Town of Babylon, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 8-25-2000 by L.L. No. 1-2000]
It is the legislative intent of this article to prevent potential abuses in the towing-for-hire industry, whereby a motor vehicle which has been parked on private property within the jurisdiction of the Town of Babylon without authorization of the property owner might be towed or removed to another location over the public streets, roads and highways of the town, at the expense of the vehicle owner or operator, without their prior knowledge, consent and/or authorization, or that such vehicle owner or operator might be charged an exorbitant rate for such towing or removal or redemption of their vehicle, and that the vehicle may be removed from the Town of Babylon causing undue inconvenience to the owner or operator of that motor vehicle.
No motor vehicle which is parked on private property within the jurisdiction of the town, without the authorization of the property owner, or illegally parked on such property shall be towed or removed therefrom by anyone other than a person who is the holder of a license issued by the Town Clerk as required by § 198-4 of this chapter, and unless all of the conditions set forth in this article have been previously complied with.
A. 
Filing. The property owner or their agent shall first file with the Town Clerk a copy of the written agreement authorizing one or more towing businesses to remove any unauthorized or illegally parked motor vehicles from their premises.
B. 
Content. Said written agreement shall set forth the following:
(1) 
The entire agreement between the parties thereto.
(2) 
Explicit authorization to tow or remove said vehicles.
(3) 
The rate to be charged the owners and/or operators of said vehicles.
(4) 
The business location, which must be within the Town of Babylon, where said vehicles will be towed or removed to and stored, and where they may be redeemed.
(5) 
Acknowledgement of twenty-four-hour on-premises availability at said business location for redemption of any vehicles so towed.
(6) 
An authorized agent to direct the towing of illegally parked vehicles, if applicable.
[Added 2-6-2008 by Res. No. 4]
A. 
Requirement. The property owner shall first post signs in requisite locations, containing specific information, as set forth hereinbelow, and shall maintain said signs in a clear and readable manner at all times.
B. 
Contents. The above-required signs shall be in lettering in sizes, colors and order indicated below, on a white background, and shall indicate the following information:
(1) 
The words, "WARNING - TOW AWAY ZONE," in red capital letters at least four inches high and underlined.
(2) 
The words, "Parking for (name of property owner or tenant) only," in black letters at least two inches high.
(3) 
The words, "Unauthorized Vehicles Will Be Towed at Owner's Expense," in red letters at least two inches high.
(4) 
The amount to be charged, in red letters at least two inches high.
(5) 
The name of the towing business that is authorized to remove vehicles and the location and telephone number where the vehicle can be redeemed, indicating that it can be redeemed 24 hours per day, in black letters at least two inches high.
(6) 
The Town Clerk complaint number, which shall be not less than 3/4 of an inch high.
C. 
Locations. The above-required signs shall be posted in the following locations:
(1) 
In parking lots, at all entrances and exits thereto, facing outward toward entering traffic, and at the center of the front line of every row of parking spaces, facing toward the parking spaces.
(2) 
In parking areas, at the center of the front line of the parking space, if only one space, or at the center of the front line of the first and last parking space in each or any row of said spaces, with arrows pointing toward the other sign, all facing toward the parking space or spaces.
(3) 
Such other locations as may be required by the Commissioner of Planning and Development.
[Amended 2-6-2008 by Res. No. 4]
The seizure or tow of a vehicle is only authorized when the owner of the property or his or her representative is actually present and requests that a particular vehicle be seized or towed. The property owner's representative cannot be the tow company or tow truck operator unless the tow company or operator is the actual property owner.
[Amended 2-6-2008 by Res. No. 4]
A. 
Notice to police required. Each instance of the towing of an unauthorized or illegally parked vehicle from private property shall occur only after specific notice of such towing or removal of each vehicle is made to the First Precinct of the Suffolk County Police Department by the licensee, indicating the location from and to which the vehicle is being towed and whereat it can be redeemed. The tow truck operator who seizes or tows a vehicle shall immediately respond to the nearest police precinct with the vehicle and provide a copy of the seizure/tow authorization and request the vehicle owner information to provide the notice required pursuant to § 198-48B.
B. 
Notice to vehicle owner. The tow company shall notify the car owner that his/her vehicle was towed and where the vehicle may be redeemed. The notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail and be postmarked by the end of the business day following the day the vehicle was towed. The certified letter shall state the cost of the tow and the per-diem storage fee.
No motor vehicle towed pursuant to the provisions of this article may be removed from the Town of Babylon.
A. 
The maximum rates for each instance of towing of an unauthorized or illegally parked vehicle from private property shall be limited to those rates set forth in the agreement between the property owner and the licensee, which rates shall be posted in accordance with § 198-46 of this article. No charges other than towing as stated on the sign and agreement required by this article and storage at the rate of $25 per day, which may be charged commencing the calendar day following the towing of the vehicle, may be charged by the licensee.
B. 
The licensee must accept payment in cash or by credit card, at the option of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle, in accordance with generally accepted business practices.
A. 
No motor vehicle may be towed:
(1) 
Unless such vehicle is illegally parked on private property or parked without the authorization of the private property owner or his agent.
(2) 
Where such vehicle is occupied by any person or live animal.
(3) 
Where such vehicle is parked in a parking space reserved for individuals with a handicap.
(4) 
If such vehicle is an ambulance, correction vehicle, police vehicle, sheriff 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, bears official license plates of the State of New York or the United States of America.
(5) 
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.
B. 
If the registered owner or other person in control of a vehicle arrives at the scene prior to the removal of the vehicle, and such vehicle is connected to any apparatus for removal, the vehicle shall be disconnected from such apparatus and such registered owner or other person in control of such vehicle shall be allowed to remove the vehicle from the premises without interference. The property owner and the tow company shall have recourse to Civil Court or Small Claims Court to seek compensation for any monetary damages incurred as a result of the actions of the vehicle owner.
[Amended 2-6-2008 by Res. No. 4]
No release or waiver of any kind purporting to limit or avoid liability for damages to a vehicle that has been towed shall be valid.
A. 
Any person who towed a vehicle, or other person authorized to accept payment of any charges for such towing, shall provide a signed receipt to the individual paying the towing 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 towed such vehicle as such information appears on the license to engage in towing, and such receipt shall also include the date and time that the motor vehicle was released and a telephone number for the office within the office of the Town Clerk responsible for receiving complaints with respect to towing.
B. 
Any person who has towed a motor vehicle shall release such vehicle immediately upon receiving a request for such vehicle's release; provided, however, that payment of any charge for towing and storage 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 towed by a licensee or such licensee's employee or agent shall be permitted to pay any charge for towing at the location where such vehicle is to be retrieved and the licensee, or other person authorized to accept payment, shall accept such payment in person by cash or credit card at the option of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle, in accordance with generally accepted business practices.
A. 
No charge shall be imposed for the towing 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 article.
B. 
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
C. 
In addition to the foregoing, the provisions of § 198-37, § 198-38 and § 198-39 shall apply to any licensee violating the provisions of this article.
D. 
Authorized employees of the Department of Planning and Development, Division of Public Safety, or any fire marshals, assistant fire marshals or police officers, shall have the power to enforce the provisions of this article and any rules promulgated pursuant thereto.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to the towing of a motor vehicle by:
A. 
The town, any other governmental entity or a person acting under the direction of the Town or such governmental entity, where such towing is authorized by any other provision of law or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto; or
B. 
Any person who has a lien pursuant to § 184 of the Lien Law and who tows such motor vehicle.