Borough of Lansdowne, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Lansdowne 5-20-1998 by Ord. No. 1148. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Police Department — See Ch. 69.
Nuisances — See Ch. 225.
Municipal parking lots — See Ch. 231.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 310.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 312.
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to regulate towing rates and towing services as permitted by 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3353; to provide for proper licensing of towing services and notice to the Lansdowne Police Department where vehicles are towed from public or private property without the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle by a towing service operating on behalf of an owner or lessee of private property, or by a towing service operating on behalf of the lienholder or lessee of the vehicle; and to avoid erroneous reports of stolen vehicles being submitted to the Lansdowne Police Department.
[Amended 6-16-1999 by Ord. No. 1155]
A. 
Passenger cars.
(1) 
The cost of towing passenger cars which are hooked and removed from public or private premises shall not be in excess of a fee as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council for each crane tow or wheel lift. In all instances when a vehicle is hooked and the owner/operator of the vehicle returns prior to the vehicle being removed, tow operator shall charge no more than the hooking fee as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council and shall release the vehicle to the owner/operator immediately upon receipt of the fee.
(2) 
The cost of storage of any impounded passenger car, which cost is charged by any towing service operator with respect to any passenger car towed from Lansdowne, shall not be in excess a fee as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council, per day. Said storage fee shall be chargeable immediately upon the placement of the vehicle into storage.
[Amended 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
B. 
Vehicles other than passenger cars.
(1) 
The cost of towing vehicles other than passenger cars shall not be in excess of a fee as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council. In all instances when such a vehicle is hooked and the owner/operator of the vehicle returns prior to the vehicle being removed, tow operator shall charge no more than the hooking fee as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council and shall release the vehicle to the owner/operator immediately upon receipt of the fee.
(2) 
The cost of storage of any impounded vehicle other than a passenger car, which cost is charged by any towing service operator with respect to any such vehicle towed from Lansdowne, shall not be in excess of a fee, as set forth from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council, per day. Said storage fee shall be chargeable immediately upon the placement of the vehicle into storage.
[Amended 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
C. 
For purposes of this chapter, the term "passenger car" shall include all vehicles weighing less than 9,000 pounds.
[Added 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the towing of any vehicle parked or left unattended on public or private property without the consent of the property owner or lessee, including but not limited to repossession of vehicles on behalf of a lienholder or lessor of a vehicle.
A. 
No towing service shall remove any vehicle that is parked or left unattended on private property unless the private property owner or property lessee consents in writing to such removal, except that the Borough of Lansdowne or anyone acting on its behalf or at its request shall be exempt from this provision.
B. 
In addition, any towing service shall first secure a license from the Borough of Lansdowne prior to doing any towing from any public or private property located in Lansdowne Borough. A license shall be obtained every calendar year, for a fee to be set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council, upon completion of a Lansdowne Police Department application containing, at a minimum, the following information.
[Amended 6-16-1999 by Ord. No. 1155; 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
(1) 
Name, address and telephone number of the towing service. This telephone number shall be answered on a twenty-four-hour basis, seven days per week.
(2) 
The name, business address and telephone number of all persons or entities having an ownership interest in the towing service.
(3) 
The name, address and telephone number of all persons from whose property in the Borough of Lansdowne the towing service is authorized to remove vehicles.
(4) 
The name, address and telephone number of the storage yard to which vehicles removed from private property in Lansdowne Borough will be towed.
(5) 
The name, address and telephone number of the bonding company and the name, address and telephone number of the bonding company agent through whom the bond required by this chapter has been issued.
(6) 
Any changes in any of the information required in Subsection B(1) through (5) herein shall be reported in writing to the Borough of Lansdowne Police Department within 24 hours of such change.
C. 
The Chief of Police, upon determining that any provision of this chapter has been violated, in addition to any other penalties provided herein, may revoke a license issued hereunder together with the right to reapply for a subsequent license, for a period of up to two years. Appeal from such revocation shall be to the Public Safety Committee of Lansdowne Borough Council, and shall be handled under the Local Agency Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 2 Pa.C.S.A. § 551 et seq. and § 751 et seq.
D. 
Authorized towing services shall:
(1) 
Maintain a current surety bond with the Borough in the sum of $10,000 and in form satisfactory to the Borough's Solicitor, conditioned upon the faithful performance by the towing service of its duties, under this chapter, and to indemnify the owners of vehicles against loss, injury or damage to vehicles while in his custody. The surety bond shall be issued by a bonding company that is approved by the United States Department of the Treasury and/or by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(2) 
Provide certificates of insurance as follows: in the minimum amount of $500,000 combined single limit for hired autos, non-owned autos; $100,000 for each personal injury; and $50,000 per occurrence for garagekeeper's liability.
[Amended 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
(3) 
Comply with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code[2] with respect to the removal and storage of vehicles from private property or the removal and impoundment of vehicles from public property.
[2]
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
(4) 
(Reserved)[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D(4), concerning payment of any final judgment, was repealed 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178.
(5) 
Notify the Lansdowne Borough Police Department by telephone, in person or by facsimile transmission of the removal of a vehicle from public or private property within one hour of such removal and provide a description and license number of the vehicle thus removed and notify the Borough of Lansdowne Police Department of the removal of the vehicle in writing (in person or by fax) by 12:00 noon of the day after removal of the vehicle from private property on a form provided by the Lansdowne Police Department.
[Amended 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
(6) 
Provide the Borough of Lansdowne Police Department with a true and correct copy of each and every contract between the towing service and the owner and/or lessee of any private property with respect to the removal of vehicles from private property within the Borough.
(7) 
Display the name of the towing service or the person operating it, together with a valid phone number therefor, by signs on both sides of the tow truck.
(8) 
Maintain, during off hours, either a telephone operator, answering service or telephone tape machine to provide owners or operators of towed vehicles with necessary information as to the cost, the required method of payment and the procedure for claiming the towed vehicle.
(9) 
Display the current towing license obtained from the Borough of Lansdowne on the driver's side window of the tow vehicle.
E. 
Signs on private lots. No person shall remove or cause to be removed a vehicle parked on a private lot without authorization unless signs are posted by the owner of the lot as follows:
(1) 
A sign, at least two feet by two feet in size, will be posted in a clearly visible location within a private lot containing fewer than 20 parking spaces approximately eight feet above ground level, explicitly indicating that all unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense. It will indicate the name and phone number of the towing agency, the hours of operation and the towing and storage fees.
(2) 
Within a lot containing more than 20 parking spaces, the property owner shall prepare a site plan, subject to the approval of the Chief of Police, showing signage readily visible from all directions. Such signs, clearly indicating that all unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense, shall thereafter be posted and maintained pursuant to the approved site plan.
(3) 
In the event that the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code provides for a more demanding standard with regard to signs and posting of signs, said standards shall be followed.
In any proceeding for a violation of the provisions of this chapter, the registration plate, if any, displayed on such motor vehicle shall be prima facie evidence that the owner of said motor vehicle was either operating said motor vehicle or was in operation and control of said motor vehicle at the time of said violation.
A. 
Any violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punishable by the following monetary penalties:
(1) 
First offense: $65.
(2) 
Second offense: $85.
(3) 
Third or later offenses: $115 per offense.
B. 
In addition to the monetary penalties provided above, a person or entity who has committed three or more violations of this chapter may be subject to one or more of the following penalties:
(1) 
Revocation of any towing license issued by the Borough, with no refund.
(2) 
Immediate seizure of any towing or other vehicle used in the commission of the third or later violation of this chapter, which vehicle shall be released upon full payment of all accrued monetary penalties.
(3) 
The owner of any towing or other vehicle which is seized pursuant to this § 303-5 shall be entitled to seek a hearing on the issue of seizure before a Magisterial District Judge or Judge of the Court of Common Pleas within one business day.
[Added 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
C. 
Each violation of any part of this chapter shall count as a single violation.
D. 
The penalties set forth in this chapter are in addition to, and do not replace or supplant, any other remedies which may be available to the Borough or to any private person under this chapter or any other civil or criminal law. By way of example and not of limitation, this chapter shall not preclude any private person from bringing a civil action against any person or entity for the wrongful conversion of any vehicle that is towed in violation of this chapter.
[Added 4-3-2002 by Ord. No. 1178]
The requirements of this chapter shall not apply to repossession of vehicles on behalf of lienholders. However:
A. 
This exemption only applies to the actual repossession of vehicles on behalf of lienholders, and does not provide an exemption for any other towing activity that is conducted within the Borough. When not engaged in repossession activity, persons and entities engaged in the business of towing vehicles must comply in all respects with the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
A person or entity which is engaged in repossession of a vehicle on behalf of a lienholder shall, at least one hour prior to beginning the repossession, notify the Lansdowne Police Department of intention to repossess the vehicle; give the Lansdowne Police Department the name of the vehicle owner and the address at which the vehicle repossession is going to take place; and present proof of the right to repossess the vehicle.
[Amended 12-5-2012 by Ord. No. 1278]
Any person who has requested in writing an increase in towing, hooking or storage fees and who has been denied, or if no decision has been made within 30 days of the request, shall have the right to appeal in writing to the Borough Council within 30 days of the denial or of the expiration of 30 days after the request if no decision is rendered. The Borough Council shall set a hearing date within 30 days of receiving such appeal request. At such hearing, the applicant is entitled to be heard and present evidence on its behalf. The Borough Council shall render a decision on the request within 15 days following the date of the hearing.