[Adopted 6-6-2000 by L.L. No. 15-2000]
The Town Clerk has received complaints f rom consumers who maintained that their vehicles had been legally parked when boots were applied, that no signs had been posted indicating that vehicles would be booted if they were improperly parked or that the booting personnel were abusive and unresponsive. By far, the largest portion of these complaints concerned the booting of motor vehicles on private parking lots serving stores and other business establishments where motorists were forced not only to pay high booting charges to have their vehicles released, but also to pay charges for both the booting and the subsequent towing of their vehicles. Since booting is currently an unlicensed activity, the Town Clerk has been unable to mediate any of these consumer complaints. This article would authorize the Town Clerk to license private persons who boot motor vehicles, and thereby hear and respond to complaints, and provide for sanctions for any violation of this article and establish certain standards for any violation of this article. It would also govern booting activities, thereby helping to ensure that licensed companies do not wrongfully boot motor vehicles or engage in booting in such a manner as to endanger the public safety. The Board further finds that the licensing of towing companies will protect the public from undue inconvenience and potential damage to vehicles caused by booting.
Definitions. For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- BOOT or BOOTING
- The act of placing on a parked motor vehicle a mechanical device that is designed to be attached to the wheel or tire or other part of such vehicle so as to prohibit its usual manner of movement.
- Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, firm or other business entity.
No person shall engage in booting unless such person is the holder of a license issued by the Town Clerk as required by § 198-4 of this article.
Signs; fees; contract.
No motor vehicle may be booted unless a sufficient number of signs are conspicuously posted and maintained by the owner of the property in the form, manner and location prescribed by the Commissioner of Planning and Development and this subsection. Such signs shall contain such information as the Commissioner of Planning and Development shall prescribe, including but not limited to the word "warning;" the name, business address, business telephone number and license number of the person authorized by the property owner to boot the vehicle; the hours during which and the circumstances under which vehicles are prohibited from parking on such property and are subject to booting or towing; if applicable, the fees to be charged for booting; and the telephone number of the office within the Town Clerk's office responsible for receiving complaints regarding booting. The word "warning" on such signs shall be in letters not less than five inches high and shall be in the color red, and the lettering on such signs stating the hours during which and the circumstances under which vehicles are prohibited from parking on such property and are subject to booting shall be not less than two inches high. The lettering on such signs which provide the name, business address, business telephone number and license number of the person authorized to boot the vehicle, the fees to be charged for booting and the Town Clerk complaint number shall be not less than three-fourths inch high.
No charge for the release of a vehicle that has been booted in excess of that which is contained on the signs required by this section may be imposed.
No motor vehicle shall be booted by a person licensed by the Town Clerk pursuant to Chapter 198 of this Code 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, which contract shall be filed by the licensee in the office of the Town Clerk, together with a schedule of fees which may be imposed pursuant to § 198-42C(1) and (2) prior to such licensee booting any vehicles.
In addition to the provisions of Subsection C of this section, no motor vehicle may be booted:
Unless such vehicle is unlawfully parked.
Where such vehicle is occupied by any person or live animal.
When such vehicle is parked on the roadway side of a vehicle stopped, standing or parked at the curb.
Where 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.
Unless the express written authorization of the owner of a private driveway blocked by such vehicle has been obtained, which authorization includes the location, make, model, color and license plate number of such vehicle.
If such vehicle is an ambulance, correction vehicle, police vehicle, fire vehicle, civil defense emergency vehicle, emergency ambulance service vehicle, environmental emergency response vehicle, public safety patrol vehicle, hazardous materials emergency vehicle, ordnance disposal vehicle of the armed forces of the United States.
Where such vehicle bears a special vehicle identification parking permit issued in accordance with the provisions of § 1203-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, or "MD" New York registration plates.
Immediately after a vehicle is booted, the person booting such vehicle, the owner of the property where such vehicle was booted or an employee or agent of such person or owner shall affix, at the rearmost portion of the window adjacent to the driver's seat of such vehicle, a sticker, measuring 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches, containing a warning that any attempt to move the vehicle may result in damage to the vehicle and stating the date and time the vehicle was booted and the name, business address and the license number of the person who booted such vehicle as well as a business telephone number which will facilitate the dispatch of personnel responsible for removing the boot.
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 the date and time that the boot was removed and a telephone number for the office within the Town Clerk's office 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 Chapter 198 of this Code with respect to such vehicle, and any such unlawful charge shall be reimbursed by any person liable for a violation of this section.
Any person who has booted a motor vehicle shall release such vehicle within 30 minutes of receiving a request f or such vehicle's release; provided, however, that payment of any charge for booting is made at or prior to the time of such vehicle's release. The owner or person in control of a vehicle which 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.
Penalties for offenses; suspension or revocation of license.
Authorized employees of the Department of Planning and Development, the Division of Public Safety or any fire marshals, assistant fire marshals or police officers shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this section and any rules promulgated pursuant thereto.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to the booting of a motor vehicle by:
The town, any other governmental entity, or a person acting under the direction of the Town or such governmental entity, where such booting is authorized by any other provision of law or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto.
Any person who has a lien pursuant to § 184 of the Lien Law and who detains such motor vehicle in his or her lawful possession.