Borough of Oceanport, NJ
Monmouth County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Oceanport 3-7-1996 by Ord. No. 675 (Ch. 60 of the 1970 Code), as amended through 2-4-1999 by Ord. No. 709[1] Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 64.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided for changing the title of the chapter from "Towing" to "Towing and Storage." It also added § 361-20.

§ 361-1 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth herein:
GARAGE
Any building or property, other than a private garage, available to the public, operated as a business and which is used for the storage, repair, rental, lubrication, washing, servicing, adjusting or equipping of automobiles or other motor vehicles and, if located within the Borough of Oceanport, which complies with the provisions of Chapter 390, Zoning.
TOWING APPARATUS
A motor vehicle, including but not limited to a wrecker, tow truck or flatbed truck, employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and removing any vehicle without causing damage to the vehicle being towed or transported.
VEHICLES
Includes but is not limited to automobiles, trucks, tractors, trailers, motorcycles, minibikes, mopeds, go-carts, trail bikes, buses, ski mobiles, farm equipment or any other mechanically powered conveyance which shall become disabled or required to be towed from the scene of an accident or in order to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare.

§ 361-2 License required; transferability.

A. 
No person, firm or corporation shall participate in the police towing of vehicles within the Borough without first having obtained a towing license as hereinafter provided.
B. 
A license issued under this chapter shall not be transferable.

§ 361-3 Application; fee.

Applications for licenses issued under this regulation shall be made upon forms made available by the Chief of Police. An application fee of $16 to cover administrative expenses must be paid in full at the time of the submission of the completed application. The application shall include the following information:
A. 
The description, by make, model, license number, year, vehicle identification number and color, of all towing apparatus for which licenses are requested, together with the principal location at which the towing apparatus will be maintained.
B. 
The block and lot number and mailing address of the garage at which the applicant has space available for properly accommodating and providing for the security of all towed motor vehicles. The storage facility must be able to accommodate at least 10 motor vehicles. The location of the storage facility and the location where their wreckers are principally housed may not be more than three driven statute miles over roadways leading to and from the boundaries of the Borough of Oceanport. In order to ensure the prompt clearing of Oceanport roadways and further ensure the safety of drivers and stranded motorists, priority will be given applicants who meet the above-referenced criteria and are closest in statute miles over roadways leading to and from the boundaries of the Borough of Oceanport.
[Amended 12-23-2009 by Ord. No. 876; 3-6-2014 by Ord. No. 928]
C. 
A letter from the Zoning Officer of the municipality in which the premises is located verifying that the storage of motor vehicles is a permitted use upon the premises where the garage is located. At no time shall there be more vehicles stored upon the premises where the garage is located than that permitted by Chapter 390, Zoning, or the municipality where vehicles are stored.
D. 
The certificates of required insurance.
E. 
A fully executed employment nondiscrimination statement.
F. 
Certification that the applicant is in full compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning wages, hours and terms of employment.
G. 
A copy of a mercantile license issued to the business if the municipality wherein the business is located requires such license.

§ 361-4 Filing date; issuance of license.

[Amended 12-23-2009 by Ord. No. 876; 3-6-2014 by Ord. No. 928]
Upon this chapter becoming effective, applications shall be received by the Chief of Police during the thirty-day period immediately following and shall be acted upon in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The Chief of Police shall recommend to the Mayor and Council the issuance of towing licenses for their consent and approval. All licenses issued under this chapter shall expire on the last day of December next succeeding the date of issuance. Prior to renewal of any license issued hereunder, the Chief of Police shall conduct a review of all license holders to assess their compliance with the terms and provisions of the within ordinance and, if applicable, Chapter 390, Zoning.

§ 361-5 Investigation; decision on application.

Within 30 days after the receipt of an application, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made of the applicant and his or her proposed business operation and shall make or have made an inspection of the towing apparatus proposed to be used in connection therewith. All applicants and/or operators shall be fingerprinted, and a license shall not be issued to a person convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. The Chief of Police may delegate the inspection of the towing apparatus to a person or persons who shall make such an inspection and who shall report to the Chief of Police whether the towing apparatus is in a condition that will not interfere with the public health, safety and welfare and complies with the requirements and standards of this chapter. Upon completion of the investigation and inspection, the Chief of Police shall either refuse to approve the application or shall approve the application in accordance with the standards herein provided and shall inform the applicant of his decision.

§ 361-6 Conditions of issuance of license.

The Chief of Police shall approve an application when he finds that the following requirements have been met by the applicant:
A. 
The insurance policies as required have been procured and supplied.
B. 
The applicant has at least one wrecker/tow truck in use and operation in order to assure the efficient and diligent dispatch of towing apparatus upon the request of the Police Department.
C. 
The requirements of this chapter and all other applicable laws, statutes and ordinances have been complied with.
D. 
All towing apparatus proposed to be used have been properly licensed and conform to the State Motor Vehicle Laws.
E. 
The towing apparatus to be approved meet the required minimum standards as set forth herein.
F. 
The towing contractor must be able to respond to all calls for service by the Oceanport Police Department within a reasonable amount of time, preferably 10 minutes but not more than 30 minutes. Although it is stated in other sections of this chapter, failure to meet this time requirement will initially result in the Police Department calling the next wrecker in the rotation; however, any two failures to comply with the required response time could result in the offending wrecker service being dropped from the list and revocation of its license.
[Amended 3-6-2014 by Ord. No. 928]
G. 
Payment of a $50 licensing fee.
H. 
There shall be no charge for any towing of any municipally owned vehicle to a location within five driven miles of the boundaries of the Borough of Oceanport.
[Added 3-6-2014 by Ord. No. 928]

§ 361-7 Minimum standards for towing apparatus.

The following shall serve as a minimum standard for towing apparatus. A wrecker or tow truck or flatbed truck shall be capable of handling, removing and towing any vehicle as defined in § 361-1 of this chapter and must have or be equipped with the following:
A. 
All wreckers and towers and flatbed trucks shall have a minimum weight of one ton, according to the manufacturer's specifications.
B. 
A power takeoff or an adequate electric-operated winch with a minimum cable thickness of three-eighths-inch steel.
C. 
A three-eighths-inch safety chain. The lift chair and the safety chain are not to be attached in any form or manner to the same part of the tow truck or wrecker or a flatbed truck.
D. 
Front and rear flashing hazard lights.
E. 
A 360° rotating amber beacon light mounted above the cab or an approved light bar. Proper permits are required for the amber light and proof for such permit shall be provided with application for the towing license.
F. 
All lights shall be of such candlepower and intensity so as to be visible 1/4 of a mile away.
G. 
The company name, address and phone number permanently affixed on both sides of the wrecker or tow truck or flatbed truck. The letters and numbers shall be a minimum of three inches in height.
H. 
A proper motor vehicle car dolly for each wrecker.
I. 
Approved towing slings.
J. 
Clean-up equipment. All tow vehicles are responsible for the prompt and safe removal of the disabled vehicle(s) and for the prompt and complete removal of all litter, debris and spillage resulting from the accident and must carry a broom, rake, trash can and bags, shovel and speedy dry-type material to absorb, remove and properly dispose of any litter, debris and or spillage resulting from the accident, with the exception of hazardous materials, as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8.
K. 
Commercial motor vehicle plates.
L. 
One twenty-pound dry chemical fire extinguisher.

§ 361-8 Insurance policies and indemnification agreement.

A. 
Each licensee shall obtain and provide proof of coverage for the following policies of insurance naming the Borough, where applicable, as an additional named insured prior to the issuance of the towing license:
(1) 
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $500,000 combined single limit.
(2) 
Garage keeper's policy covering fire, theft and explosion in the minimum amount of $500,000 as well as collision coverage for vehicles in tow.
(3) 
Garage liability in an amount not less than $500,000 combined single limit.
(4) 
Miscellaneous coverage to provide complete protection to the Borough against any and all risks of loss or liability, including comprehensive general liability.
B. 
Each insurance policy required herein must contain an endorsement providing 10 days notice to the Borough in the event of cancellation, revision or modification. The aforesaid insurance policies must be in full force and effect for the entire time period the towing license is issued, and these insurance policies must be written by insurance companies authorized to conduct business in New Jersey and have a satisfactory rating from the Commissioner of Insurance.
C. 
Prior to the issuance of a towing license, the licensee must duly execute an indemnification agreement in which the licensee agrees to indemnify and hold the Borough harmless from any and all loss or damages, including but not limited to attorney's fees and costs of suit, arising from the conduct of the licensee in the course of towing or attempting to tow any vehicles pursuant to the terms of the license granted.

§ 361-9 Inspection; enforcement.

The Chief of Police or his designee is hereby authorized to establish reasonable rules and regulations for the inspection and operation of towing apparatus and for the design, construction, maintenance and conditions for the safe conduct of a towing service business, in accordance with the standards provided in this chapter. All vehicles shall be maintained in good working order and meet minimum safety standards. If at any time the Chief of Police shall find the equipment inadequate or unsafe or not complying with the Motor Vehicle Laws of the State of New Jersey or in the event that the towing business operator shall fail to comply with the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance of Oceanport[1] or the municipality in which it is situated, he shall have the power to demand immediate correction, and, if not corrected to comply with the provisions of this chapter, the Chief shall have the authority to revoke or suspend the license and schedule a hearing relative thereto. The Chief of Police is also hereby authorized and empowered to establish from time to time such additional rules and regulations, not inconsistent herewith, as may be reasonable and necessary in effectuating and carrying out the terms and provisions of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 390, Zoning.

§ 361-10 Appeal.

An appeal of the Police Chiefs ruling shall be filed with the Borough Clerk within 10 calendar days of the Chiefs decision. A hearing before the governing body shall be held within 30 calendar days of the filing, with a ruling forthcoming from the governing body within 20 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing.

§ 361-11 Rates.

Every licensed owner of towing apparatus shall give the owner of the vehicle a written receipt for the fee paid for the rendering of any towing service hereunder. Copies of receipts shall be maintained by the garage owner for three years and be made available for inspection by authorized Borough officials. This chapter requires that all towing contractors adhere to rules and rates and schedules established by the Department of Insurance, N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq., and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49 et seq. A copy of said laws will be provided to all approved contractors. Fees may be charged that are less than the rates specified in N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq. and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49 et seq. This chapter also seeks to assure the timely dispatch of adequate towing equipment to scenes of accidents and in other circumstances requiring the removal of vehicles in order to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare. The Borough shall not be liable for any of the services performed by the tower unless those services are performed for municipal vehicles. The tower shall proceed directly against the owner of the motor vehicle for the recovery of any fees or charges.

§ 361-12 Conduct of owners and operators.

A tow license hereunder shall be issued subject to the following conditions:
A. 
No person owning or operating a towing apparatus licensed under this regulation shall permit or invite loitering within or near the towing apparatus when in use.
B. 
No person shall solicit, demand or receive from any person any commission or fee except the fee for transporting the vehicle to be towed.
C. 
No person shall pay any gratuity, tip or emolument to any third person not involved in the towing or removal of any vehicle or to any police officer for any information as to the location of any accident or for soliciting the employment of the operator's services.
D. 
The holder of a towing license shall not release to anyone any motor vehicles towed by said license holder without first obtaining a towed vehicle release form issued by the Oceanport Police Department or a verbal release authorization if that is all that is required by the Police Department.
E. 
The holder of a towing license shall forthwith and without delay release to the owner thereof any motor vehicle which has been towed or stored by said license holder upon payment of the towing and/or storage fee and obtaining of a receipt for said vehicle from the owner thereof, during reasonable hours of business.

§ 361-13 Records required to be kept.

A. 
Vehicles towed by the Police Department. All companies on the towing list shall maintain a record regarding all vehicles towed at the request of the Police Department. This record shall be made available to any police officer for inspection upon request and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The date, time, location and name of the towing apparatus and the name of the driver who towed at the Department's request.
(2) 
The physical location of the vehicle after being towed.
(3) 
Identification of the towed vehicle, to include make, year, model, color, vehicle identification number, license number and the name of the registered owner or operator, if known.
(4) 
Fee charged for such towing service and the manner in which said fee was calculated.
B. 
A list of all vehicles presently stored shall be submitted to the Oceanport Police Department, including the following:
(1) 
The make, model and color.
(2) 
The registration number and state of registration.
(3) 
The vehicle identification number.
(4) 
The officer's name requesting the tow or impound.

§ 361-14 Notice to vehicle owners.

All tow wrecker operators shall be required to contact the registered owner of the towed vehicle in order to promptly facilitate the removal of said vehicle from the storage facility. Failure to notify promptly will require the towing contractor to adjust his or her total storage charges as is reasonable for his or her failure to notify. The tow operator will be required to contact the registered owner via the postal service, by registered mail, after the vehicle has been at the storage facility for 20 days. If this mail notification has not been performed, storage charges arising after that period of time will not be charged. The towing contractor may continue charging storage fees providing that all conditions have been met. A copy of the receipt, along with the time and date of telephone conversations, will be maintained and be made available to the Police Department immediately upon request. Failure to submit the required information will result in the removal of the towing service from the tow list, and any request for storage fees will be subject to critical examination. The Oceanport police will, at the tow operator's request, supply related information as to the owner of the vehicle, the owner's last known address and any other data that may be of assistance.

§ 361-15 Rotating call list; heavy-duty vehicles.

A. 
The Police Department shall establish and publish a call list for all eligible licensees for the purpose of towing services within the Borough. Each licensee deserving to be placed on the list shall agree to the terms and conditions as may be set and approved by the Chief of Police. The list shall be in alphabetical order and rotated so to be equal to all licensees. Any licensee shall be removed from the list upon:
(1) 
Written request from the licensee.
(2) 
Failure to comply with the terms and conditions as prescribed by the Chief of Police.
(3) 
Revocation of towing license.
B. 
Approved towing contractors will be placed on a daily rotating call basis. On their respective designated days, towing contractors will be expected to respond anywhere in the Borough of Oceanport. In the event that the holder of a towing license is unavailable or unable to perform all or part of his or her designated days, it shall be that towing contractor's obligation to provide the Police Department with the name of another licensed towing contractor who has agreed to provide service for all or part of that rotation. A towing contractor who fails to provide such coverage shall forfeit his next scheduled rotation. A second failure to provide coverage could result in that towing contractor's removal from the list and revocation of his or her license. The Police Department shall keep a list of all requests for towing apparatus, indicating therein the date, time and place to which called and whether the tower called was available and, if not available, the reason why and the name of the towing license holder next called. No tower shall respond to the scene of an accident except upon notification by the officer in charge at the scene of an accident or at police headquarters or upon the request of the driver or owner of the vehicle concerned. Towing apparatus must be dispatched upon receipt of notification from the Police Department and shall arrive at the scene within a reasonable period of time, preferably not more than 10 minutes after being so notified. If at anytime more than two wreckers are required in order that the performance of towing services may be efficiently rendered and the public's traffic safety assured, the Police Department is hereby authorized to call upon one or more approved holders of towing licenses to respond to the dispatch of the Police Department.
C. 
Additional rules and regulations regarding the rotation of wreckers as may be promulgated hereunder by the Chief of Police shall take effect immediately after mailing, by certified mail return receipt requested, a copy thereof to all license holders for towing apparatus in the Borough, which mailing may be made by addressing same to the license holders at their last known addresses.
D. 
The foregoing shall not limit in any way the authority herein conferred upon the Chief of Police to promulgate rules and regulations providing for the removal and storage of disabled heavy-duty motor vehicles such as tractor-trailers and construction equipment requiring specialized towing equipment.

§ 361-16 Clean up at scene of accident.

The driver of the towing apparatus shall be required to clean up broken glass and debris from the scene of any accident to which it is called before leaving the scene thereof. All towing apparatus shall be equipped with a broom, rake, shovel and special dry and waste containers.

§ 361-17 Application of regulations.

This chapter shall not apply where the towing apparatus is called to perform services by the owner of the disabled vehicle to be towed or serviced, nor shall any provision contained herein be interpreted or construed in any manner as to interfere with or obstruct a member of the Oceanport Police Department in the performance of his duties and the enforcement of the Motor Vehicle Traffic Laws of the State of New Jersey.

§ 361-18 Preservation and release of evidence.

A. 
The tower shall take all reasonable precautions to protect evidence when required to by the Oceanport Police Department. When required, all such vehicles shall be stored as requested and in a manner so as to protect the evidentiary nature of the vehicle. Such vehicles shall be stored and covered so as to prevent any unauthorized individuals from tampering with or removing any item(s) from the vehicle.
B. 
Release of any evidence, property or vehicle shall not occur unless written authorization has been obtained by the tower from the Oceanport Police Department authorizing said release.

§ 361-19 Conduct of employees; complaints.

A. 
The licensee shall be solely responsible for the conduct of his or her employees.
B. 
Any complaints received by the Borough of Oceanport regarding the licensee or his or her employees involving excessive charging, damage to vehicles, theft from vehicles, discrimination or failure to comply with local, state or federal laws regarding workers' employment regulations shall be addressed to the Chief of Police for review. After review, if the complaint(s) is substantiated, the license of said tower may be revoked or suspended.

§ 361-20 Storage on municipal property; fees.

In the event that it shall become necessary to store any privately owned motor vehicle, or any type of trailer or similar accessory equipment, upon municipal property, the owner or owners of such vehicle or equipment shall be charged a fee of $15 for each day of storage or part thereof. No such vehicle or equipment shall be released until the storage fee provided herein shall have been fully paid.

§ 361-21 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 9-18-2008 by Ord. No. 851]
Any persons violating the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in Chapter 1, § 1-15, General penalty, for each violation and/or removal from the approved towing list.

§ 361-22 Severability.

[Added 3-6-2014 by Ord. No. 928]
Each section, subsection, sentence, clause and phrase of this chapter is declared to be an independent section, subsection, sentence, clause and phrase, and the finding or holding of any such portion of this chapter to be unconstitutional, void or ineffective for any cause, or reason, shall not affect any other portion of this chapter.