[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Bethel 7-29-1983; amended in its entirety 3-19-2002. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Board of Police Commissioners or, should none exist, the Board of Selectmen is hereby authorized and empowered to adopt such rules, regulations and restrictions relative to the speed and routing of traffic and the parking of vehicles not inconsistent with the statutes of the state as, in its judgment, may be deemed necessary for the proper regulation and control of vehicular traffic upon the streets of the Town and for the safety and convenience of the public.
The powers conferred in this chapter shall be conferred upon the Board of Police Commissioners, if any, and if none, the Board of Selectmen. Hereinafter, the use of the word "Board" shall mean the Board of Police Commissioners, if existing, and if not, the Board of Selectmen, as the case may be, except if otherwise stated.
Except where now or hereafter otherwise provided by ordinance, the Board shall have the power to determine, establish, limit and control at such highway intersections as in its discretion it may deem advisable for the public safety and to promote the orderly and expeditious flow of traffic in and through the Town, the directions in which any vehicle entering such intersection may proceed; and to that end it may and shall indicate and direct the same by appropriate markers, signs, stations or combinations thereof.
The Police Department, acting therein by its Chief, as directed by the Board, is hereby authorized to direct and regulate traffic on the streets of the Town and may, on the occasion of parades, public receptions, fire or police activities or on other occasions when emergency conditions exist, impose reasonable parking and no-parking restrictions in addition to such parking restrictions and regulations as may have been adopted by the Board.
The Police Department, acting therein by its Chief, as approved by the Board, may place upon the highways appropriate signs to inform the public of the restrictions imposed by or under the authority of this chapter and may, by signs, painted lines upon the highway or by any other manner deemed sufficient and proper by the Police Department, indicate the direction and position in which vehicles shall stand upon the streets.
The provisions of this chapter dealing with the movement and parking of vehicles shall not apply to ambulances or to police, fire department, fire patrol, civil defense or United States mail vehicles while such vehicles are performing in an official capacity in a reasonable manner.
No person driving or controlling a vehicle shall stop or park or cause or permit the same to be stopped or parked within the intersection of any street; within 25 feet of an intersection or a marked crosswalk thereat; or within 25 feet of a duly erected stop sign. No vehicle shall be permitted to stop or remain stationary within the limits of a public highway in such manner as to constitute a traffic hazard or obstruct the free movement of traffic thereon; provided a vehicle which has become disabled to such an extent that it is impossible or impracticable to remove it may be permitted to so remain for a reasonable time for the purpose of making repairs thereto, or of obtaining sufficient assistance to remove it. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a vehicle from stopping or being held stationary by any police officer in the line of duty or in an emergency to avoid accident or to give the right-of-way to any vehicle or pedestrian as provided by law.
The Fire Marshal of the Town is hereby directed and authorized to establish fire zone areas within or near any public or private street, highway or passway when, in his judgment, for the safety of the general public, such areas shall be restricted to no-parking zones.
Wherever the Fire Marshal establishes a fire zone, he shall file a copy of his order with the Board and Police Department.
Such restricted areas shall be clearly marked, NO PARKING-FIRE ZONE-TOWAWAY ZONE. Section 107-12 shall apply, and enforcement of this section shall be the responsibility of the Chief of Police and whomever he may delegate.
Violators of this section shall be fined $25, payable to the Department of Police within 30 days.
Any person who shall receive a parking ticket from the Police Department that said vehicle was parked beyond the legal parking time established for such area shall pay to the Clerk of the Police Department the sum of $5 within 30 days from the violation.
Any person who shall receive a parking ticket from the Police Department for parking in a no-parking zone, on a public sidewalk, more than 12 inches from the curb, within 25 feet of an intersection or a marked crosswalk thereat, within 25 feet of a stop sign, or in a permit parking only area or such that their vehicle obstructs a driveway shall pay to the Clerk of the Police Department the sum of $15 within 30 days from the violation.
Any person who receives a parking ticket from the Police Department to the effect that said vehicle was parked so that the vehicle obstructs the free movement of traffic, or was parked on the wrong side of the street or in a bus stop, shall pay to the Clerk of the Police Department the sum of $15 within 30 days from the violation.
Any person who receives a parking ticket from the Police Department to the effect that said vehicle was parked within 10 feet of a hydrant or in any space designated as parking for the handicapped shall pay to the Clerk of the Police Department the sum of $25 within 30 days from the date of such violation.
A yearly winter parking ban will become effective November 15 of each year and shall continue to April 15 of the following year. This parking ban prohibits on-street parking between the hours of 2:00 a.m. through 6:00 a.m. so that snowplowing, when required, will not be impeded. Parking warnings will be issued during the first week, and, effective November 22, parking tickets may be issued. Any person who shall receive a parking ticket from the Police Department to the effect that said vehicle was parked during this prohibited time frame shall pay to the Clerk of the Police Department the sum of $10 within 30 days from such violation.
In any prosecution or proceeding under § 107-6, 107-7, 107-8 or 107-9, the registration plate displayed on the motor of the vehicle shall constitute in evidence prima facie presumption that the owner of such vehicle, or his agent with his permission, was the person who parked such vehicle at the place where such violation occurred.
The Board may create one or more motor vehicle impoundment areas (pounds) to which motor vehicles may be removed at the direction of any police officer of the Town for the causes specified in § 107-12. The pounds so created hereunder shall be public storage garages or such other appropriate places as shall be designated by the Board. The Board may, in its discretion, utilize the Police Department facility, the secured area only, as the only pound or as one of the pounds. Before any garage or other place of storage shall be designated by the Board as a motor vehicle pound for the purposes hereof, the operator thereof shall furnish the Town with evidence of insurance coverage which shall be adequate to protect the Town against liability for any claim for damages arising out of the towing or storage of any impounded vehicle.
The provisions of this section shall apply to the following categories of vehicles:
Vehicles parked on any public street, public highway, any portion of the entire width between the boundary lines of any way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel, or on any property leased by or in the possession and control of the Town (including off-street parking facilities under the Superintendent of Public Works, but excluding parking areas under the control of the Board of Education) in violation of any provision, including those outlined herein, of any municipal ordinance, municipal parking regulation, state rule or state regulation.
Vehicles which have five or more outstanding and unpaid parking violations issued against them and which, after mailing via registered mail, return receipt requested, to the registered owner a final notice advising of this chapter, and upon receipt of the return receipt, are found parked on any public street, public highway, any portion of the entire width between the boundary line of any way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel or on any property leased by or in the possession and control of the Town (including off-street parking facilities under the Superintendent of Public Works, but excluding parking areas under the control of the Board of Education).
Any vehicle described in Subsection A may be removed or caused to be removed by or under the direction of a member of the Department of Police by towing or otherwise. In addition to or in lieu of towing, any such vehicle described in Subsection A may be immobilized in such manner as to prevent its operation, except that no such vehicle shall be immobilized by any means other than by the use of a device or other mechanism which will cause no damage to such vehicle unless it is moved while the mechanism is in place. In any case involving immobilization of a vehicle pursuant to this section, such member of the Police Department shall cause to be placed on such vehicle, in a conspicuous manner, notice sufficient to warn any individual to the effect that any attempt to move such vehicle might result in damage to such vehicle.
Whenever any motor vehicle shall be found to be parked beyond the legal parking time established by the Board or be found parked on any street in an area in which parking shall be prohibited by the Board or in excess of any time limitation which may have been established and posted by such authority, or shall be in violation of any statute or ordinance, including the provision hereof, of the Town or any rule or regulation duly established by the Board pursuant to law, such vehicle may be removed, towed or conveyed by or at the direction of any member of the Police Department of the Town by means of towing the same or otherwise to any motor vehicle pound established under this chapter; provided, however, that this division shall be limited to those special areas established by the Board as towaway zones, so-called and posted by signs as such. No motor vehicle shall be so parked as to block any driveway or be parked within 10 feet of any fire hydrant; or in any space designated as parking for the handicapped; and such vehicle may be removed, towed or conveyed by or at the direction of any member of the Police Department of the Town by means of towing the same or otherwise to any motor vehicle pound established under this chapter without the Board designating such area as towaway zones.
The removal of any motor vehicle pursuant to this chapter shall be determined the abatement of a nuisance and shall be at the risk of the owner or person entitled to possession of such vehicle; and, having been so removed, shall remain impounded until the fees and charges herein provided shall be paid by the owner or person entitled to possession thereof.
The police officer directing the impounding of any such vehicle and the operator of the motor vehicle pound in which the same shall be impounded shall make such prompt report to police headquarters as shall be required by the Board by regulations which shall be adopted by the Board as will enable the owner or persons in charge of such vehicle to be informed as to the nature and circumstance of the violation on account of which such vehicle has been impounded and the place in which it is impounded and from which it may be repossessed by the person legally entitled to possession thereof.
Before the owner or person in charge of such vehicle shall be entitled to repossess the same, he shall pay the Police Department a fine of $15 and any accumulated fines for previous violations and, upon delivery to the operator of the motor vehicle pound in which such vehicle is impounded of evidence of the payment of such fine, he shall be entitled to obtain possession of such vehicle upon payment of the towing fee, such towing fee to be as determined by the Connecticut Motor Vehicle Department, plus the cost of storage, not exceeding $5 for each day or for any part of a day that such vehicle shall have been impounded. No impounded vehicle shall be released until the person claiming such vehicle shall establish his identity and right to possession of the vehicle and until he shall have signed a receipt therefor.
The removing, towing and storage charges provided for in § 107-13 shall be a lien upon such vehicle, and the payment thereof shall not release or relieve the owner and the person in charge of such vehicle at the time of the violation for which the same was impounded from prosecution for any violation of law which may have been involved in the circumstances which resulted in the impounding of such vehicle. The Board and any custodian of such vehicle shall not be liable for any damage to the vehicle while stored or for the removal of the contents of any stored vehicle.
In case protest is made to the Police Department against the impounding or storage fee of a vehicle towed away and impounded pursuant to this chapter, the vehicle may be released upon evidence of ownership to the claimant upon the furnishing of a lien fee in an amount equal to the towing charge plus $5 per day storage fee, and the claimant shall pay any accumulated fees for any previous violations, and if done, such claimant shall be issued a uniform traffic ticket to answer to the violations of the Town or ordinance on account of which such vehicle has been impounded. If, after the proper hearing in the state Superior Court, a finding of not guilty is entered, then such lien fee shall be returned. If, however, a finding of guilty is entered, then such lien fee shall be turned over to the Comptroller of the Town.
Responsibility for placing or leaving of a vehicle in violation of the on-street parking regulations shall rest with the operator. Whenever a violation occurs, proof of the registration number of the vehicle involved shall be prima facie evidence in any criminal or civil action that the owner was the operator thereof.
Any person who shall violate any of the regulations contained in this chapter shall be served either in person or by attaching to such vehicle a notice directing the owner of such vehicle to surrender such notice at the police headquarters and to pay a penalty. The Board of Selectmen, upon notice from the Board of Police Commissioners, from time to time, shall establish by regulations adopted after public notice and public hearings the penalty for each type of violation and failure to pay unless set forth herein. In establishing the penalty, the Board of Selectmen may impose a higher penalty when the original penalty is not paid within 30 days of the violation.
Additional penalty. Any person who, after having his vehicle towed or immobilized, shall remove such vehicle without complying with this chapter shall, in addition to the charges provided for in said section, be liable for any damage done to the immobilization device or mechanism as determined by the Board, plus a fine of $100.