City of Somers Point, NJ
Atlantic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Somers Point 5-11-1989 as Ord. No. 6-1989. Section 240-9 added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Mercantile licenses — See Ch. 174.
Taxicabs — See Ch. 231.
Abandoned or junked vehicles — See Ch. 247.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 250.
Recreational vehicles — See Ch. 254.

§ 240-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "1989 Towing Ordinance of the City of Somers Point."

§ 240-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED
Automobiles, trucks or any motor vehicle that is left unattended for a period of time which, under the circumstances, indicates that the owner has no intention of reclaiming or moving the automobile, truck or motor vehicle. This term also applies to automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles that are in violation of any other ordinance of the City of Somers Point or any statutes of the State of New Jersey.
CITY
The City of Somers Point.
COMPOUND
An enclosed area suitable for the parking and storage of automobiles, trucks or other motor vehicles.
DOLLY-WHEEL
A portable device with wheels that is used in combination with a tow truck to transport automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles.
ILLEGALLY PARKED
Any automobile, motor vehicle, truck or bus that is parked in a fashion or in a place that is in violation of any parking ordinances of the City of Somers Point,[1] County of Atlantic or State of New Jersey.
LICENSED TOWING OPERATOR
A towing operator that has complied with all provisions of this chapter and whose name appears on the list of licensed towing operators maintained by the Clerk of the City of Somers Point.
MOTOR VEHICLE
All vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, except such vehicles as those that run exclusively on tracks. This term shall also include motorcycles and mopeds.
OMNIBUS
All motor vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for hire, including those used for the transportation of school children.
OPERATOR
Any person who is in actual physical control of an automobile, truck or motor vehicle.
PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE
Any automobile used and designed for the transportation of passengers.
PRIVATE PROPERTY
Real property owned by any person, partnership, firm or corporation and not owned by the City of Somers Point or any other governmental body.
RESPONSE FEE
The monetary charge for the presence of a tow truck and operator where no towing service or road service is conducted or supplied.
ROAD SERVICE
Providing routine minor maintenance items, refueling or supplying equipment to automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles that are disabled or otherwise inoperable, including calls to assist persons locked out of their motor vehicles.
TOWING OPERATOR
A person, firm, corporation or other business entity engaged in the business of transporting disabled, wrecked or otherwise immobile motor vehicles, automobiles or trucks by means of tow trucks or other means.
TOWING SERVICE and/or TOWING
The providing of transportation of automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles that as a result of accident, collision, breakdown, abandonment or otherwise are unable to be moved under their own power. A "towing service" also includes the transportation of illegally parked, police-impounded or abandoned automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles.
TOWING SLIP
A written document, on a form to be prescribed by the Clerk of Somers Point, which shall contain a description of the motor vehicle towed as well as the location from which it was towed. It shall also provide the location where said vehicle is stored and the name of the tow truck operator who towed the vehicle.
TOW TRUCK
A motor vehicle specifically designed, constructed, used or maintained for the safe transportation of automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles.
TRUCK
Every motor vehicle designed, used or maintained primarily for the transportation of property. This includes delivery vans and pickup trucks.
VEHICLE
Every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, except devices powered by human power or operated on stationary tracks.
WINCHING SERVICE
Providing the use of the mechanical cable devices attached to a tow truck to move or transport any vehicle where the actual towing of the vehicle does not take place.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 250, Vehicles and Traffic.

§ 240-3 Services provided by operators.

Towing operators licensed pursuant to this chapter agree to provide the following towing services to the City of Somers Point in the following manner:
A. 
The towing of illegally parked or police-impounded passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles.
B. 
The towing of abandoned passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles.
C. 
The towing of passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles from accident scenes, including cleaning and removal of debris from the scene of the accident as well as any necessary waiting time.
D. 
The towing of all city police vehicles within the limits of Atlantic County, as well as the city limits of the City of Somers Point.
E. 
The towing of all police vehicles owned by the City of Somers Point outside the Atlantic County limits.
F. 
Providing winching services and dolly-wheel services at scenes of accidents and/or other places where passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles become disabled on the roadway or off.
G. 
Providing a flatbed truck for vehicles that cannot be towed in an ordinary fashion.
H. 
The towing and impounding for police investigation purposes of any passenger automobile, truck or motor vehicle at the direction of the Chief of Police.
I. 
Storage of any abandoned, wrecked or disabled passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles that might be towed by the towing operator pursuant to this chapter.
J. 
Providing road service to disabled vehicles within the city limits of the City of Somers Point.

§ 240-4 Duties of operator.

A. 
A licensed towing operator shall provide a compound, which must be located within the City of Somers Point and shall at all times be in compliance with all New Jersey statutes and regulations, as well as all ordinances promulgated by the City of Somers Point.
(1) 
Said compound shall be enclosed by a six-foot-high fence and be of sufficient size to accommodate at least 40 passenger automobiles at one time. At no time will any motor vehicles towed by the licensed towing operator be stored at any other location.
(2) 
The compound shall be staffed by the licensed towing operator during normal business hours.
B. 
The licensed towing operator shall make available for service to the City of Somers Point at least two tow trucks having two-way communication equipment on a twenty-four-hour call.
C. 
The licensed towing operator shall provide tow trucks capable of handling the transporting of heavy passenger automobiles and equipped to provide appropriate towing service and road service.
D. 
Licensed towing operators shall equip their tow trucks to provide the following:
(1) 
Mechanic's tools to perform complete emergency work.
(2) 
Towing and safety equipment.
(3) 
Warning devices, such as lights, flares and flags, to warn other motor vehicle operators of the presence of a disabled or parked vehicle.
E. 
The tow trucks provided by the licensed towing operator shall be of such type and design to properly and safely perform all towing services and road services as set forth in § 240-3 of this chapter. They shall comply at all times with the statutes and regulations of the State of New Jersey and be subject to the inspection by the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point.
F. 
Operators of tow trucks shall be courteous and competent mechanics and present a clean and neat appearance. They shall abide by and respect all traffic laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey and the City of Somers Point. They shall at all times possess valid New Jersey drivers' licenses. Said drivers' licenses shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point. No operator shall have been convicted of any crime.
G. 
The licensed towing operator agrees that no rates or fees for towing service, road service or any other service shall be charged in excess of the maximum rates and fees set forth hereinafter in this chapter or by resolution by the City Council of the City of Somers Point. Nothing in this chapter shall limit the fees charged to persons to whom services are supplied outside the scope of § 240-3 of this chapter by any towing operator.
H. 
The tow trucks provided by the licensed towing operators shall be strategically located within an area to be prescribed by the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point.
I. 
The licensed towing operators shall see to it that said tow trucks shall be operated in such a fashion as will produce adequate service to the public as determined from time to time by the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point. During adverse weather and heavy traffic conditions, the licensed towing operator shall arrange to make available additional tow trucks to standby as necessary to serve the City of Somers Point. It is the stated purpose of this chapter to provide towing service and road service to the City of Somers Point which will result in emergency towing and/or road service within a maximum of 20 minutes from the time that the licensed towing operator is notified by the City of Somers Point Police Department.
J. 
Whenever a licensed towing operator tows or otherwise transports any motor vehicle pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, he shall immediately complete a tow slip and file the same with the office of the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point.
K. 
The licensed towing operator shall issue written receipts for all fees collected for any storage charges or services rendered by the licensed towing operator.
L. 
The fees and charges established pursuant to § 240-8 of this chapter shall be conspicuously posted at the compound or any other business location of the licensed towing operator.
M. 
Whenever a licensed towing operator conducts a tow of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or operator at the request of a private person, said licensed towing operator shall file a towing slip with the office of the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point.

§ 240-5 Responsibilities of operator.

A. 
The licensed towing operator agrees that all personnel and equipment used under the terms of this chapter shall be and remain employees and property of the registered towing operator.
B. 
The licensed towing operator shall at all times maintain direct supervision, management and control over its personnel and equipment, and in no event shall such equipment and/or personnel be represented by said licensed towing operator as belonging to or employed by the City of Somers Point.
C. 
The licensed towing operator shall agree that it is operating under this chapter as an independent contractor and in no manner or sense as an agent or employee of the City of Somers Point.
D. 
The licensed towing operator shall at no time sublet or assign his license, or any part thereof, for any purpose whatsoever.
E. 
The licensed towing operator shall agree to indemnify and reimburse the City of Somers Point for any damage caused to city-owned property arising out of the negligence of the licensed towing operator.
F. 
The licensed towing operator shall agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the City of Somers Point from any and all claims or lawsuits against the city arising out of the negligence of the licensed towing operator.
G. 
Insurance.
(1) 
The licensed towing operator shall submit proof, in the form of a certificate of insurance filed with the Clerk of the City of Somers Point, that its trucks are insured by an insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey with a standard general liability insurance policy with the following monetary limits for any one occurrence:
(a) 
Two hundred fifty thousand dollars for any one injured person.
(b) 
A total of $500,000 for any one occurence.
(c) 
One hundred thousand dollars for property damage.
(2) 
The above-referenced coverage shall not only be with respect to the tow trucks or other motor vehicles owned, operated or provided by the licensed towing operator but shall also provide insurance coverage with respect to the compound referred to in § 240-4.
(3) 
The aforesaid insurance policy shall also be so written as to include coverage to the licensed towing operator with respect to the property of others which is in the care, custody or control of the licensed towing operator. Such insurance policy shall also provide coverage to the licensed towing operator for any losses due to fire, theft or vandalism of any passenger automobile, truck or motor vehicle of other persons in its possession.
(4) 
The aforesaid insurance policy shall be so endorsed to include the City of Somers Point as a named insured and shall provide a standard severability-of-interest clause. The insurance policy shall also provide that the City of Somers Point will be defended and indemnified by said insurance company.
(5) 
Such certificate of insurance shall provide that the insurance policy will not be canceled or materially changed without 10 days' prior written notice addressed to the Clerk of the City of Somers Point.
H. 
At all times, the aforesaid compound shall be maintained by the licensed towing operator in a clean and orderly fashion. Reasonable measures shall be taken by the licensed towing operator at all times to prevent vandalism, theft or damage to any passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles stored at said compound.
I. 
If said compound is to be located within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any interstate highway or primary highway, it shall at all times comply with N.J.S.A. 27:5E-1 et seq. (the Junkyard Control Act) and any New Jersey Administrative Code regulations enacted pursuant to said New Jersey statute.
J. 
The licensed towing operator shall maintain his business operation at the same location as the compound.
K. 
The licensed towing operator shall provide transportation from City Hall in the City of Somers Point to the compound for the owners of any passenger automobile, truck or motor vehicle towed by the licensed towing operator at no cost or expense to the city or the owner of the vehicle.
L. 
The licensed towing operator shall, on the first day of each month, provide, in writing, to the City of Somers Point that month's list of all passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles in the possession of the licensed towing operator over 20 days. Said list shall state the make and model of the passenger automobile, truck and motor vehicle, the year of the same, the registration number of the motor vehicle, the vehicle identification number and a detailed list of all charges and expenses relating to said passenger automobile, truck and motor vehicle and the date the vehicle was towed. In the event that the licensed towing operator does not provide or supply such information in a timely fashion, the licensed towing operator shall indemnify and hold the City of Somers Point harmless for any claims arising from the registered towing operator's failure to do so.
M. 
In the event that passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles that are stored or towed by the licensed towing operator are abandoned or unclaimed by the owners thereof, the licensed towing operator agrees to make no claim whatsoever against the City of Somers Point, its agents, representatives and/or employees for:
(1) 
Towing fees or charges;
(2) 
Storage fees or charges;
(3) 
Road service fees or charges; or
(4) 
Any other fees or charges whatsoever.

§ 240-6 Licensing of operators.

A. 
All towing operators, in order to provide towing services to the City of Somers Point, shall be licensed with the Clerk of the City of Somers Point.
B. 
The Clerk of the City of Somers Point shall take an application for the licensing of a towing operator from any towing operator who asserts that he can comply with the terms of this chapter.
C. 
Each licensed towing operator will be charged an annual fee of $100. Said fee shall be paid upon the submission of the signed application to the Clerk of the City of Somers Point.
D. 
The application form shall be prescribed by the Clerk of the City of Somers Point. It shall include the name, business address and telephone number of the towing operator, the location of the compound, the name of its insurance company, the insurance policy number and any other information the Clerk deems relevant and appropriate.
E. 
The towing operator must date and sign the application and certify that he has read this chapter and agrees to abide by all of the terms and specifications of the same.
F. 
Upon completion of the application form, the Clerk of the City of Somers Point shall furnish the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point with a copy of said application.
G. 
The Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point, upon receipt of said application by the towing operator, shall conduct an investigation of the towing operator and its operation.
H. 
Said investigation by the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point shall consist of an inspection of the proposed compound and an inspection of the tow trucks, and the Chief of Police shall make other relevant inquiries as he deems appropriate to determine if the towing operator meets with the requirements of this chapter. The Chief of Police has 14 days to complete said investigation after receipt of said application by the Clerk of the City of Somers Point.
I. 
If the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point, after due investigation, deems the towing operator in compliance with all of the provisions of this chapter, the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point shall report to the Clerk, in writing, whether or not the towing operator meets the requirements of this chapter. If the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point takes no action within 14 days of the receipt of the application by the Clerk of the City of Somers Point, the Clerk shall consider that the towing operator meets with the requirements of this chapter and add the name of that towing operator to the list of licensed towing operators.
J. 
If the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point advises the Clerk of the City of Somers Point of the approval of a towing operator, said towing operator shall be added to the list of licensed towing operators of the City of Somers Point.
K. 
If the Chief of Police deems the towing operator not in compliance with any provision of this chapter, he shall report, in writing, to the Clerk of the City of Somers Point his findings with reasons for his rejection of the application of the towing operator. The Chief of Police shall supply a copy of his report to the applying towing operator.
L. 
Any towing operator who is aggrieved by the actions of the Chief of Police rejecting his application shall, upon notice to the Clerk, be entitled to a hearing by the full Council of the City of Somers Point.

§ 240-7 Rotation.

A. 
The City Clerk shall maintain a list of all licensed towing operators approved by the Chief of Police.
B. 
In the event that more than one towing operator shall become a licensed towing operator, the towing services needed by the City of Somers Point shall be rotated among licensed towing operators for time periods to be prescribed by the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point on an equal basis.
C. 
The licensed towing operator for any one time period will be selected pursuant to the list maintained by the City Clerk.
D. 
If the Chief of Police determines at any time that the licensed towing operator or any licensed towing operator is unable to fulfill the requirements of § 240-4J, or in times of emergency, the Chief of Police may call upon other towing operators to provide services to the City of Somers Point. Any towing operator called shall comply with § 240-4F, G and H of this chapter.
E. 
The Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point shall be responsible for enforcing provisions of § § 240-3, 240-4, 240-5 and 240-8 of this chapter.
F. 
If the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point finds, at any time, that a licensed towing operator is not in compliance with any provisions of § 240-3, 240-4, 240-5 or 240-8 of this chapter, he shall advise the Clerk of such violation, and the Clerk shall suspend the offending licensed towing operator's license and remove his name from the list of licensed towing operators.
G. 
No further towing services, as described in § 240-4, may be performed by the towing operator until he complies with all the provisions of this chapter.
H. 
Any towing operator who is aggrieved by the actions of the Chief of Police of the City of Somers Point in striking its name from the list of towing operators shall, upon notice to the Clerk, be entitled to a hearing by the full Council of the City of Somers Point.

§ 240-8 Fees and rates.

From time to time, the Council of the City of Somers Point shall, by resolution, enact standardized fees and rates for the following work to be performed by the licensed towing operator:
A. 
Towing of illegally parked or police-impounded passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles [to include storage for the first 24 hours].
B. 
Towing of abandoned passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles [to include storage for the first 24 hours].
C. 
Towing of passenger automobiles, not to exceed 9,000 pounds, from accident scenes [to include cleaning and removal of area debris, waiting time and storage for the first 24 hours].
D. 
Towing of trucks and motor vehicles, exceeding 9,000 pounds from accident scenes [to include cleaning and removal of area debris, waiting time and storage for the first 24 hours].
E. 
Charge for each additional twenty-four-hour storage.
F. 
No charge for towing of all City Police vehicles within the City of Somers Point and the County of Atlantic.
G. 
Towing of all city-owned police vehicles outside the limits of Atlantic County.
H. 
Providing winching service.
I. 
Additional charges for providing dolly wheels.
J. 
Additional charges for providing flatbedding of vehicles that cannot otherwise be towed in a normal fashion.
K. 
No charge for towing of any passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles or impounding of any such passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles for investigation purposes at the direction of the Chief of Police (to include storage).
L. 
Response fee (no tow).
M. 
Road service to disabled vehicles during normal business hours and for after hours.
N. 
For the towing or transport of mopeds.
O. 
For the towing or transport of motorcycles.
P. 
For road service of Somers Point police vehicles.

§ 240-9 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination of the foregoing.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.