[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the City of Union City as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Public Telephones
Article II Illegal Activity Near Public Telephones
[Adopted by Ord. No. 3821-22 (§ 8-5 of the 1996 Revised General Ordinances)]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The person responsible for placing and maintaining a pay telephone in a public way, hereinafter defined.
- PAY TELEPHONE
- A self-service or coin-operated telephone.
- That portion of a street improved, designated or ordinarily used for vehicle travel.
- Any surface provided for the use of pedestrians.
- All that area dedicated to public use for public street purposes and shall include, but not be limited to, roadways, parkways; alleys and sidewalks.
It shall be unlawful for any person to place, maintain or operate any pay telephones in the City without having first obtained a permit from the Building Department specifying the exact location of such telephone. One permit may be issued to include any number of telephones and shall be signed by the applicant.
Application for a permit shall be made, in writing, to the Building Department, and approved by the Department of Public Safety, upon such form as shall be provided by them and shall contain the name and address of the applicant, the proposed specific location of each telephone, and shall be signed by the applicant.
Inspection of location. Permits may be issued for the installation of a pay telephone after inspection of the location.
Removal or relocation of telephone; notice to City. The Building Department must be informed before any person shall remove or relocate a telephone.
Indemnification of City.
No permit shall be issued or continued in operation unless the applicant, and any other persons on whose behalf the application is made, represents, stipulates, contracts and agrees that they will jointly and severally defend, indemnify and hold the City harmless against liability for any and all claims for damage to property or injury to or death of persons arising out of or resulting from the issuance of the permit or the control, maintenance, ownership or use of such pay telephone.
Before the Department may issue a pay telephone permit to any person, that person must execute an indemnification agreement substantially as follows:
The applicant and any other persons on whose behalf the application is made represents, stipulates, contracts and agrees that they will jointly and severally defend, indemnify and hold harmless the City of Union City against liability for any and all claims for damage to property, or injury to or death of persons, arising out of or resulting from the issuance of the permit, or the control, maintenance, ownership or use of each such pay telephone.
Insurance policy. Before the Department may issue a telephone permit to any person, that person shall file with the Building Department an insurance policy from a company duly licensed to transact business under the laws of the State of New Jersey in the sum of $100,000 for one person and $1,000,000 for more than one person, insuring against loss from liability imposed by law upon the distributor for damages on account of bodily injury or death suffered, and in the sum of $50,000 against loss on account of property damage suffered by any person or persons as a result of an accident occurring by reason of the ownership, control, or maintenance of the telephone permitted, and no license shall continue effective unless such insurance shall remain in full force during the entire term of the license. Such insurance policy shall provide for the payment of any final judgment recovered by any person on account of the ownership, maintenance and control of such telephones, or any fault in respect thereto, and shall be for the benefit of any person suffering loss damage or injury as aforesaid.
Advertising 911 number. No person may advertise a 911 number unless and until the City provides for such a number in an emergency.
Any calls for operator assistance by any individual identifying himself/herself as a member of the City Police or Fire Department shall immediately have such call put through to the Police of Fire Department as requested without charge.
Any person calling for operator assistance identifying the call as an emergency shall immediately have such call put through to the Police of Fire Department as requested without charge.
Posted rates. Current telephone rates must be posted on the telephone or on the telephone booth.
Fees for initial and annual renewal permits shall be as set forth in Chapter 155, Fees, and shall be paid before any permit is issued.
Any telephone which, in whole or in part, rests upon, in or over any public sidewalk, roadway or street shall comply with the following standards:
No booth surrounding the telephone shall exceed eight feet in height, four feet in width or four feet in thickness.
No telephone shall be used for advertising signs or publicity purposes other than that dealing with the display, sale or purchase of the telephone services located therein.
Each telephone shall be equipped with a coin return mechanism to permit a person using the machine to secure the immediate refund in the event (s)he is unable to receive the service paid for. The coin mechanism shall be maintained in good working order.
Each telephone shall have affixed to it, in a readily visible place so as to be seen by everyone using the telephone, a notice setting forth the name and address of the distributor and the telephone number of a working telephone service, to report a malfunction or to secure a refund in the event of malfunction of the coin operated return mechanism. These signs shall be displayed in both English and Spanish.
Each telephone shall be maintained in a neat and clean condition and in good repair at all times. Specifically, and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, each telephone shall be serviced and maintained so that:
It is reasonably free of chipped, faded, peeling and cracked paint in the visible painted areas thereof.
It is reasonably free of rust and corrosion in the visible unpainted metal areas thereon.
The clear plastic or glass parts thereof, if any, through which the telephone located therein is viewed, are unbroken and reasonably free of cracks, dents, graffiti, blemishes and discolorations.
The paper or cardboard parts or inserts thereof, if any, are reasonably free of tears, peeling or fading.
The structural parts thereof are not broken or unduly misshapen.
The telephone receiver is attached to the telephone.
Each telephone shall contain a telephone book serving North Hudson County, secured in such a manner as to prevent it from being scattered about the area, or provide local directory or information assistance without charge.
Any telephone which rests, in whole or in part, on any portion of a public street, or projects onto, into or over any part of a public street or sidewalk, shall be located in accordance with the provisions of this section.
No telephone shall be used or maintained which projects onto, into or over any part of the roadway of any public street, or which rests wholly, or in part, upon, along or over any portion of the roadway of any public street.
No telephone shall be permitted to rest upon, in or over any public street or sidewalk when such installation, use or maintenance:
Endangers the safety of persons or property; or
Unreasonably interferes with or impedes the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including any legally parked or stopped vehicles; or
Unreasonably interferes with the ingress or egress from any residence or place of business; or
Unreasonably interferes with the use of traffic signs or signals, hydrants or mailboxes permitted at or near such location.
Telephones shall be placed, or otherwise secured, so as to prevent their being blown down or around the public street or sidewalk, but shall not be chained or otherwise secured to any traffic or street signs, signals, hydrants or mailboxes.
No telephones shall be placed, installed, used or maintained:
Within any marked crosswalk.
Within three feet of a curb return of any unmarked crosswalks.
Within five feet of any fire hydrant, fire call box, police call box or other emergency facility.
Within five feet of any driveway.
Within three feet of any public area improved with a lawn, flowers shrubs, trees or other landscaping.
At any location whereby the clear space for the passage way of pedestrians is reduced to less than four feet.
Within three feet of any building, unless written permission is secured from the property owner and filed with the application.
[Adopted by Ord. No. 3895-96 (§ 8-6 of the 1996 Revised General Ordinances)]
Privately owned public telephones have recently begun to appear in mass on public sidewalks.
The Mayor and Commissioners have found that criminal activity in the form of drug transactions is occurring on a regular basis near many of the public pay telephones and are used to facilitate such transactions.
Under New Jersey law, public sidewalks are held in trust by the City for the primary use of pedestrians.
The Mayor and Commissioners of the City have found as a fact that pay telephones on the sidewalks in many areas of the City have attracted persons who loiter in the area of the pay telephones for inordinately long periods of time.
Various property owners within the City have suffered or permitted the installation of public pay telephones and other projections upon their premises which encroach upon the public streets and sidewalks.
Such encroachments may obstruct or interfere with the free passage of pedestrians and right of the public upon such streets and sidewalks.
These encroachments have been installed without the permission of the Commissioners.
The tremendous proliferation of telephones has become an unsightly condition on the sidewalks of the City.
If the Building Department or any other party reports a complaint about a telephone which does not have a current permit, that telephone shall be subject to removal by the City in accordance with § 391-16.
All income derived by landlords for pay telephones located on public property or public sidewalks shall be reported as income for rent control income reporting purposes. Failure of a permit holder to report this income on all income reporting forms for rent control purposes, including, but not limited to, hardship applications, shall be deemed to be a violation of the rent control provisions.
The City, through its subcode official or his/her designate, may reject any application for a permit, revoke a permit or require the removal of the existing outdoor public telephones or restrictions to outgoing calls only if it has reason to believe that such telephone has the potential to and has illustrated a propensity to create or contribute to illegal or illicit activities or otherwise infringes on the use and access to the public sidewalk. The subcode official can consider, among other items, three complaints of possible illegal activity about the same address within a month period as "illicit activity" or more than 12 reported criminal incidents in a year prior to the date of the application, which incidents have resulted in convictions.
Each public telephone, upon the written request of the Chief of Police for reasons of public safety, shall be capable of being restricted or limited to service allowing outgoing calls only, within 10 days of the request unless emergency circumstances which threaten the health, safety and welfare of the public would dictate a more expeditious change.
Upon receipt of a complaint by a citizen or an authorized representative of the Police Department to the Building Department that the location and use of a pay telephone constitutes a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community, the subcode official shall conduct a hearing after providing written notice of same at least 10 days in advance thereof to all parties to ascertain whether the location and use of the telephone interferes with the public safety and whether the location or use of the public telephone constitutes a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community. If the subcode official finds by preponderance of the evidence presented that the location and the use of the public telephone constitutes a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community, the subcode official shall revoke any permit issued for use of such public telephone immediately thereafter and require the telephone to be removed. In the event that the Construction Code Official does not find that the location or the use of the telephone constitutes a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community but does create a nuisance to the public which needs to be abated, then the Construction Code Official may order such other relief as (s)he deems fair under the circumstances, including, but not limited to, requiring the telephone to be restricted to outgoing calls only. A "threat to health, safety and welfare" shall include, but not be limited to, the activity referred to in §§ 391-11 and 391-15 establishing the location and placement of the telephone.
The owners or lessees of nonpermitted existing pay telephones located on or over public sidewalks will have a period of 60 days after March 16, 1993, to obtain the permits required by this article. The City reserves the right to reject any and all locations submitted for approval if such location and installation is not in conformance with this article.
Pay telephones located on public sidewalks shall be located 500 feet apart from each other. The 500 feet shall be measured by a radius from the telephone. This location provision shall not apply to properly permitted telephones which are currently located on City sidewalks. Any telephone for which the permit expires and is not renewed within 30 days of its expiration shall be subject to removal and subject to the location requirements of this section. Telephones which are impounded or removed shall not be replaced except in accordance with the provisions of this article.
If the City removes a pay telephone pursuant to the provisions of this article, then the telephone shall be impounded by the City. Such telephone shall not be released until proper ownership and permits are presented and/or permit fee and fines are paid, together with a removal/storage charge as set forth in Chapter 155, Fees.
If no person files a claim for the return of the telephone or complies with the requirements to obtain the return of the telephone seized under this article within six months from the date of seizure then that telephone may be disposed of pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-157.