[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of New Rochelle 1-20-1987 by Ord. No. 18-1987; amended in its entirety 2-12-2013 by Ord. No. 29-2013. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby declared and found that the towing and booting of vehicles in the City of New Rochelle involves matter affecting the public interest and that certain improper practices related thereto should be subject to regulation for the purpose of protecting and safeguarding the public health, safety and welfare and to prevent and protect the public from fraud, abuses and unnecessary inconvenience.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- To clamp, affix or lock a booting device onto the wheel of a motor vehicle to prevent the wheel from rotating, thereby immobilizing the vehicle.
- Each and every step and action to be taken to totally secure and engage the vehicle to be towed to a tow truck has been completely and finally taken so as to allow the operator of the tow truck to immediately remove and tow the vehicle in conformity with efficient and safe operating procedures.
- Any individual, firm, association, joint venture, partnership, group, corporation, any other legal entity or combination of entities that provide the service of moving a motor vehicle by another vehicle for hire or the storage of vehicles after towing, or the service of booting and shall include, without limitation, owners of towing trucks, their agents and employees.
- PRIVATELY OWNED REAL PROPERTY
- Real property owned by any individual, firm, association, joint venture, partnership, group, corporation or any legal entity or combination of entities whatsoever, and shall include, without limitation, shopping centers, parking lots, apartment houses and land used for commercial purposes.
- The moving of a motor vehicle by another vehicle for hire.
Where the operator of a towing truck removes an unattended motor vehicle from privately owned real property under the direction of the owner or an individual acting on behalf of the owner of such property, said operator, before removing said vehicle, shall notify the Police Department of the City of New Rochelle of the impending removal of the vehicle and provide to the Police Department the street address and telephone number of the premises where any person whose vehicle is removed may recover the same. In no event shall the operator of a towing truck require the owner of a vehicle to retrieve such towed vehicle from a location that is not within the limits of the City of New Rochelle.
Whenever the operator of a towing truck removes an unattended motor vehicle from privately owned real property, all charges imposed for both towing and storage shall not exceed those authorized by the County of Westchester.
Whenever the operator of a towing truck removes an unattended motor vehicle from privately owned real property to the site said operator maintains for such impounded vehicles, said operator shall provide at such site, on a twenty-four-hour-a-day basis, an individual authorized to release the impounded vehicle upon the payment of the authorized towing and storage charges. Upon release, the operator shall provide the owner of the impounded vehicle with a legible, numbered and signed receipt of payment.
Whenever a tow truck operator is about to remove an improperly parked vehicle from privately owned real property but has not yet hooked up or engaged said vehicle to a towing truck, said operator shall immediately release custody and control of the vehicle to the owner or such other person authorized to operate the same without charging any fee whatsoever, provided only that said vehicle is immediately removed from the property.
In the event that a tow truck operator is about to remove an improperly parked vehicle from privately owned real property and has hooked up and engaged said vehicle to a towing truck but has not removed the vehicle from the property, said operator shall immediately release custody and control of the vehicle to the owner or such other person authorized to operate the same for the payment of a fee of $15; and further provided that said vehicle is immediately removed from the property.
An operator may boot an improperly parked vehicle on privately owned real property instead of towing it therefrom, but the fee for such booting shall not exceed $45 plus tax, provided that, upon payment of such fee and the removal of the booting device, said vehicle is immediately removed from the property by the owner or operator thereof. Upon request, the operator shall display to the owner or operator of such vehicle a valid license issued by the Police Commissioner pursuant to this chapter.
Whenever a person engaged in the booting of vehicles affixes a boot to an unoccupied motor vehicle on privately owned real property under the direction of the owner or an individual acting on behalf of the owner of such property, said operator shall notify the New Rochelle Police Department immediately.
Whenever an operator affixes a boot to an unoccupied motor vehicle on private property, said operator shall affix a four-inch by seven-inch orange sticker to the driver's side window. Said sticker shall warn the driver that a boot is affixed to the vehicle and moving the vehicle could result in damage to the vehicle. The sticker shall include the name, and address of the operator, as well as a telephone number the driver can call to arrange for the removal of the boot.
In the event that an operator boots an unoccupied motor vehicle on privately owned real property, the operator or an attendant must remove the boot from the vehicle within 15 minutes after being contacted by the vehicle's owner or operator.
Whenever an operator has begun the process of booting an improperly parked vehicle on private property but has not yet locked the boot onto the vehicle, and the owner or operator of the vehicle offers to remove the vehicle from private property, said operator shall remove the boot from the improperly parked vehicle at no charge to the vehicle's owner or operator.
No motor vehicle shall be booted by a person licensed pursuant to this section unless such licensee has been authorized to boot such motor vehicle pursuant to a written contract between such licensee and the owner, lessee, managing agent or other person in control of the property on which such motor vehicle is parked. Such contract shall also provide that such owner, lessee, managing agent or other person in control of the property may be liable for any violation by such licensee or his or her employee or agents of any of the provisions of this section or of any rules promulgated pursuant to this section.
An owner, lessee, managing agent or other person in control of property who has entered into a written contract with a person licensed pursuant to this section authorizing such licensee to boot motor vehicles parked on such property may be liable for any violation by such licensee or such licensee's employees or agents of the provisions of this section, or of any rules promulgated pursuant to this section.
No motor vehicle may be booted if:
Such vehicle is occupied by any person;
Such vehicle is parked on the roadway side of a vehicle stopped, standing or parked at the curb;
Such vehicle is parked in a fire lane, or in front of or immediately adjacent to a fire hydrant, fire connection or building emergency exit;
Such vehicle is an ambulance, correction vehicle, police vehicle, fire vehicle, civil defense emergency vehicle, emergency ambulance service vehicle, environmental emergency response vehicle, sanitation patrol vehicle, hazardous materials emergency vehicle, ordnance disposal vehicle of the Armed Forces of the United States;
Such vehicle bears a special vehicle identification issued in accordance with the provisions of § 1203-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, or "MD" New York registration plates; and
Such vehicle is parked in a space reserved for vehicles displaying a handicap permit.
No release or waiver of any kind purporting to limit or avoid liability for damages to a vehicle that has been booted shall be valid. In addition, any person who booted a vehicle, or other person authorized to accept payment of any charges for such booting, shall provide a signed receipt to the individual paying the booting charges at the time such charges are paid. Such receipt shall state the name, business address, business telephone number and license number of the person who has booted such vehicle as such information appears on the license to engage in booting, and such receipt shall also include a telephone number for the office within the Police Department responsible for receiving complaints with respect to booting.
No charge shall be imposed for the booting of a vehicle when any person has committed a violation of this section, or any rules promulgated pursuant to this section with respect to such vehicle, and any such unlawful charge shall be reimbursed by any person liable for a violation of this section.
The owner or person in control of a vehicle that has been booted by a licensee or such licensee's employee or agent shall be permitted to pay any charge for booting at the location where such vehicle was booted and the licensee, or other person authorized to accept payment, shall accept such payment in person by credit card in accordance with generally accepted business practices.
No owner of private property shall remove, permit the removal or booting of or cause to be removed or booted any motor vehicle from property owned by him unless there is erected and maintained upon such property, at the entrances and exits to such property, a sign containing a warning that parking thereon is restricted to authorized persons only, that unauthorized parking or trespassing is prohibited and that the vehicles of trespassers or unauthorized persons will be towed away or booted, and containing the further statement setting forth the address and telephone number where any person whose vehicle is removed may make inquiry to regain his vehicle. Such signs shall be not less than 12 inches by 18 inches in size, and lettering thereon shall be not less than one inch in size. Included on such sign shall be the fee amount authorized by the County of Westchester and the fee amount authorized by the City of New Rochelle pursuant to § 316-3E of the Code of the City of New Rochelle for hookup but not removal, and the fee amount authorized by the City of New Rochelle pursuant to § 316-3.1 of the Code of the City of New Rochelle for booting.
All information on the above-required signs must be filed with the New Rochelle Police Department. The owner shall inform the Police Department, in writing, of any changes to the contents of such sign within 10 days of such change. The filing fee shall be as set forth in Chapter 133, Fees, for each filing.
No person shall conduct towing or booting as defined herein on private property without first having obtained a license as hereinafter provided. All licenses shall be issued for a one-year period.
License applicant requirements shall be:
The name and address of the applicant, specifying, in the case of a partnership or an unincorporated association, each partner or member thereof, and in the case of a corporation, the name and address of each officer, director and stockholder thereof.
The date of birth and citizenship of the applicant and each member thereof, if an unincorporated association, and of each officer, director and stockholder, if a corporation.
The address of any and all depots, garages or body shops, whether located inside or outside the City, that will be used by the applicant in connection with his towing business.
A statement as to whether the applicant or any partner, member, officer or director has, within the last five years, ever been convicted of a crime and, if so, the date, crime charged and sentence imposed.
Whether or not the applicant has ever been denied a license for a tow truck, towing business or booting business by any governmental agency or authority or whether or not the applicant has ever been charged with chasing or whether or not any such license ever issued to the applicant has been suspended or revoked and, if so, the date, the location and the circumstances thereof.
A list of all valid licenses held by the applicant which authorize him to conduct a towing or booting business.
Whether this is an initial application or a renewal.
Proof of insurance in accordance with City requirements.
Any other relevant information which the Police Commissioner may require.
Notwithstanding any other penalty provision of the Code of the City of New Rochelle, a violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punishable by a mandatory minimum fine for the first violation thereof of $50, and by a mandatory minimum fine of $100 for a second or subsequent offense, with the maximum fine in each and every instance that may be imposed not to exceed $250.
A minimal fee of $750 shall be paid for each license issued hereunder.
Upon receipt of a properly completed application and payment of the requisite fee, the Police Commissioner shall issue a license to the applicant unless he determines:
That the applicant is unfit and is incapable of properly conducting a towing or booting business within the City of New Rochelle or does not conform to the provisions of this chapter; or
That the applicant's garage, depot or auto repair shop used in connection with the towing business is in violation of any state or City law or regulation, including but not limited to zoning, building or fire law ordinances or regulations in the municipality in which it is located; or
That the applicant has made a materially false statement or misrepresentation in his application.
A license issued hereunder shall not be transferred or assigned to another person or vehicle, except as provided below.
Any license issued hereunder may be suspended, revoked or refused to be renewed by the Police Commissioner or his designee after a hearing, upon five days' notice, if the licensee thereof shall violate any provision of this chapter, any rule or regulation adopted hereunder or any ordinance of the City or is charged with the violation of any vehicle and traffic law, ordinance or regulation of the State of New York or City of New Rochelle.
A request for a hearing to reinstate a license or to contest a suspension, revocation or refusal to renew must be made, in writing, to the Police Commissioner and be sent by registered or certified mail or given in person within 10 days after the suspension, revocation or refusal to renew. A hearing will be held within 21 days after receipt of the licensee's request before the Police Commissioner or his designee and a decision rendered within three days. The licensee's license will remain suspended, revoked or expired until a decision is rendered by the Police Commissioner or his designee.
Any licensee whose license has either been suspended, revoked or refused to be renewed pursuant to this chapter may appeal said suspension, revocation or refusal to renew to the Police Commissioner, within 30 days of the date thereof, by attaching a copy of the suspension or revocation.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Police Department.