[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cornwall 12-13-2004 by L.L. No. 5-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Parking at Town Hall — See Ch. 105.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 143.
Zoning — See Ch. 158.
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 137, Towing, adopted 7-12-1993 by L.L. No. 1-1993, as amended.
Whenever used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated below:
- Any incident or occurrence in which one or more motor vehicles become disabled, damaged or cause personal injury or property damage.
- FOR HIRE
- Charging of a fee or other consideration, either directly or indirectly, for towing, carrying or removing of a vehicle, including any case where any person makes repairs on a towed vehicle for compensation, even if no charge is expressly imposed for towing such vehicle.
- A person operating a motor vehicle with the permission of the owner thereof.
- A person who owns, rents or leases a motor vehicle.
- Any individual, sole proprietorship, firm, partnership, association, corporation, or other organization.
- Offering towing services for hire.
- STORAGE/IMPOUND FACILITY
- An area for storage of at least 10 towed or impounded vehicles within a secured area surrounded by a fence with a minimum height of six feet, as well as space to accommodate two vehicles in a secured area inside a building.
- Moving or removing of disabled or damaged motor vehicles or abandoned motor vehicles by another vehicle for hire.
- TOW OPERATOR
- A person engaged in the business of towing.
- A vehicle registered as a tow truck and used for the purpose of towing or carrying another vehicle that has been or is involved in an accident, disabled, abandoned or illegally parked.
A towing license under this chapter shall not be required to tow a motor vehicle within the Town of Cornwall:
In response to a request by the New York State Police; or
On the New York State Thruway under a New York State Thruway license; or
When a vehicle is already in tow when entering the Town of Cornwall; or
When a vehicle owner contacts a tow operator and requests towing service in regard to a vehicle located on private property.
Persons holding valid towing licenses issued by the Town of Cornwall prior to the effective date of this chapter shall continue to enjoy the rights conveyed thereby and need not apply for issuance of a new license under the terms of this chapter until such time as their existing towing license expires or is revoked.
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, only tow operators licensed by the Town of Cornwall shall be contacted by the Town of Cornwall Police Department and authorized to provide towing services at an accident scene or other such circumstance in which removal of a vehicle or vehicles is necessary.
The Town of Cornwall Police Department shall establish and maintain a towing list for the purpose of fairly and impartially determining which licensed tow operator will be contacted by its dispatchers and advised of the need for towing services.
When a need for towing services arises, the Town of Cornwall police dispatchers shall contact licensed tow operators whose names appear on the towing list on a twenty-four-hour rotational basis.
The Town Board hereby designates the Chief of Police to compile, control and administration of the towing list.
In contacting a licensed tow operator on the towing list as provided in this chapter, the Town of Cornwall shall not be deemed to have requested towing services. Rather, such contact shall constitute mere notification of an opportunity to provide towing services at the expense of the owner of the vehicle to be removed as authorized under this chapter, and neither the Town nor its officers or employees shall be responsible for the payment of towing fees or for the collection thereof.
Tow operators who are on the presently existing Town towing list shall automatically be included on the Town towing list established by this chapter; provided, however, that when the existing towing licenses of such tow operators expire or are revoked, such tow operators shall be required to apply for participation on the towing list when they submit applications for new towing licenses under this chapter.
An application for a towing license issued under this chapter shall be made to the Town Board of the Town of Cornwall upon such application form as the Town Board shall prescribe by resolution and shall be given and subscribed by the applicant under oath.
The towing license application shall include the information set forth below.
The applicant's name. If the applicant is a corporation or other business entity, the name and address of the person owning a majority interest shall also be provided.
The applicant's address and telephone number.
The address of the property at which the applicant maintains vehicle storage/impound facilities.
The name, address and telephone number of the title owner of the property at which the applicant maintains vehicle storage/impound facilities.
A description of the wrecker or wreckers which the applicant proposes to use for towing within the Town of Cornwall, stating the year, make, model, license plate number and VIN.
A statement as to whether or not the applicant wishes to participate in the towing list established under this chapter.
Equipment; rates. Applicants for a towing license who wish to participate in the Town's towing list must provide a statement given under oath attesting to the fact that they meet the following additional requirements:
The applicant must maintain no fewer than two wreckers and one flat-bed truck.
The wreckers which the applicant proposes to operate in the Town of Cornwall must be equipped with:
Emergency flashing amber lights visible from front and rear;
A three-ton winch with a minimum of 75 feet of steel cable 3/8 inch or greater;
A CO2 or dry-powder fire extinguisher with a minimum capacity of 10 pounds;
One container of oil-absorbing material with a minimum capacity of five gallons;
One carton containing at least one dozen red railroad-type flares;
A dolly/dolly wheels, a hacksaw, an axe, a first aid kit and a tool kit containing, at least, a set of Phillips head and slot head screwdrivers; and
A shovel and a broom for clearing the highway of nonhazardous debris.
The applicant must agree that the rates in regard to impounds and snow impounds rendered upon request for such service from the Town Police Department under this chapter shall be no greater than in the schedule of fees established by the Town Board.
[Added 6-13-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
New York State registration and inspection. Applicants for a towing license who wish to participate in the Town's towing list must provide proof of valid registration and inspection of each wrecker to be operated, as well as proof of registration with the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles in accordance with Article 12-A of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Storage/impound yard. Applicants for a towing license who wish to participate in the Town's towing list must provide proof that the applicant maintains or otherwise has a right to use a storage/impound facility at a site within the Town of Cornwall or at such location outside the Cornwall Town line as the Town Board shall deem not unreasonably distant from the Town. Further, such storage/impound facility must have space sufficient for storage of no fewer than 10 vehicles and must include a facility for indoor storage of at least two vehicles, such as a garage.
Ability to provide timely service. The applicant must provide a statement that the applicant employs at least three wrecker operators and maintains twenty-four-hour service capability. The applicant shall have at its storage/impound yard an employee during regular business hours to respond to persons claiming stored or impounded vehicles. The applicant must also be available to respond to persons claiming stored or impounded vehicles on Saturdays by appointment upon reasonable notice, and shall keep on file with the Town a telephone number which persons seeking to claim stored or impounded vehicles on Saturdays may use to make such appointments.
[Amended 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
Insurance coverage. The following insurance policies or certificates of insurance:
A general liability policy covering the operation of the licensee's equipment and wreckers for any bodily injury or property damage. This policy shall be in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 per person and $3,000,000 per accident, and shall contain an endorsement naming the Town of Cornwall as a coinsured in regard to services provided in response to towing list calls. A copy of the said endorsement naming the Town as a coinsured shall be submitted by the applicant prior to the issuance of license.
A general liability policy covering damage to vehicles stored or impounded at the licensee's impound/storage facility by fire, theft, and explosion in the minimum amount of $50,000, with each accident deemed a separate claim, and containing an endorsement naming the Town of Cornwall as a coinsured in regard to services provided in response to towing list calls. A copy of the said endorsement naming the Town as a coinsured shall be submitted by the applicant prior to the issuance of a permit.
Each insurance policy herein must contain an endorsement providing 30 days' notice to the Town in the event of any material change therein or intention to cancel said policy for any cause.
Danger to public health and safety. A statement as to whether the applicant, the applicant's owners or any persons with a financial interest in the applicant have ever been convicted of a felony and, if so, a brief statement as to the nature of the crime.
Consent to payment from owner. A statement that in regard to services provided in response to towing list calls, the licensee agrees that it shall look solely and exclusively to the owner and/or operator of the motor vehicle for payment of towing or storage of motor vehicles, and that neither the Town nor its officers or employees is responsible for the payment of such fees or for the collection thereof.
Consent to form of payment. A statement that the applicant agrees to accept at least two major credit cards in payment for its services or will accept personal checks.
Acknowledgment of duty to remove vehicle debris. A statement that the applicant acknowledges that a tow operator called to the scene of an accident must, at the scene, sweep away or clean-up any nonhazardous debris, provided that he is furnished with police protection against moving vehicles at the scene in accordance with the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
Response to service calls. Participants in the Town's rotational towing list program shall furnish a telephone number for contacting them 24 hours a day. The telephone number provided shall not be a pager system, and must provide a direct connection to a person. If a towing list participant whose day to be called has arrived on the rotational towing list does not answer the telephone on a call for service from or made on behalf of the Town of Cornwall Police Department, or fails to respond to such a call in a timely manner, regardless of the hour of the day or weather conditions, that applicant shall automatically be suspended from the towing list for 30 days.
[Added 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
Refusal to tow a vehicle. If a participant in the Town's rotational towing list program responds to a service call, such participant must tow away or otherwise remove the subject motor vehicle or motor vehicles if it has the capability of doing so. Willful failure to tow away or otherwise remove the subject motor vehicle or motor vehicles after arriving at an incident scene shall automatically result in suspension from the towing list for 30 days.
[Added 1-14-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013]
The Town Board may, in its discretion, hold a public hearing on any application for a towing license.
The Town Board shall issue a towing license under this chapter upon a finding that the applicant has submitted a complete and properly executed application under § 137-4 of this chapter and has paid the requisite application fee.
The Town Board shall grant a request to participate in the Town's towing list if it finds that the applicant has satisfied the additional requirements set forth under § 137-5 of this chapter.
Upon grant of an application for a towing license and/or an application to participate in the Town's towing list, the Town Board shall promptly inform the applicant and the Chief of Police of the Town of Cornwall of its determination and shall forward the Chief of Police with a copy of the application and its resolution thereon.
If the Town Board denies an application for a towing license and/or an application to participate in the Town's towing list, the Town Board shall promptly furnish the applicant with a copy of its resolution by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall file a copy of its resolution in the office of the Town Clerk.
Upon the approval of a license by the Town Board, the Town shall issue a license to the applicant in such form as shall be approved by the Town Board by resolution. A copy of the license must be kept in all wreckers while conducting operations under the license.
Licenses issued under this chapter are not transferable, assignable or delegable.
On both sides of every wrecker, the license holder shall display by painting, magnetic sign, or other similar means, the name, address, and phone number of the licensee by letters and numbers of not less than three inches in height and of contrasting color to the wrecker.
Every licensee shall have a continuing duty to promptly file with the Town Board and Chief of Police statements advising of any changes in the information provided in its application for a license, including, without limitation, changes in the required information regarding the applicant, storage/impound facilities and wreckers.
All licenses issued under this chapter as well as grants of applications to participate in the Town's towing list shall remain in force for a period of one year from the date of grant by the Town Board and shall thereupon expire unless renewed.
On or before the date of expiration, an applicant may apply to renew for a period of one year a license issued under this chapter and, if applicable, grant of its application to participate in the Town's towing list. To renew, an applicant must submit to the Town Board a sworn and subscribed statement certifying that the information set forth in the application on file with the Town Board remains correct and accurate, together with proof that all required insurance and registrations remain in effect.
Upon receipt of the request for renewal, along with payment of all required fees, the Town Board shall grant a renewed towing license and, if applicable, request to remain on the Town's towing list. The Town Board shall promptly inform the applicant and the Chief of Police of the Town of Cornwall of its determination to renew the applicant's license and shall forward the Chief of Police with a copy of the application and its resolution thereon.
[Amended 6-13-2011 by L.L. No. 2-2011]
The amount of the fees to be charged for processing applications for towing licenses and for renewal thereon under this chapter shall be established by resolution of the Town Board, and such fees may from time to time be amended by resolution of the Town Board.
The maximum rates that may be charged by tow operators participating in the Town's towing list for impound or snow impound services rendered upon a request for such service from the Town Police Department under this chapter shall be established by resolution of the Town Board, and such fees may from time to time be amended by resolution of the Town Board.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit towing or repair work at the scene of any automobile accident within the Town of Cornwall. The stopping of any wrecker within 500 feet of the scene of any accident on any public street or highway in the Town, and the approach of any tow operator, its employees or agents, towards the scene of any accident without the prior authorization of the operator or owner of a vehicle involved in the accident, or a member of the Town police force, or a member of the New York State Police shall be presumptive evidence of the intent to solicit towing or repair work at the scene of an automobile accident.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of an offense and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days, or by such fine and imprisonment. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day there is a violation thereof shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
Any tow operator convicted of solicitation or unauthorized towing shall automatically be suspended from the towing list for a period of one year.
Nothing in this chapter shall be constructed as prohibiting any person whose place of business is located outside of the Town of Cornwall from applying for the license required by this chapter and obtaining the said license on the same terms as a person whose place of business is located within the Town of Cornwall.
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this chapter shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the clause, paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered.