Town of Forest Heights, MD
Prince Georges County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Approved 10-21-2009, effective 10-21-2009. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The provisions of this Article are intended to be in addition to and supplementary to the current provisions of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended, and in accordance with authority specifically granted by said Article of the State Code.
The following words and phrases when used in this Article, and for the purpose of this Article, have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section:
A. 
ABANDONED VEHICLE — Unless otherwise stated elsewhere in this Article:
(1) 
Any motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer that:
(I) 
Is inoperable and left unattended on public property for more than 72 hours,
(II) 
Has remained illegally on public property for more than 72 hours; or,
(III) 
Has remained on public property for more than 72 hours and:
(A) 
Is not displaying currently valid registration plates; or,
(B) 
Is displaying registration plates of another vehicle.
(IV) 
Has remained on private property without the occupant's or the owner's consent for more than 72 hours and:
(A) 
Is inoperable in that one or more of its major mechanical components, including but not limited to the engine, transmission, drive train and wheels, is missing or not functional, unless such vehicle is kept in an enclosed building as permitted by the county's zoning regulations;
(B) 
Is not displaying currently valid registration plates; or,
(C) 
Is displaying registration plates of another vehicle.
(2) 
Any motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer that has otherwise been expressly presumed or declared to be an abandoned vehicle by any other provision of this Article.
(3) 
Any motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer that is partially dismantled, wrecked or any other junked motor vehicle shall be presumed to have been or be abandoned.
B. 
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE — Any motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer, including but not limited to stake platform trucks, cranes and tow trucks, used for carrying freight, merchandise, passengers or tools of a trade for compensation or in furtherance of any commercial enterprise, that:
(1) 
Has a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight specification exceeding 3,000 pounds;
(2) 
Contains advertising, except that a firm name or similar designation in lettering not exceeding four inches in height shall not be deemed to be advertising;
(3) 
Exceeds 300 cubic feet of load space; or
(4) 
Has dual rear wheels.
C. 
MOTOR VEHICLE — A vehicle as defined in Section 11-135 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended.
D. 
MOVING VIOLATION — Except for speed monitoring system violations as defined in Section 15.6 of this Article and State law, a moving violation is any violation of this Article committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is being operated or is in motion at the time of the infraction, or as otherwise defined pursuant to § 11-136.1 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Annotated Code and any regulations adopted by the State Highway Administration for the purpose of assessing points under § 16-402 of the Maryland Transportation Article.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
E. 
NONMOVING VIOLATION — A nonmoving violation is a violation that is committed based upon the violation of this Article involving a vehicle that is parked, stopped or standing, as opposed to a moving violation described above.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsections D through G as Subsections F through I, respectively.
F. 
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE — A vehicle originally sold to a consumer by a manufacturer or dealer for recreational purposes which are self-propelled or capable of being towed by a motor vehicle or any vehicle which provides facilities for temporary camping or sleeping or both, including a unit designed to be carried by an open pickup truck. The term "recreational vehicle" includes camping trailer, travel trailer, camper, motor home, truck camper, boat, boat trailer, and water craft. Excluded from this definition are pickup trucks with caps over the bed.
G. 
UNREGISTERED TRAILER — Any trailer of any type or size designed for use upon a street, road or highway which, is not registered with the appropriate motor vehicle agency of the State of Maryland or another state, and displaying evidence of such current registration.
H. 
VEHICLE — Any device as defined in Section 11-176 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended.
I. 
Except when stated otherwise, whenever any words and phrases used herein are not defined in this Article but are defined in the state laws regulating the operation of vehicles, any such definition therein shall be deemed to apply to such words and phrases used in this Article.
A. 
Whenever in the judgment of the Mayor of the Town of Forest Heights, it is necessary for the safety and control of vehicle or pedestrian traffic or for the regulation of the use of parking areas, the Mayor is authorized to erect or cause to be erected "Stop," "No Parking," "Speed Limit," "One Way," or any other traffic control devices designed to control, regulate, warn or guide traffic or limit parking on public streets, highways, or other areas in the Town, provided that no such signs or devices shall be erected or posted for other than temporary and emergency purposes for a period not to exceed 60 days duration without the final approval of the Town Council.
B. 
Such final approval as stated in Subsection A shall be made by resolution of the Council, and a statement of said final decision to erect or post a specific traffic control device shall be placed in the list described in Subsection D.
C. 
It shall be the duty of all persons to observe such signs or devices, and, any person failing to observe any such sign or device shall be in violation of this Article.
D. 
A list and description of such posted signs or devices shall be available for public inspection at the office of the Forest Heights Police Department.
E. 
All traffic control signs, signals, and devices shall conform to the specifications approved by the State Highway Administration and published in the latest edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
F. 
Unless otherwise permitted by state or county law, no such signs or traffic control devices shall be erected or posted on a County or State highway without the consent of the appropriate State or County authority having possession, title or responsibility for the maintenance of said highway.
[Amended 8-14-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 08-14; 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
Except as necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or a traffic control device, no person shall stop, stand or park any vehicle or operate a truck or commercial vehicle as stated below in any of the following places within the Town:
A. 
Within 60 feet of any designated school crosswalk between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.;
B. 
Within 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of the roadway;
C. 
In such a position that either wheel on the side of the vehicle closest to the curb or edge of the paved street is more than 12 inches from said curb or edge;
D. 
In front of, on, or in such a position as to obstruct all free vehicular access to any public or private driveway without permission of the owner or in such a position as to obstruct a sidewalk;
E. 
On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked on the edge or at the curb of a street;
F. 
On any street in such a position or under such conditions as to leave available less than 10 feet of the width of the roadway for free movement of vehicular traffic;
G. 
Within any intersection;
H. 
Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant;
I. 
Within 15 feet of a pedestrian crosswalk;
J. 
On any street or part thereof where an official sign or device has been placed showing that parking is prohibited because of an emergency;
K. 
Upon any street, avenue, road, highway or alley or public space, no person shall park or allow to stand any vehicle for a continuous period longer than 72 hours except when specifically authorized by the Forest Heights Police Department. Any such vehicle allowed to stand or park in excess of the prescribed period on said public property shall be presumed to be abandoned and may be impounded pursuant to Section 15.7;
L. 
On the side of any street opposite the streetlight poles during a snow created state of emergency as declared by Prince George's County pursuant to effective snow emergency plans. Vehicles so parked may be impounded pursuant to Section 15.7;
M. 
On any street or any public way in the Town no truck or commercial vehicle exceeding 3,000 pounds in net capacity, except while unloading or loading, rendering a service to residents, or where permission to park has been specifically authorized by the Forest Heights Police Department;
N. 
On Town-maintained streets or highways, trucks and commercial vehicles over 2 1/2 tons gross weight are prohibited where so posted from using said streets or highways as throughways;
O. 
At any place where an official sign or traffic control device prohibits parking or standing;
P. 
It shall be unlawful to park any vehicle on private property without the permission of the owner, tenant, occupant or authorized agent. An affidavit of the owner, tenant, occupant or authorized agent denying or revoking any such permission or attesting to the proper posting of the property and the placement of "no tresspasing" or "no parking" signage shall be prima facie evidence that the subject vehicle was parked without proper permission.
Q. 
Upon the highways, roads, streets or other public property, no person shall park any unregistered motor vehicle or unregistered trailer or boat, with or without a trailer, at any time. Any such vehicle shall be presumed to be abandoned and may be impounded pursuant to Section 15.7.
R. 
Upon any parking space or zone, including the adjacent access aisle(s), on public or private property designated as parking reserved for the physically handicapped with the proper signs posted in conformance with the most recent edition of the State of Maryland Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, unless said vehicle displays a special handicapped registration plate or permit issued by the State.
S. 
On any public property which lies between the curbline and the private property line or on any public easement abutting the paved travelway, no person shall park a vehicle including a motorcycle, except with permission of the Forest Heights Police Chief or his designee.
T. 
Within the front yard of any residential lot extending from the building to the curbline no motor vehicle of any type or boat, motor home, dune buggie, dirt bike, motor cycle, or van shall be parked on an unpaved area thereon.
U. 
On any private property, should any of the following conditions exist, no motor vehicle or trailer of any type shall remain for more than 10 days:
(1) 
Failing to display valid and current registration plates and sticker on a vehicle or trailer;
(2) 
Displaying on a vehicle, registration plates registered to another vehicle or trailer;
(3) 
Keeping an inoperable, dismantled or wrecked vehicle such that, one or more major mechanical components including but not limited to the engine, transmission, drive train, or wheels, does not allow for proper operation of the vehicle upon the streets and highways, unless the vehicle is kept in an enclosed building or no more than one such vehicle is completely covered with a tarpaulin, except that registration plates are kept exposed by or through a portion of the tapaulin; or
(4) 
No motor vehicle whatsoever shall be parked on an unpaved area of a residential lot that is one acre or less in size.
V. 
On any private property at any time, no motor vehicle shall remain thereon should any of the following conditions exist:
(1) 
An environmental hazard caused from leaking oil, gas, antifreeze, or transmission fluid;
(2) 
A potential health hazard or public nuisance due to a vehicle being infested or inhabited by wild animals, rodents, vermin or reptiles; or
(3) 
A potential fire hazard as determined by the fire department, a Police Officer or a Code Enforcement Official.
W. 
Next to a yellow or red painted curb.
X. 
In front of a curb ramp designed for the use of individuals with disabilities.
Y. 
Within a designated bicycle lane.
Parking on driveways and other surfaced parking areas is limited to the area and dimensions depicted on the county permit and any approved site plan for the subject property, and any Town of Forest Heights required permit. Unless the Prince George's County Code states otherwise, an additional paved or surfaced area not to exceed 500 square feet is allowed by the Town to be placed on a lot without a permit issued by the Town; however, that additional paved or surfaced area as permitted herein shall not be used for parking vehicles.
(A) 
No person shall park any commercial vehicle, recreational vehicle or registered trailer including but not limited to a camper trailer, boat trailer, or boat, with or without a trailer, upon any highway, road, street, public right-of-way or other public property anywhere in the Town within any one year period (365 days) of time without first obtaining a temporary parking permit from the Forest Heights Police Department.
(B) 
A temporary parking permit may be issued for a fifteen-day maximum period with one fifteen-day renewal. The temporary parking permit fee shall be $100 with a renewal fee of $50 and may by established from time to time by resolution of the Council.
It shall be unlawful for any person operating or in control of any vehicle to drive said vehicle into or across any public street at which there is an official barrier, sign, or authorized person designating that the street is closed. It shall be unlawful to remove any such official barrier or sign without proper authority.
A. 
No motor vehicle shall be operated upon any street, road or alley within the corporate limits of the Town, except Indian Head Highway, the Capital Beltway and Livingston Road, at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour under any circumstances or conditions, except for emergency vehicles as permitted under the provisions of the Maryland Transportation Article, and the Motor Vehicle laws of Maryland.
B. 
No motor vehicle shall be operated at a speed greater than 15 miles per hour in school or playground areas or zones designated and posted by the Town Council pursuant to Section 15.3 and State law.
[Added 10-21-2009 by Em. Ord. 47-09, effective 10-21-2009]
(A) 
In this section, the following words have the meanings indicated.
(1) 
OWNER — The registered owner of a motor vehicle or a lessee of a motor vehicle under a lease of six months or more, except that "owner" does not include:
(a) 
A motor vehicle rental or leasing company; or
(b) 
A holder of a special registration plate issued under Md. Code Ann., Transp. Art., Title 13, Subtitle 9, Part III.
(2) 
DEPARTMENT — The Forest Heights Police Department.
(3) 
ERRONEOUS VIOLATION — A potential violation submitted by a speed monitoring system contractor as defined in the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, § 21-809(a)(3).
[Added 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also renumbered former Subsection (A)(3) through (5) as Subsection (A)(6) through (8), respectively.
(4) 
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR — A Town employee or representative designated by the Mayor and approved by the Town Council by motion entered into the journal to oversee the contract with the speed monitoring system contractor.
[Added 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(5) 
SCHOOL ZONE — A designated roadway segment with a posted speed limit of at least 20 miles per hour and located within up to a half-mile radius of a school for any of grades kindergarten through grade 12 where school-related activity occurs as further defined in the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, § 21-809(a)(7).
[Added 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(6) 
RECORDED IMAGE — An image recorded by a speed-monitoring system on a photograph, a microphotograph, an electronic image, a videotape, or any other medium, and showing:
(a) 
The rear of a motor vehicle;
(b) 
At least two time-stamped images of the motor vehicle that include the same stationary object near the motor vehicle; and
(c) 
On at least one image or portion of tape, a clear and legible identification of the entire registration plate number of the motor vehicle.
(7) 
SPEED-MONITORING SYSTEM — A device with one or more motor vehicle sensors producing recorded images of motor vehicles traveling at speeds at least 12 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.
(8) 
SPEED-MONITORING SYSTEM OPERATOR — A representative of the Department or a designated person that operates a speed monitoring system.
(B) 
Notice.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
The Mayor and Council, by resolution, following reasonable notice to the public and a public hearing, may establish a school zone on any road under the Town's jurisdiction or with permission of the county or State Highway Administration on any county or state road within 1/2 mile of a school and, for any school zone so established, shall set a maximum speed limit, as permitted by law, provided that the designation of such school zone and the maximum speed limit set for such zone shall not become effective until the Town installs signs designating the school zone and indicating the maximum speed limit applicable in the school zone located in the Town of Forest Heights.
(2) 
The Town may install or erect traffic control devices in the designated school zone in addition to the signs required by Subsection (B)(1) and (3), including timed flashing warning lights and including a speed monitoring system as defined in Subsection (A) of this section.
(3) 
If the Town moves or places a mobile or stationary speed monitoring system to or at a location where a speed monitoring system had not previously been moved or placed, the Town may not issue a citation for a violation recorded by that speed monitoring system:
(a) 
Until signage is installed in accordance with Subsection (C); and
(b) 
For at least the first 15 calendar days after the signage is installed.
(C) 
Before activating a speed-monitoring system, the Mayor or her designee shall:
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
Publish notice of the location of the speed-monitoring system on the Town's website and in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town; and
(2) 
Ensure that each sign that designates a school zone is proximate to a sign that indicates that speed-monitoring systems are in use in the school zone, and is in accordance with the Manual for and the specifications for a uniform system of traffic control devices adopted by the State Highway Administration.
(D) 
A speed-monitoring system in a school zone may operate only Monday through Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
(E) 
The designated ombudsman.
[Added 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14[2]]
(1) 
The Mayor, with the approval of the Council, shall designate an official or employee by resolution or ordinance to investigate and respond to questions or concerns about the speed monitoring system program.
(a) 
The local designee or ombudsman shall review a citation generated by a speed monitoring system if the person who received the citation requests review before the deadline for contesting liability under this section.
(b) 
If said designee determines that the citation is an erroneous violation, the designee shall void the citation.
(c) 
If said designee determines that a person did not receive notice of a citation issued under this section due to an administrative error, the designee may resend the citation in accordance with Subsection (I) of this section or void the citation.
(d) 
Should said designee take any action described under this subsection, he or she shall notify the speed monitoring system contractor and/or the motor vehicle administration of the action for the purpose of rescinding any administrative penalties or fees that may have been imposed under subsection.
(2) 
The designee may not be employed by the speed monitoring system contractor or have been involved in any review of a speed monitoring system citation, other than a review of a citation under this Subsection (N) of this section.
(3) 
On receipt of a written question or concern from a person. the local designee shall provide a written answer or response to the person within a reasonable time.
(4) 
The designee or the Town Clerk shall make any written questions or concerns received under this subsection, and any subsequent written answers or responses, available for public inspection.
[2]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also renumbered former Subsections (E) through (G) as Subsections (F) through (H), respectively.
(F) 
A speed-monitoring system operator shall:
(1) 
Complete training by a manufacturer of speed-monitoring systems in the procedures for setting up and operating the speed-monitoring system.
(2) 
Fill out and sign a daily set-up log for a speed-monitoring system that states that the speed-monitoring system operator successfully performed or reviewed and evaluated the manufacturer-specified self-test of the speed-monitoring system prior to producing a recorded image.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(3) 
The daily set-up log required by Subsection (F)(2) of this section shall be kept on file and shall be admitted as evidence in any court proceeding for a violation of this section.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(G) 
A speed-monitoring system manufacturer shall issue a signed certificate to the speed-monitoring system operator on completion of the training, which certificate shall be admitted as evidence in any court proceeding for a violation of this section.
(H) 
Calibration.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
A speed-monitoring system shall undergo an annual calibration check performed by an independent calibration laboratory that is:
(a) 
Selected by the Town; and
(b) 
Unaffiliated with the manufacturer of the speed monitoring system.
(2) 
The independent calibration laboratory shall issue a signed certificate of calibration after the annual calibration check, which shall be kept on file and shall be admitted as evidence in any court proceeding for a violation of this section.
(I) 
If the Town Council authorizes or continues a program of speed monitoring systems under this section:
[Added 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14[3]]
(1) 
The Mayor shall designate a program administrator who may not be an employee or a representative of the speed monitoring system contractor; and
(2) 
By June 1, 2017, the Town, without penalty, shall alter the contract or contract right existing on May 31, 2014 with the speed monitoring system contractor to include the following provisions:
(a) 
For potential violations submitted by a contractor for review by the Department, if more than 5% of the violations in a calendar year are erroneous violations, then the contractor shall be subject to liquidated damages for each erroneous violation equal to at least 50% of the fine amount for the erroneous violation, plus any reimbursements paid by the Town; and
(b) 
Under the terms of said altered contract, the Town may cancel a contract with a contractor if the contractor violates the contract by submitting erroneous violations to the Department that exceed a threshold specified in the contract or violates the law in implementing the contract.
(3) 
The designated program administrator shall participate in a training program concerning the oversight and administration of a local speed monitoring program administered by the Maryland Police Training Commission on or before December 31, 2014, and subsequently at least once every two years.
[3]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also renumbered former Subsections (H) through (O) as Subsections (J) through (Q), respectively.
(J) 
Unless a driver of a motor vehicle received a citation from a police officer at the time of a violation, the owner or, in accordance with Subsection (M)(5)(a) of this section, the driver of a motor vehicle is subject to a civil penalty if the motor vehicle is recorded by a speed monitoring system while being operated at least 12 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.
[Amended 3-1-2010 by Em. Res. No. 03-10; 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(K) 
Citations.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
Subject to the provisions of Subsection K(2) through (4) of this section, the Department shall mail or cause to be mailed to an owner liable under Subsection (J) of this section a citation, upon a form to be prescribed by the District Court of Maryland, that shall include the information required by of Md. Code. Ann., Transp. Art., § 21-809.
(2) 
The Department may mail a warning notice instead of a citation to the owner liable under Subsection (J) of this section and, for a period of 30 days after the Town installs the first speed-monitoring system, the Department shall mail only a warning notice and may not issue a citation.
(3) 
Except as provided in Subsection (M)(5) of this section, the Town may not mail a citation to a person who is not an owner.
(4) 
Except as provided in Subsection (E) (omsbudsman) and Subsection (M)(5) of this section, a citation issued under this section shall be mailed no later than two weeks after the alleged violation if the vehicle is registered in this state, and 30 days after the alleged violation if the vehicle is registered in another state.
(5) 
A person who receives a citation under Subsection (K)(1) of this section may:
(a) 
Pay the civil penalty, in accordance with instructions on the citation, directly to the Town; or
(b) 
Elect to stand trial in the District Court for the alleged violation.
(L) 
Adjudication.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
A certificate alleging that the violation of Subtitle 8 (Speed Restrictions) of Title 21 (Vehicles Laws - Rules of the Road) occurred and the requirements under the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, § 21-809(b) have been satisfied, sworn to, or affirmed by a duly authorized law enforcement officer employed by or under contract with the Town based on inspection of recorded images produced by a speed monitoring system, shall be evidence of the facts contained in the certificate and shall be admissible in a proceeding alleging a violation under said subtitle without the presence or testimony of the speed monitoring system operator.
(2) 
If a person who received a citation under Subsection (K) of this section desires the speed monitoring system operator to be present and testify at trial, the person shall notify the court and the Town in writing no later than 20 days before trial.
(3) 
Adjudication of liability shall be based on a preponderance of evidence.
(M) 
Defenses.
[Amended 4-2-2012 by Ord. No. 04-12; 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
Pursuant to § 21-809 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, the District Court may consider in defense of a violation:
(a) 
Subject to Subsection (M)(2) of this section, that the motor vehicle or the registration plates of the motor vehicle were stolen before the violation occurred and were not under the control or possession of the owner at the time of the violation;
(b) 
Subject to Subsection (M)(3) of this section, evidence that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation; and
(c) 
Any other issues and evidence that the District Court deems pertinent.
(2) 
To demonstrate that the motor vehicle or the registration plates were stolen before the violation occurred and were not under the control or possession of the owner at the time of the violation, the owner shall submit proof that a police report regarding the stolen motor vehicle or registration plates was filed in a timely manner.
(3) 
To satisfy the evidentiary burden under Subsection (M)(1)(b) of this section, the person named in the citation shall provide to the District Court, submitted through the Department, a letter, sworn to or affirmed by the person and mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested, that:
(a) 
States that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation; and
(b) 
Includes any other corroborating evidence.
(4) 
Should the Police Department have cause or reason to believe that the operator was an employee or agent acting within the owner’s scope of employment or agency, and was acting in furtherance of the owner’s interests at the time of the violation, the Department may file a motion using the Court’s form (i.e., Form DC 2) opposing the sworn request letter and stating the reasons why such request should be denied or otherwise stating why liability should be jointly shared by the operator and the owner. Said motion shall be reviewed by the Town Attorney, may be supported by affidavit and include any other corroborating evidence.
(5) 
Cases of cited person not operating vehicle.
(a) 
If the District Court finds that the person named in the citation was not operating the vehicle at the time of the violation or receives evidence under Subsection (M)(3) of this section identifying the person driving the vehicle at the time of the violation thereby transferring liability to the operator, the Clerk of the Court shall provide to the Department a copy of any evidence substantiating who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(b) 
On receipt of substantiating evidence from the District Court under Subsection (M)(1) of this section pursuant to the state law the Department may issue a citation as provided in Subsection (K) of this section to the person who the evidence indicates was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(c) 
A citation issued under Subsection (M)(5)(b) of this section shall be mailed no later than two weeks after receipt of the evidence from the District Court.
(N) 
Pursuant to § 21-809 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, if a person liable under this section does not pay the civil penalty or contest the violation, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration:
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
May refuse to register or reregister the motor vehicle cited for the violation; or
(2) 
May suspend the registration of the motor vehicle cited for the violation.
(O) 
Pursuant to § 21-809 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a violation for which a civil penalty is imposed pursuant to state law under this section:
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(1) 
Is not a moving violation for the purpose of assessing points under § 16-402 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland;
(2) 
May not be recorded by the Motor Vehicle Administration on the driving record of the owner or driver of the vehicle;
(3) 
May be treated as a parking violation for purposes of § 26-305 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland; and
(4) 
May not be considered in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.
(P) 
Pursuant to state law and this section, the Department or its designee shall administer and process civil citations issued under this section and state law in coordination with the District Court.
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
(Q) 
An owner for whom the Maryland Motor Vehicle administration refuses to register, or reregister a vehicle, or who receives a suspended registration pursuant to Subsection (N) of this section but who subsequently pays the required fines, fees and penalties shall further remit to the Town a release fee of $35 in addition to any release fees that may be collected by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration prior to release of said restriction. The release fee established by this subsection may be modified from time to time by resolution of the Mayor and Council.[4]
[Amended 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
[4]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection P, which immediately followed this subsection and provided for a returned check fee, was repealed 3-1-2010 by Em. Ord. No. 03-10. For current provisions, see Section 15.9(E).
(R) 
By October 31 of each year, the Mayor with the assistance of the Treasurer and the Chief of Police shall submit to the Maryland Police Training Commission a report for the previous fiscal year on the Town's speed monitoring system program including information required in accordance with state law.
[Added 8-20-2014 by Em. Ord. No. 04-14]
[Amended 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
(A) 
Violations warranting impoundment. The sworn officers of the Forest Heights Police Department are authorized to remove and impound any vehicle from the public streets, public property or public rights-of-way within the Town that is the subject of a violation of this Article which authorizes such removal and has been issued an official traffic or municipal infraction citation. In addition to being cited for a violation of Section 15.3.2 or relevant provisions of the Maryland Vehicle Law, a vehicle may be towed and impounded under any of the following circumstances:
(1) 
When a vehicle is so disabled or wrecked as to be incapable of being safely driven,
(2) 
When the same vehicle has been previously subjected to two or more unpaid parking and delinquent citations issued by the Town,
(3) 
When the person in charge of the vehicle is incapacitated, incarcerated, unlicensed or absent, thereby being unable to provide for its custody or removal,
(4) 
When a vehicle is parked illegally so as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to traffic,
(5) 
When a vehicle is left unattended on a public street or public right-of-way within an area duly posted with signage so as to prohibit parking during an emergency or special activity declared by the Council or the Mayor as permitted by law,
(6) 
When a vehicle remains on a public street or public right-of-way in violation of this Article for a continuous period exceeding 72 hours (i.e., three days), as described in Section 15.3.2,
(7) 
When a vehicle is found parked in a reserved parking space such as a handicapped space or a space reserved for Town officials or law enforcement personnel,
(8) 
When a vehicle is illegally parked in any zone or area established by law that has been limited to designated classes of vehicles or where parking is prohibited during certain hours, on designated days or at all times, and where such vehicle is interfering with the proper and intended use of such zones or areas,
(9) 
When a police officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle is stolen or contains evidence of a felony, or
(10) 
As expressly required by any other provision of this Article or as defined in Subsection 15.2.A, defining an abandoned vehicle.
(B) 
Notice of impoundment. Whenever a vehicle has been towed and impounded, the Forest Heights Police Department shall notify the registered owner of any action taken and substantially follow the procedures stated in this Article and particularly as found in Section 15.8, Subsection (G) (Procedures upon immobilizing vehicles), Paragraph (3) et seq. and those provisions regarding the storage and disposal of abandoned vehicles found in Subtitle 2 of Title 25 of the Transportation Article of the State Code.
(C) 
Hearings for refunds of towing and impoundment charges. An owner of a vehicle aggrieved by any action authorized or described by this Section shall be entitled to an informal hearing before the Mayor or a hearing officer appointed by the Mayor with the consent of Council. Should the Mayor find that the Forest Heights Police Department mistakenly or otherwise wrongfully authorized the towing, impoundment, or storage of a vehicle, the Town shall reimburse the owner of the vehicle for all improper or rescinded towing and storage costs incurred by the owner as a result of the mistaken or wrongful action. The Mayor shall make the final decision of the Town based on recommendations from the hearing officer, if so appointed to hear such case. An appeal of the Mayor's decision shall be provided to the Maryland Tax Court as permitted by statute and the rules of procedure governing said tax court. This subsection and the administrative remedies described herein shall only apply to disputes and requests for refunds regarding towing, and impounding fees collected by the Town or its agent when enforcing this Section, and in those cases where Subsection D below does not apply.
(D) 
Mandatory refund of towing and impoundment charges upon not-guilty verdict or not liable finding. Should any final adjudication by the District Court of Maryland result in a not guilty verdict or its equivalent entered upon any of the violations resulting in impoundment under this Section, all charges or fees advanced as having accrued upon the vehicle or paid by virtue of its impoundment as a result of a previously alleged and cited violation or violations shall be returned to the person who advanced or paid such sums upon presentation of the official receipt issued at the time said vehicle was released.
(E) 
Costs authorized. The costs of the removal, towing, impoundment, immobilization and storage of vehicles or any related service may include the amounts charged by the Town or any independent contractor engaged by the Town for such services as well as the daily storage charges as established by resolution of the Council.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14[1]]
A. 
Vehicles found legally parked having multiple violations. Any unattended vehicle found parked upon any public street, public property or public rights-of-way within the Town having multiple violations as stated herein shall be deemed a public nuisance and may be impounded or immobilized by a vehicle immobilization device, commonly referred to as a "boot," by any agent so authorized, if the Town has in its files information that the vehicle has three or more citations for any illegal parking, standing, stopping, or speed-monitoring system violations issued pursuant to this Article, or any combination thereof totaling three such violations, for which the appropriate fine or amounts due have not been paid within the prescribed time, or if three or more citations have been issued for the same violation of this Article within 30 consecutive days. A police officer may choose to use an immobilization device or the vehicle, by either private or governmental equipment, may be impounded in lieu of immobilization at the sole cost and expense of the habitual violator.
B. 
Notice of eligibility for immobilization or towing. Prior to impounding or immobilizing a vehicle pursuant to this Section, written notice of eligibility for immobilization or towing may be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and/or by First Class mail, postage prepaid, to the registered owner of the motor vehicle, at the address to which the motor vehicle is registered, after placing the registration plate number on any eligibility list. Notice may be sent as follows:
(1) 
The address of the registered owner shall be determined from the records of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, or in the case of a vehicle bearing a registration number of a state other than Maryland, from the records of that state's registry of motor vehicles;
(2) 
The notice shall state the name and address of the registered owner, the State registration number of the motor vehicle, the nature of the ordinances or laws violated and the serial or citation numbers and issue dates of the complaints or citations referred to in Subsection (A) of this Section; and
(3) 
The notice shall advise that a person may challenge the validity of the notice of eligibility for immobilization or towing as set forth in Subsection (C) of this Section.
C. 
Challenge of the validity of the notice. A challenge of the validity of the notice of eligibility for immobilization or towing must be made in writing or in person to the Chief of Police, or his designee, only on grounds which would conclusively disprove liability, such as:
(1) 
The person was not the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle on the date or dates the complaints were issued; or
(2) 
The fines or penalties for the violations cited were paid; or
(3) 
The registered owner has not accumulated three or more violation complaints or citations which are unpaid, not adjudicated, or for which no appearance has been filed.
D. 
Should no determination or change be made that eligibility of the motor vehicle for immobilization or towing is invalid after sending such notice, the State registration number of said vehicle shall remain on the immobilization list, and immobilization or towing may proceed pursuant to this Section. Failure of the Police Department to provide written notice of eligibility for immobilization or towing pursuant to Subsection (B) of this Section shall not be a prerequisite to further action or otherwise prevent an immobilization or towing under this Section.
E. 
Payments necessary to release immobilized vehicle. A vehicle immobilization device (i.e., "boot") shall be removed from a vehicle or an impound release form issued only upon payment of the appropriate fine for all delinquent (i.e., past due) nonmoving, parking, or speed camera citations or any combination thereof which the subject vehicle has received, along with any late or other fees which have attached or been added to those violations in accordance with this Article; and, if applicable, upon payment of an additional boot fee of $100 to defray the Town's cost of installing, removing and maintaining the boot.
F. 
Town not liable for boot removal damages. The Town shall not be liable for any damage to a motor vehicle due to the actions of the owner or any other unauthorized person attempting to remove the boot device or operate such motor vehicle with such device attached.
G. 
Procedures upon immobilizing vehicles. A vehicle that the Police Department decides to boot as authorized herein may remain booted or may be subsequently towed and stored pursuant to the following procedures:
(1) 
The owner has not made arrangements with the Town to secure the removal of the boot within 24 hours after its installation;
(2) 
Notice to be placed on such vehicle in a conspicuous manner sufficient to warn any individual to the effect that such vehicle has been immobilized and that any attempt to move such vehicle might result in damage to such vehicle. Said notice shall further advise the owner or operator that the vehicle has been immobilized by the Town for failure to satisfy citations for parking or other nonmoving and/or speed camera violations; that the owner has the right to contest the immobilization and any subsequent towing and impoundment by submitting a written request to the Forest Heights Police Department within five days from the initial date of the immobilization or towing, or said right shall be deemed to have been waived; and that release of the vehicle may be obtained upon payment of the booting fee and any other applicable amounts due or accrued as specified in this Article;
(3) 
Unless the owner of a vehicle immobilized and/or towed and stored under the provisions of this Section appears to secure release of the vehicle within 24 hours after the vehicle has been immobilized or impounded, in addition to the initial immobilization notice given the owner of said vehicle by posting on the vehicle, as required hereinabove as applicable, said owner shall also be given written notice by certified mail within 48 hours after the vehicle has been immobilized or towed, by the Police Department, that said owner has the right to contest the validity of the immobilization or impoundment at a hearing requested within five days from the initial date of the immobilization or towing; and
(4) 
The said mailed notice shall I) state that the vehicle has been impounded; II) describe the year, make, model and vehicle identification number of the vehicle; III) give the location of the facility where the vehicle is held; IV) inform the owner of his right to reclaim the vehicle no later than three weeks after the date of the notice, upon payment of all fines, penalties and towing, preservation and storage charges resulting from impounding the vehicle; V) state that the failure of the owner to exercise this right in the time provided is a waiver by him of all his rights, title and interest in the vehicle, and a consent to the sale of the vehicle at public auction.
H. 
Right to probable cause hearing. Within five days from the initial date of the immobilization or towing, the owner may request an informal hearing before the Chief of Police or the Mayor's designee to determine whether probable cause exists to continue to immobilize, or tow and impound the vehicle. Said right to a hearing shall be deemed to have been waived five days from the initial date of the immobilization or towing.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Section 15.8, Obstructions to vision. For current provisions, see Section 15.11.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14[1]]
Notwithstanding any ruling of the Chief of Police or Mayor's designee with respect to a showing of probable cause for the initial immobilization or towing of the vehicle, if following trial in the District Court of Maryland or other judicial tribunal, a not guilty verdict or its equivalent is entered upon any of the parking or speed camera violations charged against the vehicle immobilized or towed thereby reducing the number of delinquent multiple violations to less than the requisite three such violations as required herein to serve as the proper basis for such action pursuant to this Article, all charges or fees advanced as having accrued upon the vehicle or paid by virtue of its immobilization or impoundment as a result of the previously alleged requisite number of multiple parking or speed camera violations, shall be returned to the person who advanced or paid such sums upon presentation of the official receipt issued at the time said vehicle was released.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Section 15.9, Penalties. For current provisions, see Section 15.13.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to tamper with or remove or attempt to remove an immobilization device from a vehicle that has been booted without authorization from the Forest Heights Police Department.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person other than the owner or operator or a person authorized by either of them to remove any warning notice regarding immobilization or impoundment.
C. 
Any violation of any subsection of this Section hereinabove is declared to be a municipal infraction. The penalty for violation shall be a fine of $500 for each offense.
D. 
The registered owner of a vehicle having against it three or more summonses or citations shall be presumed to be the owner at the time the summonses or citations were in fact issued and shall be severally responsible for the offenses and the immobilization or impoundment, except where the use of the vehicle was secured by the operator without the owner's consent.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
A. 
No property owner within the Town shall be permitted to create a traffic hazard by allowing to exist any trees, bushes, vines, weeds, undergrowth, loose earth or other obstruction that hinders the vision of operators of vehicles traveling upon any public street, road or highway of the Town.
B. 
Upon finding such a condition, the Town Council or Police Department shall serve upon the owner, agent or tenant or any other person having supervision over such property, a written notice, describing the premises whereon such obstruction exists, and the particulars in which the vision of operators of vehicles is obstructed and the steps necessary to correct such conditions.
C. 
At such time the Town Council or the Chief of Police shall issue the responsible party an order directing that corrective steps be taken within a stated period of time or such condition shall be considered in violation of this Article.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
A. 
Funeral processions shall have the right-of-way over all traffic except police and fire vehicles and ambulances.
B. 
No person shall drive or ride any vehicle or animal across the line of a funeral procession, provided that a funeral procession, in order to be recognized as such, must have displayed on each vehicle two illuminated headlights or other identifying method.
C. 
Each operator in a funeral or other procession shall drive as near to the right-hand edge of the street as practicable and shall follow the vehicle ahead as safe and as close as is practicable.
D. 
Funeral processions shall further comply with § 21-207 of the Transportation Article of the Maryland Annotated Code, as amended.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
A. 
Moving violations. All moving violations, including those by any individual violating Section 15.5 (speed prohibited) or Section 15.3.2(N) (Truck restrictions) of this Ordinance Code, shall be cited using the Maryland Uniform Complaint and Citation Form, and upon conviction, shall be fined and/or penalized in accordance with the schedule of fines and penalties determined by the State and set out in a document prepared by the Chief Administrative Judge of the District Court of Maryland and referred to as the "Schedule of Preset Fines and/or Penalty Deposits," as such document (Form #DC-CR-090) may be amended from time to time.
B. 
Nonmoving violations. Unless otherwise stated in this Section or Article, all nonmoving violations of this Article shall be deemed municipal infractions, as governed by the provisions of Section 23.10 (Issuance of municipal infraction citation) of the Town Ordinance Code, and shall, unless stated otherwise, subject the violator to a fine of $75 which, if not paid within 20 days of the date of violation of notice, shall double to a fine of $150 as provided for in said Section 23.10. The fine for violation of Section 15.3.2(H) with respect to parking within 15 feet of a fireplug shall be $150 and, if not paid within 20 days, shall double to a fine of $300. The fine for a violation of Section 15.3.2(R), illegally parking in a designated handicapped parking space or zone, shall be $300 and, if not paid within 20 days, shall double to a fine of $600. The fine for a violation of Section 15.3.2(K) with respect to seventy-two-hour parking shall be $100 which, if not paid within 20 days of the date of violation of notice, shall double to a fine of $200. The fine for a violation of Section 15.3.2(U) or Section 15.3.2(V) with respect to parking of inoperable or other specifically proscribed vehicles shall be $500 for each offense which, if not paid within 20 days of the date of violation of notice, shall double to a fine of $1,000. Violations of Section 15.3.2(M), parking of commercial vehicles on any road or street in Forest Heights shall be $100 which, if not paid within 20 days of the date of violation of notice, shall double to a fine of $200. For the purposes of this Article, each day a violation goes uncorrected shall constitute a separate offense, except for violations resulting due to multiple offenses.
C. 
Civil violations. A violation of Section 15.6 (Speed-monitoring systems) shall be deemed a civil infraction pursuant to § 21-809 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, and the penalty shall be a fine of $40.
D. 
Other violations. Except as otherwise stated herein, any person who shall violate any other provision of this Article or fail to comply with its requirements shall, upon conviction, be deemed guilty of a municipal infraction, subject to a fine of $100.
E. 
Late fee. Unless otherwise stated on the citation form as authorized by State law or ordinance, any person issued a citation under this Article shall pay the fine within 20 days of the issuance of the citation. Except in cases where the fine is doubled as provided for in Subsection (B), any person issued a citation who fails to pay the penalty set forth in this Article within the prescribed time, or should any person fail to elect to stand trial within the prescribed time, a late fee in the amount of $25 shall be assessed the person liable for the citation under this Article. Except for late fees accrued for unpaid or untimely paid speed camera (i.e., SPEED-MONITORING SYSTEM) violations issued pursuant to Section 15.6, all other late fees assessed under this Article shall accrue without further notice. The late fee assessed to a speed camera violation shall accrue upon written notification by the Town.
F. 
Returned check fee. Any person who pays any penalty assessed under this Article shall further pay a returned check fee of $35 to the Town should the check be returned unpaid for any reason by the payor's bank.
G. 
Flagging fee. The Chief of Police shall, in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the State Motor Vehicle Administration and State law, give or cause to be given notice to the Administration and the respective owners of all vehicles registered by the State and the subject of any outstanding and past due parking or speed-monitoring system violations of this Article thereby requesting that the Administration refuse registration or transfer of registration of the subject vehicle, until notified by the Town that the violation penalty has been satisfied. In such cases, the Chief of Police shall impose an additional cost or municipal administrative flagging fee of $40 for each registration or transfer to be withheld, suspended or denied, and the owner of the vehicle shall be liable or further subject to the payment of such costs, and all other fines, penalties, fees and charges that have accrued or have been assessed pursuant to this Article before notice is given to the Administration that the subject violation penalty has been satisfied and the registration is to be released.
H. 
Debt collection fee. Any fine or associated fees or costs permitted by this Article that remain uncollected from an owner or operator made civilly liable under this Article but not subject to a vehicle registration flagging request by the Town as would otherwise be authorized pursuant to § 26-305 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, after at least 30 days from the date the debt accrues and written notice is provided to the owner or operator, said debt owed to the Town may be referred to a collection agency or attorney for collection and reporting to a major credit bureau, in accordance with state and federal law. Said fee or cost for collection of the delinquent debt (i.e., fine, late fee, returned check fee, and/or flagging fee) as permitted by this subsection shall not exceed two times the past due amount or total sum indebted to the Town. The Town may alternatively or further elect to file a civil suit against the responsible party to recover the fine and associated fees.
I. 
Boot fee. In addition to any other authorized charges, a boot or immobilization fee of $100 shall be charged a vehicle owner who violates this Article or is otherwise responsible which results in immobilization as described in this Article to defray the Town's cost of installing, removing and maintaining the boot device.
J. 
Resolutions establishing fines, charges and fees. The Town Council is hereby authorized to specifically establish, set, adopt, amend or change from time to time by formal resolution any fines, fees, allowed interest, or charges established by this Article or as otherwise permitted by state law.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
The Chief of Police or Mayor's Designee is responsible for the collection of all fines and penalties assessed under this Article. The Police Clerk will furnish to the person paying said fines and penalties a receipt which shall be presented to the duty officer. Upon presentation of said receipt, the duty officer will sign a vehicle release form authorizing the release of the impounded vehicle.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
Vehicles impounded pursuant to this Article will be released to their lawful owner, or person entitled to possession, upon a showing of adequate evidence of a right to its possession and upon the payment of all accrued fines, fees and costs for each outstanding unpaid citation or summons and, in addition thereto, the charges for booting, towing and storage. The release shall be signed by an authorized officer or agent.
[Added 12-17-2014 by Ord. No. 12-14]
Whenever any vehicle so impounded shall remain unclaimed by the owner or other person legally entitled to possession thereof for a period of 45 days from the date a notice to the owner was mailed, it shall be the duty of the Police Department to sell or dispose of such vehicle at a public auction or other authorized method, in accordance with the provisions of Title 25 of the Transportation Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.