Township of Burlington, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Burlington 12-23-1986; amended 9-26-1989; 6-9-1998 (Sec. 12:13 of the 1975 General Ordinances). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Abandoned personal property — See Ch. 413.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 15.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 563.

§ 551-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AUTOMOBILE
A private passenger automobile of a private passenger or station wagon type that is owned or hired and is neither used as a public or livery conveyance for passengers nor rented to others with a driver, and a motor vehicle with a pickup body or delivery sedan, a van or panel truck or a camper-type vehicle used for recreational purposes, owned by an individual or by a husband and wife who are residents of the same household, not customarily used in an occupation, profession or business of the insured other than farming or ranching.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
BASIC TOWING SERVICE
Towing as defined in this section and other ancillary services as may be specified by the Director by regulation.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
CONSUMER
A natural person.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
DIRECTOR
The Director of the Division of Consumers Affairs.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
DIVISION
The Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
INSIDE BUILDING
A vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles and that is secured by a locking device on each opening.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Includes all vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, excepting such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks and motorized bicycles, motorized scooters, motorized wheelchairs and motorized skateboards.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
NONCONSENSUAL TOWING
The towing of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
OUTSIDE SECURED
An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high and is installed with a passive alarm system or a similar on-site security measure. The facility is to be lighted by night.
OUTSIDE UNSECURED
An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is not secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier, and all other storage facilities not defined above as inside building or outside secured.
PERSON
An individual, a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or any other business entity.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNER
The owner or lessee of private property, or an agent of such owner or lessee, but shall not include a private property towing company acting as an agent of such owner or lessee.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
PRIVATE PROPERTY TOWING
The nonconsensual towing from private property or from a storage facility by a motor vehicle of a consumer’s motor vehicle that is parked illegally, parked during a time at which such parking is not permitted, or otherwise parked without authorization, or the immobilization of or preparation for moving or removing of such motor vehicle, for which a services charge is made, either directly or indirectly. This term shall not include the towing of a motor vehicle that has been abandoned on private property in violation of Section 1 of P.L. 1967, c. 305 (N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.5), provided that the abandoned vehicle is reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency prior to removal and the vehicle is removed in accordance with Section 1 of P.L. 1973, c. 137 (N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.6).
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
PRIVATE PROPERTY TOWING COMPANY
A person offering or performing private property towing services.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
STORAGE CHARGES PER TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR PERIOD
The maximum allowable amount to be charged by a storage facility for a twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof. A new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
STORAGE FACILITY
The location where a business under this chapter shall store any vehicle towed by such licensee.
TOWING
The moving or removing from public or private property or from a storage facility by a motor vehicle of a consumer’s motor vehicle that is damaged as a result of an accident or otherwise disabled, is recovered after being stolen, or is parked illegally or otherwise without authorization, parked during a time at which such parking is not permitted, or otherwise parked without authorization, or the immobilization of or preparation for moving or removing of such motor vehicle, for which a services charge is made, either directly or indirectly. Dues or other charges of clubs or associations which provide towing services to club or association members shall not be considered a service charge for purposes of definition.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
TOWING BUSINESS
A commercial enterprise engaged in the business of providing basic towing service.
TOW VEHICLE
Only those vehicles equipped with boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by its manufacturer for the removal or transport of private passenger automobiles.
TOW VEHICLE'S BASE OF SERVICE
The towing operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.

§ 551-2 License required.

No person or entity shall operate a towing business within the Township of Burlington without having obtained a license authorizing the operation of such business under the provisions of this chapter.

§ 551-3 Application requirements; fee.

An application for the issuance of a license under the provisions of this chapter shall be made on forms furnished by the Township Clerk and shall include the following information:
A. 
The name and address of the applicant. If the application is brought on behalf of a corporation, partnership or other entity, the application shall include the name and address of the officers, directors or other person or entity holding any ownership interest in such corporation, partnership or other entity. Where an entity holds ownership interest in any such corporation, partnership or other entity, the name and address of the officers, directors or other person holding an ownership interest in such entity shall be provided on such application.
B. 
The year, make, model and registration number of each tow vehicle, flatbed truck or other vehicle used or to be used by the applicant in connection with its towing business.
C. 
The address where any such tow truck, flatbed truck or other vehicle shall be garaged by the applicant.
D. 
The address and telephone number of each location from which the applicant's towing services shall be available for dispatch on a twenty-four-hours-a-day basis.
E. 
The full name, address and driver's license number of each individual who operates or shall operate any towing vehicle on behalf of the applicant.
F. 
The address and a description of the storage facility to be used by the applicant for the storage of towed vehicles.
G. 
A photocopy of a certificate on insurance evidencing that the applicant has obtained the insurance coverages required by this chapter and reflection that the Township has been named as an insured with respect to each of those coverages, with the exception of workmen's compensation insurance.
H. 
Each applicant shall be required to execute an indemnification agreement in a form satisfactory to the Township Council which shall fully indemnify the Township or any of its agents, servants or employees with respect to any of the applicant's activities licensed under this chapter.
I. 
An application fee made payable to the Township of Burlington in the amount of $100.

§ 551-4 Licensure requirements.

In order to obtain a license issued under this chapter each applicant shall be required to meet the following minimum requirements:
A. 
No officer, director, applicant or any individual holding any ownership interest in any applicant or other entity which holds an ownership interest in such applicant, or any individual who is to operate any towing vehicle of any applicant, shall have been convicted of any crime unless the Township Council shall have specifically waived this restriction upon a finding that a history of such criminal offense will not endanger the public health, safety or welfare.
B. 
Each applicant shall be required to provide for basic towing services and/or vehicle storage on a twenty-four-hour basis, seven days per week.
C. 
Each applicant shall have the capacity to provide for basic towing services within a time period which shall not exceed 20 minutes during normal, off-peak traffic conditions from the applicant's town vehicle base of service to the intersection of Route 541 and Sunset Road in the Township of Burlington.
D. 
Each applicant shall own or lease at least the following vehicles and/or equipment:
(1) 
At least one tow vehicle or at least one flatbed truck.
(2) 
At least one large broom and shovel for each towing vehicle.
(3) 
At least one set of dolly wheels for each tow vehicle.
(4) 
At least one steering wheel lock for towing vehicles from the rear for each tow vehicle.
(5) 
At least one tow-sling-type tow bar to prevent any part of the crane metal from touching any towed vehicle, for each tow vehicle.
(6) 
At least one set of emergency warning lights, adequate, in the discretion of the Public Safety Director/Chief Law Enforcement Officer (PSD/CLEO), and properly licensed, to adequately mark the scene of a motor vehicle accident.
(7) 
At least one set of portable safety lights to be installed on the rear of each towed vehicle.
(8) 
Safety flares for work following nightfall.
(9) 
The tow company is required to properly remove and dispose of fluids generated by a motor vehicle crash which by estimation amount to two gallons or less of combined fluids. An absorbent material commonly sold and used for such purposes must be on the tow truck and available to the tow truck operator at the time of response.
[Added 2-22-2011 by Ord. No. 11-OR-003]
E. 
Each applicant shall own or lease and have available to it vehicle storage facilities which shall meet the following minimum requirements:
(1) 
Capacity for the storage of at least six passenger motor vehicles at any one time.
(2) 
Such storage facility shall be located within the Township of Burlington or a municipality with a boundary contiguous with the boundary of the Township of Burlington.
(3) 
The storage area shall have a business office open to the public between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at least five days a week, excluding holidays, and is secured and, if it is an outdoor storage area, lighted from dusk to dawn. Such storage area shall be accessible Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, excluding holidays, for the storage and/or return of motor vehicles to their owners or, in the alternative, shall provide reasonable accommodations for after-hours release of stored motor vehicles.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
(4) 
Such storage area shall not be in violation of any zoning ordinance and shall meet any and all governmental requirements for use as a storage area under this chapter.
F. 
Each applicant shall obtain and maintain the following minimum insurance coverages:
(1) 
Automobile liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits.
(2) 
Workmen's compensation insurance as required by law.
(3) 
Garage keeper's liability insurance in an amount not less than $100,000 per location.
(4) 
Garage liability insurance in the minimum amount of $2,000,000 per occurrence. (It is understood that $1,000,000 of underlying insurance with an additional $1,000,000 of umbrella insurance will meet this requirement.)
(5) 
Each policy shall be endorsed to provide collision coverage for vehicles to be towed by the applicant.
(6) 
Each insurer shall be authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey and shall meet minimum rating requirements satisfactory to Township Council.
G. 
Only one licensee under this chapter shall be permitted to operate from any one tow vehicle base of service or storage facility.

§ 551-5 Application procedure.

A. 
Applications for a license under this chapter shall be submitted to the Township Clerk.
B. 
Once the Clerk has deemed an application complete, the same shall be forwarded to the PSD/CLEO who shall undertake a background investigation of each individual referred to in the application and shall further conduct a review of the application to determine compliance with the requirements of the chapter.
C. 
The PSD/CLEO shall thereafter report his findings to the Township Clerk. The Clerk shall thereafter submit a copy of the application together with a written recommendation of the PSD/CLEO to the Township Council.

§ 551-6 Issuance of license; term of license.

A. 
Upon receipt of an application from the Township Clerk, the Township Council shall undertake a review of the application and may issue a license once it has been determined that the application meets each of the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
A license issued under this chapter shall expire as of December 31 of the calendar year in which such license is issued.
C. 
Where the Township Council has made a determination that a license should not be issued, it shall notify the applicant in writing, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such determination and shall advise the applicant that the applicant may request a hearing as to such determination by filing a written request for such hearing with the Township Clerk not later than 10 days following the mailing of the notice by the Township Council of its determination to deny the application for license. Upon receipt of a request for a hearing, the Township Council shall schedule a hearing on at least 10 days' notice to the applicant by certified mail, return receipt requested, and provide the applicant with an opportunity to be heard concerning the action taken by the Township Council. Following such hearing, the Township Council may affirm, reverse or modify its determination.

§ 551-7 Record of license; rotating list.

A. 
The PSD/CLEO shall maintain a list of licensees under this chapter in such order as the PSD/CLEO shall deem appropriate so as to ensure that no licensee shall be excluded or in any way discriminated against. Such list shall contain the names, addresses and twenty-four-hour telephone numbers of each licensee.
B. 
The PSD/CLEO shall direct that members of his Department shall request towing services of licensees under this chapter in the sequence that they appear on such list. Such list shall rotate on at least a weekly basis.
C. 
In addition, the PSD/CLEO shall keep a record of requests made for the services of licensees under this chapter, as well as a record of the response time of each licensee, and shall record any and all complaints received from members of the public as to the quality of service or fees exacted by each licensee.

§ 551-8 Fees; towing service; basic towing service rate.

Includes automobiles, motorcycles, motor scooters and all vehicles previously defined as an "automobile."
A. 
Daytime, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.: $100. No mileage charge within the Township limits.
[Amended 4-25-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-011; 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
B. 
Nighttime (6:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m.), and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and state holidays: $125. No mileage charge within the Township limits.
[Amended 4-25-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-011; 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
C. 
Medium-duty tow service rate (12,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds GVW): $175 per hour (one- and-one-half-hour minimum).
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
D. 
Heavy-duty tow service rate (over 15,000 pounds GVW): $225 per hour (two-hour minimum).
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
E. 
Other tow service charges:
(1) 
Disconnect/connect air lines: $20.
[Amended 4-25-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-011]
(2) 
Disconnect drive shaft.
[Amended 4-25-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-011; 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
(a) 
Under 15,000 pounds: $35.
(b) 
Over 15,000 pounds: $40.
(3) 
Remove axles: $30.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
(4) 
For conveying vehicles from the tower's storage area to a service station, auto repair business or auto dealership within the Township of Burlington, an additional fee of $35.
(5) 
For conveying vehicles from any point in the Township to any point outside of the Township, a fee of $2 per mile shall be charged in addition to a fee of $35.
F. 
Daily storage charges: Storage fees shall commence after 48 hours of storage when vehicles are stored at the Burlington Township Police Facility.
[Amended 4-25-2006 by Ord. No. 06-OR-011; 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017; 10-8-2013 by Ord. No. 13-OR-031]
(1) 
Includes automobiles, motorcycles, motor scooters and all vehicles previously defined as an "automobile."
Inside
Outside
Outside Unsecured
Capacity
$30
$20
$15
21 or more spaces
$35
$25
$20
10 to 20 spaces
$40
$25
$20
10 or fewer spaces
(2) 
Storage rate, 12,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds GVW.
(a) 
Inside: $65.
(b) 
Outside: $45.
(3) 
Storage rate, 15,000 pounds and over GVW.
(a) 
Inside: $125.
(b) 
Outside: $50.
G. 
Use of absorbent materials: a fee of up to $50 per motor vehicle crash for providing materials, labor for cleanup, and lawful disposal waste of said absorbent materials.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection G, concerning an additional charge for release of vehicles at nighttime, was repealed 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017.
H. 
No license under this chapter shall charge a fee for basic towing services or storage in the Township of Burlington in excess of those fees provided for in this chapter.
I. 
In no event shall the fee for basic towing services exceed $100 for such services during the day, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. (0700 hours) and 6:00 p.m. (1800 hours), Monday through Friday, or $125 during the night, between the hours of 6:01 p.m. (1801 hours) and 6:59 a.m. (0659 hours), or on Saturdays, Sundays or on state holidays.
[Amended 9-23-2008 by Ord. No. 08-OR-025; 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
J. 
In addition, every operator of a towing service shall give the owner of each vehicle towed a written estimate of cost and a written receipt when paid.
K. 
Where the Township itself is responsible for the payment of any fee for the storage of any motor vehicle, such fee shall in no event exceed those fees provided for in this chapter.
L. 
In addition, and notwithstanding any provisions of this chapter, no licensee shall charge a fee for towing services or storage in excess of any limitation established by any other law or statute.
M. 
Recovery fee. A recovery fee would apply to any vehicle that has left the roadway and come to a final resting point in such a manner that would require the tow operator to engage in procedures outside the normal scope of a conventional tow situation. These situations would include, but not be limited to, a vehicle rollover, a vehicle wedged between trees, a vehicle in a ditch, etc. The recovery fee is $150, up to 15,000 pounds, that would be in addition to the basic tow fee set forth above. Reasonable fees may be imposed for vehicles over 15,000 pounds.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]

§ 551-9 Requirements; prohibitions.

Every licensee under this chapter shall be subject to the following additional requirements and/or prohibitions:
A. 
Each licensee shall provide prompt response to each call for towing service and, in the case of any motor vehicle accident, shall be responsible for removing any debris at the site resulting from such accident, except that a licensee shall not be required to remove any substance which has been classified as a hazardous or toxic waste by any law.
B. 
Each licensee shall provide the Police Department with the following information on vehicles which remain unclaimed for over 30 days:
(1) 
The year, make, model and vehicle identification of each vehicle.
(2) 
The registered owner's name and address.
(3) 
A copy of a certified letter forwarded by the licensee advising the registered owner of the vehicle's location.
(4) 
A photograph of each vehicle.
C. 
Each licensee shall maintain a record, in a bound volume, of all towing and wrecking calls made by the licensee, together with the name of the owner and operator of each vehicle which is the subject of such a call, the fee charged for the service, and the date and amount of payment.
D. 
Any employee or other agent operating a towing vehicle or other vehicle on behalf of the licensee shall possess a valid New Jersey driver's license which shall be in good standing.
E. 
Each licensee shall maintain the insurance coverages provided for in this chapter over the term of any license and shall, upon request by the PSD/CLEO, or his designee, present evidence of the existence of such insurance coverages.
F. 
Each licensee shall be obligated to advise the Township of any change in information provided on the application submitted for a license under this chapter. In addition, each licensee shall be continuously under an obligation to meet the minimum license requirements provided for in this chapter over the terms of the license.
G. 
No licensee or other individual or entity engaged in the towing business shall cruise with a towing vehicle for the purpose of soliciting towing business in the Township of Burlington.
H. 
The tow company must allow access to the tow storage area for both insurance companies and vehicle owners for the purpose of collecting personal property, vehicle inspections, and repair estimates. The tow company shall not charge a fee to allow this access on the first visit by the vehicle’s owner. Subsequent access to the tow yard by the vehicle’s owner will be charged at a rate of $25 per visit. The insurance company will be charged $40 per visit.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
I. 
Each licensee under this chapter shall be under a continuing obligation to comply with each and every requirement of this chapter and the requirements of any other applicable law, including, but not limited to, the New Jersey statute that is known as the Predatory Towing Prevention Act,[1] as may be amended from time to time.
[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 56:13-7 et seq.

§ 551-10 Refusal to issue, suspension of and revocation of licenses.

[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
A. 
Should the Township Council determine that any licensee shall, have violated any provision of this chapter, the Township Council shall, by certified mail, return receipt requested, advise the licensee of such determination.
B. 
Should the licensee desire a hearing on such determination, the license shall, within 10 days of the mailing of the notice of determination by the Township Council, advise the Township Council of the licensee's desire for such a hearing. Upon receipt of a request for a hearing, the Township Council shall, not less than 10 days prior to the date of such hearing, notify the licensee, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the date, time and place of such hearing. Following such hearing, or in the absence of an election to request such hearing by the licensee, the Township Council may revoke or suspend any license issued under this chapter upon determination that such licensee has violated any provision of this chapter.
C. 
Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the Director shall have the authority to refuse to issue, suspend or revoke any registration issued for a violation of the Predatory Towing Prevention Act[1] as provided for in said legislation.
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 56:13-7 et seq.

§ 551-11 Consent required for towing from privately owned property.

[Added 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017[1]]
A. 
No person shall tow any motor vehicle parked for an unauthorized purpose or during a time at which such parking is not permitted from any privately owned parking lot, from other private property or from any common driveway without the consent of the motor vehicle owners or operator, unless:
(1) 
The person shall have entered into a contract for private property towing with the owner of the property;
(2) 
There is posted in a conspicuous place at all vehicular entrances to the property which can easily be seen by the public a sign no smaller than 26 inches high and 36 inches wide stating:
(a) 
The purpose or purposes for which parking is authorized and the times during which such parking is permitted;
(b) 
That unauthorized parking and unauthorized motor vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense;
(c) 
The name, address, and telephone number of the towing company that will perform the towing;
(d) 
The charges for the towing and storage of towed motor vehicles;
(e) 
The street address of the storage facility where the towed vehicles can be redeemed after payment of the posted charges and the times during which the vehicle may be redeemed; and
(f) 
Such contact information for the Division of Consumer Affairs as may be required by regulation;
(3) 
The property owner has authorized the person to remove the particular motor vehicle; and
(4) 
The person tows the motor vehicle to a secure storage facility that is located within a reasonable distance of the property from which the vehicle was towed.
B. 
No private property owner shall authorize the towing of any motor vehicle parked for an unauthorized purpose or during a time at which such parking is not permitted from the private property owner’s property without the consent of the motor vehicle owner or operator, unless:
(1) 
The private property owner has contracted with a private property towing company for removal of vehicles parked on the property without authorization; and
(2) 
A sign that conforms to the requirements of Subsection A(2) of this section is posted on the property
C. 
This section shall not apply to a motor vehicle parked on a lot or parcel on which is situated a single-family unit or an owner-occupied multiunit structure of not more that six units or in front of any driveway or garage entrance where the motor vehicle is blocking access to that driveway or garage entrance.
D. 
Residential communities with assigned parking spaces.
(1) 
The requirements of Subsection A(2) of this section shall not apply to a residential community in which parking spaces are specifically assigned to community residents, provided that:
(a) 
The assigned spaces are clearly marked as such;
(b) 
There is specific documented approval by the property owner authorizing the removal of the particular vehicle; and
(c) 
A sign, which can easily be seen by the public, is posted in a conspicuous place at all vehicular entrances to the residential community property stating that unauthorized parking in an assigned space is prohibited and unauthorized motor vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense, and providing information or a telephone number enabling the vehicle owner or operator to immediately obtain information as to the location of the towed vehicle.
(2) 
The exemption in this subsection shall not apply to any private parking lot or parcel owned or assigned to a commercial or other nonresidential entity located in such residential communities.
[1]
Editor's Note This ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former § 551-11, Violations and penalties, as § 551-12.

§ 551-12 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 09-OR-017]
Any person or entity who shall be found in violation of this chapter shall be subject to a fine not exceeding $2,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination thereof, for each and every violation of this chapter.