[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amenia 12-21-1989 by L.L. No. 4-1989. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Fire Prevention and Building Code administration — See Ch. 63.
This chapter shall be known as the "Local Law Regulating Alarm Systems in the Town of Amenia."
It is the purpose of this chapter to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Amenia by reducing the number of avoidable alarms to emergency agencies. Avoidable alarms contribute to ineffective utilization of public safety manpower and equipment. In addition, avoidable alarms require emergency responses which may contribute to a high accident rate and delayed responses to genuine emergencies. This chapter seeks to ensure that police and fire communications and ambulance facilities will be available to dispatch police, fire and ambulance personnel for actual emergencies and to alleviate the nuisance of audible alarms in the town. Another purpose of this chapter is to provide the town and emergency agencies with the names of responsible people to contact in the case of activation of an alarm.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ALARM SYSTEM
- A device or an assembly of equipment which emits an audible response which is intended to alert persons outside a premises to the existence of a hazard or emergency or which is intended to alert emergency agencies by automatically dialing an emergency agency or which is connected to a private answering point for the purpose of reporting such alarms to emergency agencies or which is directly connected to the County Fire Control Center or other emergency agency.
- ALARM USER
- Any person who owns, leases or uses an alarm system within the Town of Amenia, except for a person whose alarm system is on a motor vehicle or is a proprietary system. If, however, an alarm system on a motor vehicle is connected with an alarm system at a premises (other than a proprietary system) in the Town of Amenia, the person using such system is an alarm user.
- AVOIDABLE ALARM
- The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation or the negligence of the owner, user, custodian or lessee of an alarm system or his/her employees or agents or through any other cause which, through direct connection to an emergency agency or through notification of an emergency agency by a private answering point or automatic dialing device or through notification to an emergency agency by any second party or means, indicates that an emergency situation exists requiring response within the town when, in fact, an emergency situation does not exist. An avoidable alarm also includes the knowing or intentional activation of an alarm to an emergency agency when the activator knows that an emergency situation does not exist. Avoidable alarm does not include alarms activated by violent conditions of nature, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or any other similar cause beyond the control of the user of the alarm system. Activation of an alarm system under any circumstances in which the activator reasonably believes that an emergency situation exists is not an avoidable alarm. Notwithstanding any language to the contrary, the defective installation of an alarm system, the failure to repair or cause to be repaired an alarm system or the use of defective equipment in connection with an alarm system shall not constitute an extraordinary circumstance beyond the reasonable control of the alarm user.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- Any individual appointed by the Town Board to enforce the
New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.[Amended 2-27-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990]
- EMERGENCY AGENCY
- Any Police Department, Fire Department or other law enforcement agency or ambulance company (private or public) or other agency summoned to respond to an emergency situation and any public safety answering point serving the Town of Amenia.
- LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
- A signaling system which, when activated, causes an audible signaling device to be activated outside the premises in which the system is installed.
- NOTICE ADDRESS
- The address which an alarm user designates on the application for a permit as the address to which notices are to be sent.
- Any person, firm, partnership, corporation, association, company or organization of any kind.
- PRIVATE ANSWERING POINT
- A business which offers the service of receiving emergency signals, monitoring said signals and relaying them to an emergency agency.
- PROPRIETARY SYSTEM
- An alarm, sounding and/or recording within the premises protected by the alarm which is not intended to alert persons outside of the premises on which the alarm system is located of a possible hazard and not intended to alert an emergency agency, the control center being under the supervision of the proprietor of the protected premises. If a proprietary system includes a signal line connected directly or by means of an automatic device to an emergency agency or to a private answering point or to a local alarm system, it thereby becomes an alarm system as defined in this chapter.
- The Town of Amenia.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to proprietary systems.
Permits shall be required for alarm systems located in buildings of federal, state or local governmental agencies or authorities or in public or private schools, but said alarm systems shall be exempt from the permit fee. Said alarms shall, however, be subject to the fines and penalties herein provided for avoidable alarms.
No person shall own, use, lease, operate or maintain an alarm system within the Town of Amenia unless such person shall have first obtained from the town a permit for such alarm, as herein provided.
In order to obtain an alarm user permit, any person who operates an alarm system shall submit an application for such permit in the form designated by the town, which application shall contain the following:
The name, home address and telephone number of the person applying for the permit.
The address of the premises upon which the alarm system is or will be located.
The address to which notices required under this chapter shall be sent.
The type of alarm system for which the permit is sought.
The name of the alarm business or businesses selling, installing, monitoring, inspecting, responding to and/or maintaining the alarm system, if applicable.
The name, address and telephone number of one or more persons, other than the owner, who can be reached at any time and who are authorized by the owner of the premises in which the system is installed to open the premises.
Any other information relating to the alarm system or user as the town may require.
The information required on the permit application shall be treated as confidential and shall not be made available to members of the general public. The Town Board finds that the release of such information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and could endanger the life or safety of persons at the premises where an alarm system is located. The information on a permit application shall be used by the town and emergency agencies only for public safety purposes.
Every application for an alarm user permit shall be accompanied by a fee of $10, except that no fee shall be required for applications submitted by any alarm user by March 31, 1990, nor for applications submitted after said date if the application is submitted prior to the installation of an alarm system.
Upon receipt of a properly executed permit application, the town shall issue an alarm user permit to the applicant. Alarm user permits shall not be transferable, shall be kept on the premises where the alarm system is located and shall be made available for inspection by emergency agency officers.
An alarm user permit shall expire on March 31 next following its date of issuance.
Subject to the provisions of this chapter and upon payment of the appropriate renewal fees as stipulated in Subsection B hereof, an alarm user permit may be renewed by the alarm user.
The annual permit renewal fee shall be based upon the number of avoidable alarms recorded for each alarm user as follows:
For an alarm user with zero avoidable alarms during the preceding year, no renewal fee shall be charged.
For an alarm user with one to three avoidable alarms during the preceding year, a base permit renewal fee of $10 shall be charged.
For an alarm user with more than three avoidable alarms during the preceding year, a base permit renewal fee of $10 plus an additional excessive-use fee for each avoidable alarm in excess of three shall be charged as follows: for the fourth, fifth and sixth avoidable alarms: $50 each; for the seventh, eighth and ninth avoidable alarms: $75 each; for every avoidable alarm after the ninth: $100 each. At the time of renewal, an alarm user shall receive credit for any amounts paid during the permit year to reinstate a revoked permit.
No renewal of a permit shall be granted unless the appropriate renewal fee is submitted with the application.
The town shall notify an alarm user, in writing, by means of first-class mail sent to the notice address listed on the permit application, when an alarm user has had three avoidable alarms during the permit year. The notice shall inform the alarm user that additional avoidable alarms will subject the alarm user to the excessive-use fee as specified in this chapter for each additional avoidable alarm. At the end of the permit year, the town shall notify each alarm user having more than three avoidable alarms of the number of avoidable alarms incurred during the preceding year and the amount to be charged for the renewal of the alarm user permit The notice shall be in writing and shall be sent by first-class mail to the notice address listed on the application.
An alarm user permit shall be revoked whenever 10 or more avoidable alarms are recorded for a system in any one permit year. Notice of such revocation shall be sent by the town, via first-class mail, to the notice address listed on the permit application at least 15 days before the revocation takes effect. The alarm user may reinstate a revoked permit by the payment of the excessive-use fee for each avoidable alarm in excess of three [the excessive use fee shall be as specified in § 35-9B(3) of this chapter] and by submission of proof that modifications have been made to the alarm system or other steps have been effected so as to reduce the number of avoidable alarms. An alarm user permit shall not be revoked under this section if said alarm system is required by federal, state or local law. However, all other provisions of this chapter shall apply to such system, and the user thereof shall remain responsible for the payment of all authorized fees.
[Amended 2-27-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990]
Any emergency agency as herein defined desiring the Code Enforcement Official to initiate enforcement of this chapter against an alarm user who has generated avoidable alarms shall comply with the following requirements:
The emergency agency shall send to the Code Enforcement Official of the Town of Amenia an alarm incident report containing the information required in § 35-13 within seven days of the alarm call.
A copy of the avoidable alarm incident report shall be mailed by the emergency agency, via first class mail, to the alarm user to the notice address listed on the permit application.
An alarm user receiving a notice of an avoidable alarm may challenge such classification by notifying the emergency agency in writing, specifying in detail the reasons why the alleged avoidable alarm should not be so classified. The challenging notice must be received by the emergency agency within 20 days after notification to the alarm user. A hearing may be requested by the alarm user with the notice. The failure to give timely notice shall be deemed a waiver of the right to challenge the classification.
Within a reasonable time, but not more than 45 days after receipt of a notice from an alarm user challenging the classification of an alarm as an avoidable alarm, the emergency agency shall make a final determination, which shall be reviewable only pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
Within 10 days after a final determination has been made by the emergency agency, a copy thereof shall be filed with the Town Clerk and a copy mailed or otherwise given to the alarm user.
Whenever an emergency agency files an avoidable alarm report, such report shall contain the following information:
[Amended 2-27-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990]
Alarm systems which are interconnected with or otherwise transmit signals directly to the County Fire Control Center shall be subject to the laws, rules, regulations and penalties adopted by the County of Dutchess relating to such systems.
All local alarm systems shall become deactivated and silenced automatically after a period of time not to exceed 15 minutes.
Police and/or fire officials may disable an audible alarm signal that has not been silenced prior to the expiration of the fifteen-minute period and shall not be liable for any damage that may result.
In addition to any other fees or penalties provided for in this chapter, a violation of § 35-5 of this chapter shall be deemed an offense and shall be punishable by a mandatory fine of not less than $100 nor more than $250 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or both; provided, however, that no person shall be charged with such offense until 15 days after notice to said person that he/she is required to obtain an alarm user permit, and further provided that no charge shall be filed against a person so notified if he/she obtains a permit during said fifteen-day period. A person found guilty of violating § 35-5 shall not be excused from obtaining the required permit.
[Amended 2-27-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990]
If, within a seventy-two-hour period, three avoidable alarms are received from an alarm user, the alarm user will be required to show written proof to the Code Enforcement Official that repairs have been made to the alarm system by a recognized alarm installation company. Failure to produce this proof within 24 hours of the third avoidable alarm will result in a fine of $150. Any additional avoidable alarms will result in an additional fine of $25 per alarm.
The provisions and requirements of this chapter shall apply to all persons who are alarm users on the effective date of this chapter and to all persons who subsequently become alarm users.