[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Township of Montclair 8-9-1988 by Ord. No. 88-51 (Art. XIV of Ch. 88 of the 1979 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The operation of an unengaged wrecker along the public streets in any fashion intended, likely or calculated to solicit business.
- A person, firm or corporation who owns and/or operates a vehicle on the roads and highways within the Township of Montclair, which vehicle, by reason of being disabled or being unlawfully upon said roads, requires towing services.
- TOWING OPERATOR
- A person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of
providing wrecker services for vehicles towed, which services are
made available to the general public upon such rates, charges and
fees as determined by said person, firm or corporation and who is
holder of a permit under the provisions of this chapter.[Amended 8-12-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-45]
- A vehicle driven by mechanical power and employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying or removing any and all kinds of vehicles or parts of vehicles which are unable to be operated under their own power, for which a service charge or fee is exacted.
[Amended 8-12-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-45]
No person shall engage in municipal police towing within the Township of Montclair, including the operation of wreckers or tow trucks for the aforementioned purpose, without qualifying as a towing operator and first obtaining a permit therefor.
Every applicant for a permit under this chapter shall complete, sign and verify a written application, in duplicate, on forms furnished by the Municipal Clerk.
The application shall state:
The name and address of the applicant.
The residence address and full local address, if any, of the applicant.
The serial number and registration of each vehicle to be operated by the applicant.
The location of the storage area for wreckers and cars and the amount of available space for storage of towed cars.
The name and address of the insurer and policy numbers of the garagekeeper's liability and garage liability policies.
Consent to appointment of the Municipal Clerk as the applicant's true and lawful attorney for the purpose of acknowledging service out of any court of competent jurisdiction to be served against the applicant.
An agreement to be available for service or on call 24 hours a day and to abide by the fees contained in this chapter.
The applicant shall file the completed application forms, in duplicate, with the Police Department of the Township.
The Chief of Police shall be charged with the investigation of prospective permittees and shall recommend the issuance of a permit when he or she finds that:
The public convenience and necessity require the proposed wrecker service for which an application has been submitted.
The applicant and all employees are fit and proper persons to conduct or work in the proposed business.
The application submitted by the applicant complies with the requirements of this chapter and all other applicable ordinances of the Township.
The Municipal Clerk shall promptly notify the applicant of the approval of his or her application by the Chief of Police and shall issue the permit.
All permits shall expire on December 31 of the year issued, unless an earlier expiration date is indicated on the permit.
The Municipal Clerk shall send a copy of the permit to the Police Department for filing and shall keep a permanent record of all permits issued.
The registration fee for the issuance of a permit certifying compliance herewith and authorizing towing issued under this section shall be $200. No portion of this fee shall be prorated for any part of the year.
[Amended 7-7-2009 by Ord. No. O-032-09]
Each tower shall make available for service during the term of this contract at least one wrecker to be at least one-ton capacity. The contractor must furnish police scanner radios, which shall be tied into the proper police frequency, in order to receive calls for service. In addition to the wrecker required above, the contractor shall make available at least one heavy-duty wrecker of a minimum thirty-eight-ton capacity and at least one flatbed carrier with at least a two-car capacity for service during the term authorized by the tower's permit. Each tower shall submit proof of such availability, including contracts, leases or contingent leases with lessors, if any. The permit application shall list all equipment to be made available, the owner of the same and encumbrances, if any.
[Amended 9-20-1988 by Ord. No. 88-56; 2-7-1989 by Ord. No. 89-11; 12-19-2006 by Ord. No. 06-69; 11-12-2007 by Ord. No. 07-46; 7-24-2018 by Ord. No. O-18-032]
The maximum rate for towing and storage of a vehicle within the Township shall be as follows:
Days, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.: $85.
Nights, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.: $95.
Sundays and holidays: $95.
Dolly tow: $25, plus the normal towing rate.
Out-of-town regular tow: $85, plus $3 per mile after the first mile.
Out-of-town dolly tow: $85, plus the normal rate, plus $3 per mile after the first mile.
Outdoor storage: $30 per day.
Indoor storage: $35 per day.
Flatbed towing: no more than $100.
Road service (jump start, tire change, gasoline): $50 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; $60 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Lockout fee for unlocking and brake release for impound vehicles without keys: $60.
The fee for towing out of and into the Township must be agreed to, in writing, by the owner of any vehicle to be towed before said vehicle is towed.
Half-ton pickups and vans should be considered as automobiles for purposes of this chapter.
If a vehicle owned or operated by a crime victim is towed by a licensee to premises controlled by the Police Department solely for the purpose of utilizing the vehicle or its contents as evidence or in an ongoing criminal investigation, the Township shall be charged $1 per tow. If this vehicle cannot be removed from the premises controlled by the Police Department in a timely manner by the crime victim or an authorized agent, then the licensee may be requested by the Police Department to remove and store said vehicle where the owner or agent shall be responsible for these charges only, not the original tow.
Fee cards shall be conspicuously posted indicating the maximum rates for towing and storage and shall be in the possession of the drivers of all wreckers and presented to the driver or owner of any vehicle to be towed.
[Amended 11-12-2007 by Ord. No. 07-46]
Any Township vehicles, whether located on or off the road, will be towed free of charge, and towing operators shall also provide emergency road service for Township vehicles, at no charge, including but not limited to repair of flat tires, jump-starting and winching of vehicles, and refueling.
The vehicles described in § 322-7 shall be equipped with the following items:
A minimum of two flashing yellow lights pointed to the rear and so mounted as not to be obstructed by any motor vehicle being towed by the permittee.
A minimum of two flashing yellow lights spaced at least four feet apart and so constructed as to be mountable on the rear of any vehicle being towed by the permittee.
One shovel and one broom for use in removing debris from roadways.
One twenty-pound dry-chemical fire extinguisher.
Absorbents, such as "Speedy Dry."
[Amended 12-19-2006 by Ord. No. 06-69]
In the event that a permittee is requested by the Township to render services in accordance with this chapter at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, the permittee shall remove from the street all broken glass, metal and other debris resulting from said accident.
No permit shall be issued to an applicant until he or she shall have deposited with the Chief of Police the following insurance policies:
A garagekeeper's liability policy covering fire, theft and explosion in the minimum amount of $25,000 and collision coverage subject to a maximum deductible of $100, with each accident deemed a separate claim.
A garage liability policy covering the operation of the applicant's business, equipment and vehicles for any bodily injury or property damage in the minimum amounts of $500,000 for any one person killed or injured and $1,000,000 for more than one person killed or injured in any one accident. This policy shall also provide for coverage in the minimum amount of $10,000 for all damage arising out of injury to or destruction of property.
Each policy required herein must contain an endorsement providing for 20 days' notice to the Township in the event of any material change or cancellation.
No permit shall be issued to an applicant hereunder unless its employee shall be available or on call on a twenty-four-hour basis to tow disabled vehicles.
No permit shall be granted to an applicant unless and until he or she has appointed the Municipal Clerk his or her true and lawful attorney for the purpose of acknowledging service out of any court of competent jurisdiction to be served against the applicant.
[Amended 8-12-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-45]
All permittees must have sufficient storage areas on their own premises, which must be located within the Township of Montclair or within a two-mile radius of the northeast corner of the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Valley Road, to store not fewer than 50 towed vehicles, and the applicant shall have sufficient available space for properly accommodating and protecting all disabled motor vehicles to be towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are disabled. The disabled vehicles shall not be stored or allowed to remain on public property or Township streets or on property which is not zoned for such storage.
[Added 8-12-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-45]
As a condition of being granted a permit under this section, a towing operator must demonstrate to the reasonable satisfaction of the Chief of Police that it can respond to a towing order in no longer than 15 minutes from the time of the call.
The governing body hereby designates the Police Department, generally, and the Chief of Police, in particular, as its agent to supervise the enforcement of the terms and provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted hereunder.
No individual owner or operator of a wrecker shall respond to the scene of an auto accident except upon notification by the officer in charge of police headquarters or upon request of the driver or owner of the vehicle involved.
The officers investigating accidents which require a wrecker shall get authorization from the drivers or owners of cars as to who is to do the towing.
To amplify and expedite the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, the Chief of Police is authorized to establish a system of rotation in the assignment of wreckers where the owner or the driver declines to indicate any specific choice of a wrecker to remove the disabled vehicle.
No individual owner or operator of a wrecker nor any permittee shall tow or remove any vehicle from the place where it is disabled unless the permittee is able to store or place the disabled vehicle on property owned or leased by the permittee which is zoned for such storage, and it shall be considered to be a violation of this chapter and cause the revocation of a permit if the permittee stores or allows the disabled vehicle to remain on public property or on Township streets.
Every person authorized to tow hereunder shall record in a book kept solely for such purpose the details of each disabled vehicle towed, serviced or transported, together with full information concerning the details surrounding the hiring, the names of the owners of the towed vehicle and of the patron engaging him or her and the charges paid for his or her services. The record book herein described shall be kept open for inspection at all times by any duly authorized representative of the Township.
Each permittee shall submit, by the fifth day of each month, a detailed written report to the Chief of Police indicating all vehicles towed the previous month and all towed vehicles currently stored.
[Amended 9-20-1988 by Ord. No. 88-57]
Each permittee will comply with the Montclair Police Department regulations regarding impound reports and vehicle release permits.
[Added 9-20-1988 by Ord. No. 88-57]
Permits issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the Township Manager, after notice and hearing, for any of the following causes:
Notice of the hearing for revocation of a permit shall be given to the permittee, in writing, setting forth specifically the grounds of the complaint and the time and place of the hearing. Such notice shall be mailed by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the permittee at his or her last known address, at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief of Police or the Municipal Clerk in the denial of a permit as provided in § 322-5 of this chapter shall have the right of appeal to the Township Manager. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Township Manager, within 14 days after notice of the action complained of is mailed to such person's last known address, a written statement setting forth fully the grounds for the appeal.
The Township Manager shall set a time and place for the hearing of such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be given to the appellant in the same manner as provided in § 322-18 for the notice of the hearing on revocation.
The decision and order of the Township Manager on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
[Amended 4-10-2007 by Ord. No. 07-17]
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment in the county/municipal jail for a term not exceeding 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof as determined by the Municipal Court Judge. Each day on which a violation of an ordinance exists shall be considered a separate and distinct violation and shall be subject to imposition of a separate penalty for each day of the violation as the Municipal Court Judge may determine.