL ALARM
- A telephone device or attachment that automatically or electronically selects a telephone line to Police or Fire Headquarters, or to a facility maintained by or under the control of the Town of New Castle, and reproduces a recorded message to report an incident calling for a response from the Police Department or Fire Department. Excluded from this definition are alarm devices which relay a digital coded signal.
- CENTRAL STATION
- A facility to which signals from remote alarm devices are transmitted for verification, monitoring, recording or evaluation, and from which information concerning the activation of an alarm device is relayed or reported, when deemed appropriate, to the Police Department or Fire Department, or to a designated alarm monitoring facility. An office or facility of the Town of New Castle shall not be deemed a central station.
- CENTRAL STATION SERVICES
- Services customarily provided to users or owners of alarm devices by central stations.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any activation of an alarm device registered or required to be registered pursuant to this chapter to which the Police Department or Fire Department responds which is not caused by a criminal act, unauthorized intrusion, fire or other emergency, except that an activation caused by a malfunction of telephone equipment under the control of a telephone company or by a public utility system power failure shall not be deemed a false alarm.
- FALSE BURGLAR ALARM
- A false alarm to which the Police Department (but not the Fire Department) responds.
- FALSE FIRE ALARM
- A false alarm to which the Fire Department responds.
- FIRE DEPARTMENT
- The Chappaqua Fire Department, the Millwood Fire District (sometimes referred to as the "Millwood Fire Company") and any other fire company, fire district or fire department, whether municipal or volunteer, regularly serving premises within the Town of New Castle.
- FIRE HEADQUARTERS
- A fire house, office or other facility used by a fire-fighting unit or organization as its principal facility.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The New Castle Police Department.
- POLICE HEADQUARTERS
- The principal office and facility used by the Police Department.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company, organization or other legal entity.
- RESPONSIBLE ALARM USER
- When used with reference to an identifiable registered alarm device, the person to whom a registration permit has been issued for such device; and when used with reference to any other alarm device, the owner of the premises at which the alarm device is installed or located.
- The Supervisor of the Town of New Castle.
- TOWN AND NEW CASTLE
- The Town of New Castle.
- TOWN BOARD
- The Town Board of New Castle.
Editor's Note: The definition of "alarm business activities," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 16-1992.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 16-1992]
No person owning, leasing or occupying premises located in New Castle shall install, use or operate an alarm device or permit the installation or operation of an alarm device at or upon such premises unless:
No person owning, using or operating an alarm device at premises within or outside of the Town of New Castle shall cause or suffer such device to be actively connected to an alarm-monitoring facility, including Police Headquarters, unless such device is registered with the alarm administrator in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and an alarm device registration permit issued pursuant to this chapter is in effect for such device. For purposes of this chapter, an alarm device shall be deemed to be actively connected to an alarm-monitoring facility if the Police Department, Chappaqua Fire Company or Millwood Fire Company is expected to respond to an activation of the device as a result of a signal, information or notice transmitted or communicated to an alarm-monitoring facility from the device or from a central station or other intermediary acting pursuant to arrangements made by the owner or user of the device.
No person shall modify or relocate an alarm device registered pursuant to this section unless the alarm device registration permit issued for the device is first amended.
On proper application of an alarm user, the alarm administrator is authorized to register an alarm device or issue or amend an alarm device registration permit in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
To apply for the registration or renewal of an alarm device, or for amendment of an alarm device registration permit, an alarm user or owner shall:
[Amended 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
Pay the fee as set forth by resolution of the Town Board in the Master Fee Schedule, which may be amended.
[Amended 9-10-2002 by L.L. No. 8-2002]
File with the alarm administrator a completed application statement in the form prescribed and provided by the administrator, containing such information as the administrator may require in accordance with § 38-4E.
Where the application is for amendment of a permit, submit to the administrator the permit sought to be amended.
Within 20 days following receipt of a properly completed application under this section, the alarm administrator shall issue to the applicant an alarm device registration permit for the alarm device described in the application statement, or amend a permit as requested, unless the administrator determines that the application should be denied in its entirety or in particular respects because either the applicant has failed to comply with applicable registration requirements established by or pursuant to this chapter or, under the provisions of this chapter, the applicant is not entitled to the permit or official action requested. If the alarm administrator determines not to issue or amend a permit or take particular action requested, he shall give prompt written notice of such determination to the applicant, indicating in such notice the basis for the determination made. Notices hereunder shall be given by certified mail, return receipt requested.
An alarm device registration permit issued under this section shall remain in effect until June 1 of the next year following the date on which it was issued or until surrendered or until suspended or revoked in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. An alarm device registration permit renewed under this section shall remain in effect until June 1 of the next year following the earlier of the last date on which it remained in effect or the last date on which it was scheduled to remain in effect or until surrendered or until suspended or revoked in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. An alarm device registration permit amended under this section shall remain in effect for the period for which it was originally issued.
[Amended 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010; 1-22-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
The alarm administrator shall maintain records of all applications made and permits issued and amended under this section and of reported false alarms and activations of registered alarm devices. Such records shall be kept in a format which will permit the administrator to determine the number of false alarms, if any, which have been caused by and charged against a registered alarm device.
In furtherance of the purposes of this chapter, the alarm administrator is authorized to prescribe the form or forms to be filed and the information to be furnished in connection with an application for registration made under this section. Each applicant for an alarm device registration permit shall be required to furnish registration information concerning the type of device for which application is made (fire, burglar, medical emergency, etc.), the identity of the applicant and of the owner or lessee of the device, the identity of the premises and of the owner of the premises where the device is to be installed, the identity of the supplier and installer of the alarm device and of persons contracting to service, maintain or repair the device, the identity of any central station or other intermediary which will receive signals from the device in the event of its activation, and the identity of a responsible person, in addition to the applicant, who may be contacted in the event of an activation of the device.
Each recipient of an alarm device registration permit shall promptly submit an application for an amendment to the existing permit to the alarm administrator, where there have been any material changes in submitted registration information, including any change in the identity of the person or persons owning, leasing or otherwise having control over the premises where an alarm device is used or installed, in order that such information may be kept current. If a registered alarm device is removed from use other than on a temporary basis, the permit issued for such device shall be surrendered to the alarm administrator within 30 days following such removal.
[Amended 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010]
Editor's Note: Former § 38-5, Registration of control stations, was repealed 9-10-2002 by L.L. No. 8-2002.
Upon receipt of a properly completed application, the alarm administrator shall issue to the central station an acknowledgment of proper registration.
The alarm administrator shall maintain records of all applications made under this section, and shall prepare and maintain on a current basis a roll of central stations registered under this chapter.
In furtherance of the purposes of this chapter, the alarm administrator is authorized to prescribe the form or forms to be filed and the information to be furnished in connection with an application for registration made under this section, including information concerning the location of the central station, the form of business under which it operates, its ownership, facilities, staffing, equipment, operating procedures and customers served in New Castle.
Each registered central station promptly shall notify the alarm administrator, in writing, of all material changes in submitted registration information, but such notification need not be given more frequently than once a month.
The alarm administrator shall keep records on an annual basis of the numbers of alarm devices registered for each central station and of the numbers of false alarms caused or charged against registered alarm devices for each central station, and this information shall be available on request to the general public.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 16-1992]
It shall be unlawful for an alarm contractor or alarm agent to transact or engage in alarm business activities within New Castle unless such contractor is licensed as an alarm business by the State of New York pursuant to the General Business Law, Article 6-D, as amended from time to time.
No person shall install or register an automatic-dial alarm on or after the effective date of this chapter. No automatic-dial alarm shall be used or operated after March 31, 1990. Notwithstanding the prohibitions contained in this section, an automatic-dial alarm installed and in use prior to the effective date of this chapter pursuant to a permit issued under former § 38-3 of the New Castle Code, may continue to be used and operated beyond March 31, 1990, pursuant to an alarm device registration permit issued under this chapter, until such time as either the activation of such device results in a false alarm or until the alarm device registration permit for such device is transferred to a new property owner.
After the effective date of this chapter, the alarm administrator will not register or permit the registration of an alarm device which transmits a digitally coded signal or other alarm directly to Police Headquarters or any other designated alarm-monitoring facility or to any equipment or facility otherwise maintained by or under the control of the Town of New Castle unless the alarm user has received special authorization in accordance with Subsection B of this section.
A governmental agency or entity or a not-for-profit institution may be granted authority by the alarm administrator to have a direct line to Police Headquarters or another designated alarm monitoring facility provided that:
The connection is by a high-grade, dedicated line meeting specifications that may be established by the Town Board in consultation with the administrator and departments concerned.
The alarm user supplies all equipment necessary for such connection, including any equipment required at the monitoring facility to receive and monitor such transmissions, and such equipment meets all specifications that may be established by the Town Board in consultation with the administrator and departments concerned.
The Police Department or Fire Department determines that the level of risk and exposure or other factors justify a direct line connection.
The administrator determines that the facilities and resources available to the Town are suitable and adequate for such direct connection and that such connection will not unduly burden the functioning of the town's alarm-monitoring facility.
Unless otherwise expressly permitted or required by law, the alarm administrator will not register or permit the registration of an alarm device for installation within the Town of New Castle if such device produces an exterior audible signal and is not designed to limit each activation of such signal to a maximum period of 15 minutes.
It shall be a violation of this chapter to intentionally cause a false alarm, and any person who does so shall be subject to the penalty provisions of § 38-20.
The Police Department or Fire Department shall investigate and report to the administrator all false alarms to which they respond. Each false alarm with respect to which a charge is imposed pursuant to § 38-13 shall be supported by a written report of an investigating officer, which report shall be furnished to the administrator and made available to the alarm user against whom the charge is made.
A central station that reports the activation of an alarm device to which the Police Department or Fire Department is expected to respond shall use its best efforts to promptly notify the owner or user of such device, or his authorized representative, of the activation of the device.
The administrator, based on reports received from the Police Department and Fire Department, shall compile information concerning alarm devices, contractors, central stations and sources of false alarms for the purpose of evaluating the relative reliability of devices of different type, source and manufacture and the performance of registered contractors and central stations.
When the administrator determines that the Police Department or Fire Department has responded to a false alarm as a result of the activation or reported activation of an alarm device, the administrator shall impose a charge on the responsible alarm user in accordance with the schedule for false burglar alarms and false fire alarms as set forth by resolution of the Town Board in the Master Fee Schedule, which may be amended:
[Amended 9-10-2002 by L.L. No. 8-2002]
Except as otherwise herein provided, all false alarms occurring after the effective date of this section, whether caused intentionally or not and whether due to a malfunction of an alarm device or not, shall be subject to the imposition of charges pursuant to this section.
The administrator shall notify the responsible alarm user by prompt written notice of a false alarm charge imposed. If the false alarm occurs at a premises within the Town of New Castle, a copy of such notice also shall be sent, in the same manner, to each other person identified as a record owner of the premises at which the false alarm has occurred. Within 30 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user or a record owner may contest the false alarm charge by filing with the administrator information to show that a false alarm did not occur or that the charge imposed was incorrectly computed and should be modified. If any defense to a false alarm charge shall be based on a claim that an alarm device activation was caused by a malfunction of telephone equipment under the control of a telephone company or by public utility system power failure, such defense shall be supported by verification from the telephone company, or if by a public utility system power failure, such defense shall be supported by verification from the telephone company or electric utility company involved or by other probative evidence. The administrator shall consider all information submitted, shall afford each person contesting a charge an opportunity for a hearing if so requested and, after any such hearing has been held or waived, shall reaffirm, rescind or modify the false alarm charge, notifying the alarm user and record owners of his decision. Within 20 days after the mailing of such notice, the alarm user or a record owner may file with the Alarm Appeals Board an appeal, in writing, but such an appeal may not be taken if the false alarm charge is not first contested with the administrator as herein provided.
[Amended 2-13-1990 by L.L. No. 12-1990]
Any failure of a responsible alarm user to pay a false alarm charge imposed under and in accordance with this section within 30 days after such charge is no longer subject to administrative appeal to or review or decision by the Alarm Appeals Board, shall constitute an offense against and violation of this chapter and shall subject a violator to the penalties described in § 38-20, without affecting the obligation of such person to pay the false alarm charge imposed.
All charges imposed under this section shall be paid to the Town of New Castle and deposited to the general funds of the town.
All charges imposed in respect of a false alarm under this section which remain unpaid 60 days after the date that such imposition is no longer subject to administrative appeal to or review or decision by the Alarm Appeals Board shall become, to the extent permitted by law, a lien upon the property from which the false alarm originated if such property lies within the Town of New Castle, and may be collected in such manner and by such lawful means as may be authorized by rule or regulation duly adopted under this chapter.
If activations of an alarm device result in three false alarms (of any category or combination of categories) within a single calendar year, the administrator shall give notice thereof to the responsible alarm user. Such notice shall indicate that an alarm device registration permit may be suspended or revoked pursuant to the provisions of this chapter if activation of the alarm device for which it is issued results in five or more false alarms (of any category or combination of categories) within a single calendar year. The notice shall request that the device be inspected and tested by a qualified contractor and adjusted or repaired if necessary, and that the alarm user submit a contractor's certificate evidencing that the alarm device has been inspected subsequent to the administrator's request and that it is in proper working order and condition.
Activations of any alarm device which result in five or more false alarms (of any category or combination of categories) within a single calendar year shall be grounds for the suspension or revocation of the alarm device registration permit issued for such device.
Information obtained by the administrator under this chapter relating to particular alarm users and alarm devices shall not be divulged without the written consent of the alarm user concerned, except as necessary or appropriate to the enforcement or administration of this chapter or to assist the Police Department or Fire Department in responding to an alarm.
Except as otherwise provided herein, notices required or permitted to be given pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be in writing and may be given and delivered by first class mail. Notices shall be deemed given when properly deposited with the United States Postal Service or when delivered personally.
Each notice of a false alarm charge, the affirmation or modification of such charge, the suspension or revocation of any permit, the denial, in whole or in part, of any application or the imposition of any penalty shall refer to and provide instructions concerning any right of the recipient to further administrative recourse or appeal under the provisions of this chapter.
The installation, maintenance and use of alarm devices shall be the responsibility of alarm users. Each alarm user of an alarm device shall be deemed to hold and save harmless the Fire Department and its members, officers, agents and employees and the Town of New Castle and its officers, agents and employees from any liability or claim whatsoever arising with respect to such device.
The installation and connection of alarm devices and related equipment to facilities maintained by or under the control of the Town of New Castle, and the maintenance, modification, relocation or removal of such devices and equipment, shall be made at no cost to the town. The Town shall not be responsible for any expense incurred by an alarm user, alarm contractor, alarm agent or central station as a result of a change in the location or designation of an alarm-monitoring facility.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter or the, granting of any permit or authorization or the registration of any device or person under this chapter, the Fire Department and its members, officers, agents and employees and the Town of New Castle and its officers, agents and employees assume no obligation or liability whatsoever with respect to any alarm device, alarm-monitoring facility, alarm contractor, alarm agent, central station, alarm user or the agents or employees of any of them. Without limiting the foregoing, the Fire Department and its members, officers, agents and employees and the Town of New Castle and its officers, agents and employees shall not be liable for any failure or malfunction of an alarm device or alarm monitoring facility or for any act or omission of any alarm user, alarm agent, alarm contractor or central station.
It shall be an offense against and violation of this chapter for any person to make a false statement or submit false or misleading information in connection with any application made under this chapter or with respect to the updating of submitted registration information or in connection with any proceeding commenced under this chapter.
For a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or any of the rules, regulations or orders promulgated under this chapter, and as otherwise provided in this chapter, the administrator may deny an application for registration or for a permit or may decline to issue, amend or renew a permit or may suspend or revoke a permit or registration which has been issued or granted.
No permit or registration shall be suspended or revoked except upon written notice to the registrant or permittee who shall be accorded an opportunity to be heard and to contest such suspension or revocation.
Any permit issued under this chapter shall be surrendered to the administrator upon suspension or revocation, and failure to do so in a timely manner shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
No part of any fee payable in connection with an application made under this chapter shall be refundable by reason of the denial of such application or because of the suspension or revocation of a permit or registration.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to a fine in an amount not exceeding $500 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense, except when the violation is founded on a failure to pay a fee, charge or other sum of money.
[Amended 10-27-1992 by L.L. No. 16-1992 ; 9-10-2002 by L.L. No. 8-2002; 5-11-2010 by L.L. No. 3-2010; 1-22-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
A fee shall be charged and collected for each application for a permit, for an amendment to a permit, and for a renewal of a permit made under this chapter in an amount as set forth by resolution of the Town Board in the Master Fee Schedule, which may be amended, and which shall specify a fee for the application of an alarmed device, registration permit or for the amendment thereof.
This chapter shall be administered by an alarm administrator who shall have the powers and duties accorded to the administrator under this chapter, including the authority to promulgate rules and regulations as herein provided.
The Chief of the Police Department shall serve as the alarm administrator.
The Town Board may adopt such rules, regulations and standards necessary or appropriate to effectuate the purposes and promote the effective administration of this chapter.
The administrator by regulation, or in particular cases for good cause shown, may enlarge the periods prescribed herein for compliance or appeal.
The administrator may order the disconnection of any alarm device or other equipment used, installed, connected or operated in violation of the provisions of this chapter or any regulations or orders promulgated hereunder. It shall be an offense against and violation of this chapter for any person to knowingly disobey any such order lawfully given.
The Town Board or five persons appointed by the Town Board from the public at large shall comprise and serve as an Alarm Appeals Board having the powers and duties granted to it under this chapter. Appointed members of the Alarm Appeals Board shall serve for a term of two years and until their successors shall be duly appointed.
The Alarm Appeals Board shall consider appeals from determinations of the alarm administrator as herein provided. Upon receipt of a timely appeal taken, the Board shall notify the appellant and the administrator of the date and time when a hearing will be held on the appeal, unless the appellant shall waive his right to a hearing in which case the appeal shall be considered on the basis of submitted information. Such notice shall be given not less than 15 days in advance of the scheduled hearing. Notices to an appellant shall be given by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Board may adopt such rules and procedures for the prosecution of appeals and conduct of hearings as shall be proper and appropriate.
On the basis of all evidence and information properly submitted or introduced, the Board shall either affirm the action of the administrator if it finds such action to have been properly taken, or it shall rescind or modify such action if it finds that it was not properly taken or that the interests of justice so require. Decisions of the Alarm Appeals Board shall be final.
Hearings of the Alarm Appeals Board shall be held not more often than once each month at a time and place determined by the Board.