[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Marple 8-11-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-15. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 277, Towing, adopted 3-12-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-7.
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to regulate towing rates and towing services as permitted by 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3358; to provide for proper licensing of towing services and notice to the Marple Township police where vehicles are towed from public or private property without the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle by a towing service operating on behalf of a private property owner, or a towing service operating on behalf of the lienholder or lessee of the vehicle; and to avoid erroneous reports of stolen vehicles being submitted to the Marple Township Police Department.
The cost of towing passenger cars, including vans and all vehicles of less than 10,000 pounds GVW hooked and removed from the premises, shall not be in excess of $85 for each crane tow or wheel lift. In all instances when a vehicle is hooked and the owner/operator returns prior to the vehicle being removed, tow operators shall charge no more than a hooking fee of $35 and shall release the vehicle to the owner/operator immediately upon receipt of the fee.
The cost of storage of any impounded passenger cars and vans of less than 10,000 pounds GVW shall not be in excess of $35 per day, other than as otherwise provided in this chapter, with a day consisting of a period of 24 hours from the time the vehicle is stored.
The cost of towing vehicles other than passenger cars and vans of more than 10,000 pounds GVW shall not exceed the rate of $165 per hour. In all instances when a vehicle is hooked and the owner/operator returns prior to the vehicle being removed, tow operator shall charge no more than a hooking fee of $125 and shall release the vehicle to the owner/operator immediately upon receipt of the fee.
The cost of storage of any impounded vehicle other than a passenger car, other than as specified in this chapter, shall not be in excess of $45 per day, with a day consisting of a period of 24 hours from the time the vehicle is stored.
The following regulations shall apply to the towing of any vehicle parked or left unattended on public or private property without the consent of the property owner, including but not limited to repossessors of vehicles on behalf of lienholders or lessors of vehicles:
No towing service shall remove any vehicle that is parked or left unattended on private property unless the private property owner or lessee consents in writing to such removal. In addition, any towing service shall first secure a license from the Township of Marple prior to doing any towing from any public or private property located in Marple Township. A license shall be issued for a fee of $100 per calendar year and shall be issued by the Marple Township Police Department upon completion of a Department application containing, at a minimum, the following information:
The name, address, business telephone number, pager number and cell phone number of the towing service.
The name, business address and telephone number of all persons or entities having an ownership interest in the towing service.
The name, address and telephone number of all persons from whose property in Marple Township the towing service is authorized to remove vehicles.
The name, address and telephone number of the storage yard where vehicles are removed from private property in Marple Township will be towed.
The name, address and telephone number of the bonding company and the name, address and telephone number of the bonding company agent through whom the bond required by this section has been issued.
The Chief of Police, upon determining that any provisions of this section have been violated, in addition to any other penalties provided herein, may revoke a license issued hereunder, together with the right to reapply for a subsequent license, for a period of up to two years. Appeal from such revocation shall be to the Public Safety Committee of the Board of Commissioners.
Authorized towing services shall:
Maintain a current bond with the Township in the sum of $10,000 in form and with surety satisfactory to the Township's Solicitor, conditioned upon the faithful performance discharged by the towing service of its duties as bailees of removed vehicles, and to indemnify the owners of vehicles against loss, injury or damage while in his custody.
Provide certificates of insurance as follows: in the minimum amount of $500,000 combined single limit for hired autos and nonowned autos; $100,000 for each personal injury; and $50,000 per occurrence for garagekeeper's liability.
Comply with all provisions of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code with respect to the removal and storage of vehicles from private property or the removal and impoundment of vehicles from public property.
Make payment of any final judgment for personal injuries or property damage rendered with respect to the performance of services regulated by this chapter.
Notify the Marple Township Police Department by telephone, in person, or by facsimile transmission of the removal of a vehicle from public or private property within 30 minutes of such removal and provide a description and license number of the vehicle thus removed and notify the Marple Township Police Department in writing within six hours of the removal of the vehicle from private property on a form provided by the Marple Township Police Department.
Provide the Marple Township Police Department with a true and correct copy of each and every contract between the applicant and the owner and/or lessee of the private property with respect to the removal of vehicles from private property within the Township.
Display the name of the towing service, or the person operating it, together with a valid phone number therefor, by signs on both sides of the tow truck.
Maintain during off hours either a telephone operator, answering machine or telephone tape machine to provide owners or operators of towed vehicles with necessary information as to the cost, the required method of payment and the procedure for claiming the towed vehicle.
Prior to the issuance of any license, provide proof that they have obtained a business privilege tax license from Marple Township.
Display the current towing license obtained from Marple Township on the driver's side window of the tow vehicle.
Signs on private lots. No person shall remove or cause to be removed a vehicle parked on a private lot without authorization unless signs are posted as follows:
That a sign, at least three feet by two feet in size, is placed at every entrance to a private lot clearly indicating that the parking lot is private, that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense, the name and phone number of the towing agency, the hours of tow operation and the towing and storage fees.
That within a lot containing less than 20 parking spaces, additional signs at least 18 by 12 inches in size are to be posted approximately eight feet above ground level, clearly indicating that all unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense. One sign shall be posted for every four parking spaces and be readily visible from the parking spaces.
That within a lot containing more than 20 parking spaces, the property owner shall prepare a site plan, subject to the approval of the Chief of Police, showing signage readily visible from all directions. Such signs, clearly indicating that all unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense, shall thereafter be posted and maintained pursuant to the approval site plan.
In the event that the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code provides for a higher standard with regard to signs and posting of signs, said standards shall be followed.
In any proceeding for a violation of the provisions of this chapter, the registration plate, if any, displayed on such motor vehicle shall be prima facie evidence that the owner of said motor vehicle was either operating said motor vehicle or was in operation and control of said motor vehicle at the time of said violation.
If a towing service accepts credit cards, the owner of a vehicle towed, hooked or stored may use a credit card to pay the charges imposed pursuant to this chapter.
Any person, partnership, corporation or other legal entity violating the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the penalty provisions set forth in § 8-9 of the Marple Code.