Borough of Edgewater, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Edgewater 3-19-1997 by Ord. No. 1090-97 (Ch. 228 of the 1975 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Certificates, licenses and permits — See Ch. 157.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 427.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 432.
As used in this chapter, the following terms, phrases and words shall have the following meanings:
BOROUGH
Borough of Edgewater.
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
TOWER or WRECKER
A motor vehicle or person engaged in the business of or offering the services of a vehicle, wrecker or towing service for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying or removing any other motor vehicle, whether or not such motor vehicle may be operated under is own power or is disabled, inoperable, impounded or abandoned.
A. 
By January 15 of each year, the Mayor and Council shall approve a towing list, and the companies, firms or entities thereon shall be entitled to tow, transport, convey, remove or repair any and all kinds of vehicles which shall be required to be removed from any public or private property or public right-of-way as determined by the Police Department. The firms on the towing list shall be utilized by the Police Department on a rotation basis and shall be the only contractors eligible to perform such service, except in circumstances when an owner or authorized operator of a motor vehicle requests the service of another tower or wrecker.
B. 
Upon approval by the Mayor and Council of the towing list, each tower or wrecker appearing thereon shall be issued a license by the Borough Clerk and shall be required to enter into an agreement with the Borough governing the services to be performed during the effective period of the towing list.
C. 
Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, no towing service shall be placed on the towing list if:
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
(1) 
Any individual owning 10% or more of the towing service also owns 10% or more of another towing service already on the towing list;
(2) 
The towing service is owned by or owns, in whole or in part, another towing service already on the towing list; or
(3) 
The towing service shares an address or place of business with another towing service already on the towing list, unless each business has obtained a separate certificate of occupancy for said location.
D. 
It shall be the responsibility of an applicant to demonstrate that none of the conditions set forth in Subsection C, above, are applicable.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
Application for a license as required under § 410-2 shall be made on a form prescribed by the Borough which shall provide the following information, the truth of which shall be sworn or attested to by the applicant:
A. 
The year, make, type and registration number of all vehicles and wreckers to be used by the towing service.
B. 
The name and address of the applicant and, if a corporation, the name and address of each officer and director thereof and, if a partnership, the name and address of each partner thereof.
C. 
The name and address of the owner of the towing service if other than the applicant.
D. 
A listing of all locations from which the towing service or wrecker operates.
E. 
A listing of all locations to which motor vehicles are towed.
F. 
A disclosure of any and all criminal convictions of the applicant or any principals thereof, as well as any employees thereof.
G. 
Disclosure as to whether the towing service or wrecker is an accessory use to an operating gasoline service station.
H. 
A copy of the certificate of occupancy issued to the towing service for the location(s) in which the towed vehicles are to be stored.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
I. 
The applicant shall provide satisfactory evidence of the towing service's ability to protect the contents and interior of all vehicles stored in the case of inclement weather.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
J. 
A corporate disclosure statement setting forth the names of all persons owning 10% or more of the towing service.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
An applicant for a license to be placed on the towing list shall be required to satisfy the following criteria:
A. 
The applicant shall have personnel available to respond to a call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
B. 
The applicant's principal place of business shall be located in the State of New Jersey and shall be distant no more than two miles driving distance from the territorial limits of the Borough of Edgewater. The maximum response time when called by the Police Department shall be 1/2 hour from the time of call to arrival at the scene.
[Amended 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
C. 
Employees shall be at least 18 years of age and shall have a satisfactory driving record.
D. 
Employees shall be required to have appropriate identification issued by the applicant and shall not have ever been the subject of a criminal conviction, except for minor traffic violations.
E. 
Towing trucks and other equipment shall have two-way radio capability with the dispatching center on a twenty-four-hour basis.
F. 
The applicant shall provide evidence that it has the ability to accept all major credit cards and automobile club memberships, including the American Automobile Association (AAA).
G. 
A towing service or wrecker shall maintain for public inspection a copy of its fee schedule at its place of business.
H. 
The applicant must possess at least 10 parking spaces in which to store towed vehicles, to be used exclusively by the towing service holding the license.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
I. 
The licensee shall submit proof of ownership by record title of the required tow truck and flatbed tow truck. A copy of the registration for each vehicle and copies of current and valid insurance policies and cards shall be submitted to the Borough Clerk.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
J. 
The licensee shall have business offices open to the public between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at least five days per week and shall provide or arrange for after-hours release of stored motor vehicles.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
K. 
Equipment requirements. No license shall be issued to a towing operator who does not own or lease for utilization in his or its business the following equipment, which equipment shall be inspected by the Chief of Police and/or Police Director or his authorized representative prior to a license being issued. Said equipment shall be designated as follows:
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011; amended 9-20-2017 by Ord. No. 1541-2017]
(1) 
A minimum of one light-duty wrecker and one flatbed for vehicles under 10,000 pounds.
(2) 
Safety equipment to be carried on all trucks shall include a universal towing sling, except flatbed; J-hooks and chains; one snatch block for three-eighths-inch to one-half-inch cable; two high-test safety chains; auxiliary safety light kit to place on rear of towed vehicle; four-lamp or three-lamp revolving amber light or lamp bars; toolbox with assortment of hand tools; rear working lights located to clear towed vehicle; blocking choke for wrecker while working; safety cones; shovels and broom; steering wheel lock or tie-down. All towing vehicles must be equipped with at least one five-pound ABC-type fire extinguisher, safety chains, substances for application to small liquid spills, and stiff push brooms to clean up debris at scene.
(3) 
All tow trucks must be properly lettered on both sides as provided by law.
[Amended 7-20-2010 by Ord. No. 1439-2010; 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
An application for a license shall be accompanied by a certificate of liability insurance in a minimum amount set forth in N.J.S.A. 56:13-12 or prescribed by the director in accordance therewith at N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.3. The Borough of Edgewater shall be included as a named insured in such policies. In addition, evidence shall be submitted that the applicant has in effect worker's compensation insurance and such other coverage as may be mandated by applicable law.
Any person being issued a license for placement on the towing list shall be required to be governed by the following in connection with its operations within the Borough:
A. 
No vehicle which is towed, removed, conveyed or stored as a result of police impoundment, removal or abandonment shall be removed from the boundaries of the State of New Jersey.
B. 
No vehicle impounded will be released without the permission of the Edgewater Police Department.
C. 
The Chief of Police and/or Police Director shall adopt and enforce reasonable rules and regulations for wreckers.
[Amended 3-20-2017 by Ord. No. 1541-2017]
D. 
All vehicles towed or stored shall be done in a safe, secure and adequately lighted impound yard.
E. 
The yard shall have a minimum six-foot-high chain-link or comparable fence and shall be locked at all times other than during regular business hours.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
F. 
The towing operator shall further have at its disposal a secured indoor storage facility to house at least one vehicle at the request of the Police Department. If a towing operator does not have such a secured indoor storage facility, the towing operator shall either inform the Police Department of this fact and the Police Department shall find an alternative towing service when a secured indoor facility is required or the towing service shall subcontract with another licensed towing service to provide the secured indoor storage facility as disclosed on its application.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
G. 
No towing service shall agree to tow a vehicle unless the towing service possesses adequate space in which to store said vehicle.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
H. 
No towed vehicles may be stored at any location not listed on the towing service's application to the Borough. Violation of this provision shall be grounds for immediate revocation of the towing service's license.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
I. 
All trucks and equipment will be maintained and operated in accordance with all existing traffic regulations and in a safe and prudent manner and may be inspected for such condition by the police at any time, wherever located. Any deficiency in such condition reported by the police to the licensee shall be promptly corrected, and any failure to correct may be cited as a violation of the license pursuant to this section.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
J. 
A truck driver will request police assistance during the course of servicing when he finds it necessary to turn around, back up, tow in the opposite direction, cross the median, etc.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
K. 
All towing companies are responsible for heavy-duty tows during their on-duty status, even if the towing company must subcontract for the service. Even if subcontracted, the on-duty tower shall be completely responsible for the towing services.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
L. 
All towers shall be required to comply with the provisions of New Jersey Administrative Code Title 13, Chapter 45A, Subchapter 31, "Private Property and Nonconsensual Towing Companies."
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
M. 
All towers shall be required to comply with the provisions of the Predatory Towing Prevention Act, N.J.S.A. 56:13-1, et seq.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
N. 
Any towing operator which relocates during its towing service and/or vehicle storage facility shall notify the Borough of Edgewater within seven days from the date of the move. Accordingly, within 10 days of such notice, the towing service shall submit a certificate of occupancy, proof of insurance and all other relevant documentation as outlined Borough Code, Chapter 410. Failure of any licensed tower to adhere to the aforementioned requirements may be promptly suspended from the Borough's towing list for one calendar year.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
[Amended 3-20-2017 by Ord. No. 1541-2017]
The Chief of Police and/or Police Director of the Borough is hereby designated as the municipal officer responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. The Chief of Police and/or Police Director is authorized to establish a system of rotation in the assignment of persons being issued licenses for placement on the towing list as provided for in this chapter.
A. 
Any towing service or wrecker called upon to tow a vehicle at the request of the Police Department of the Borough shall charge no more than the rates in the Fee Schedule set forth below in Subsection E hereof.
[Amended 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
B. 
The towing service or wrecker shall give the owner or authorized operator of the vehicle towed a written receipt for the fee paid.
C. 
When towing services are required by the Police Department of the Borough, applicable charges shall be governed by the day rate for services rendered between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, inclusive, except for official New Jersey State holidays. The night, weekend and holiday rate shall be applicable at all other times.
D. 
All towing companies shall be required to provide to the owner or authorized operator of a vehicle a bill, invoice and/or receipt on which is clearly printed a complete listing of the rates set forth on the Borough's Fee Schedule.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
E. 
Fees charged.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
(1) 
Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.4, a towing company that engages in private property towing or other nonconsensual towing may charge fees for the following services:
(a) 
Basic tow: $100.
(b) 
In the case of a motor vehicle involved in an accident, the following additional services, if actually performed:
[1] 
Waiting time in excess of 15 minutes, which shall be calculated based upon each 15 minutes spent at the site from which a motor vehicle will be towed, with fewer than 15 minutes rounded up to 15: $35.
[2] 
Brush cleaning, including collection of debris that can be picked up by hand: $50.
[3] 
Site cleanup: $10 per bag of absorbent materials.
[4] 
Winching: $50 per half hour.
[5] 
The use of window wrap: $35 per window wrap only if authorized by vehicle owner.
[6] 
Tarping: $50 per vehicle only if authorized by vehicle owner.
[7] 
Transmission disconnect, only if a motor vehicle is locked and the towing company is unable to obtain the keys for the motor vehicle: $100 if the drive train components are required to be disconnected in order to remove the vehicle. The removal of the drive shaft, drive axle, linkage or any other component under the vehicle, which said removal would permit the rotation of the tires for removal, would constitute a "disconnect."
[8] 
Use of a flatbed tow truck: $100, only if a motor vehicle can be transported only by a flatbed tow truck.
[9] 
Use of special equipment other than the first tow truck to recover a motor vehicle that cannot be recovered by winching or pieces of a motor vehicle that cannot be moved by hand: total labor and equipment costs billed per half hour.
[10] 
Decoupling: $25.
[11] 
Storage at a towing company's storage facility:
[a] 
$35 per day (inside storage).
[b] 
$25 per day (outside storage).
[12] 
More than three trips to the motor vehicle in storage: $30.
[13] 
Releasing a motor vehicle from a towing company's storage facility after normal business hours or on weekends: $25.
(2) 
A towing company that engages in private property towing or other nonconsensual towing shall not charge for the use of a flatbed tow truck if a motor vehicle can safely be towed in an upright position by another type of tow truck, even if the private property towing company chooses to use a flatbed tow truck for the tow.
(3) 
A towing company that engages in private property towing or other nonconsensual towing may charge for the tolls it incurs driving to the site from which a motor vehicle will be towed and while towing the motor vehicle from that site to the towing company's storage facility.
(4) 
A towing company that engages in private property towing or other nonconsensual towing shall calculate storage fees based upon full twenty-four-hour periods a motor vehicle is in the storage facility. For example, if a motor vehicle is towed to a storage facility at 7:00 p.m. on one day and the owner of the motor vehicle picks up the motor vehicle before 7:00 p.m. the next day, the towing company shall charge the owner of the motor vehicle only for one day of storage. If a motor vehicle is stored for more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours, the towing company may charge for two days of storage.
(5) 
A towing company shall not charge any fee for private property towing or other nonconsensual towing and related storage services not included above.
(6) 
If a towing company charges a consumer a fee for a private property or other nonconsensual towing service that is disputed by the consumer, the parties shall use good faith efforts to resolve the dispute. If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute and the Director determines the fee to be unreasonable under N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.5, the Director may order the towing company to reimburse the consumer for an amount equal to the difference between the charged fee and a reasonable fee, plus interest, as calculated pursuant to Subsection E(7) below.
(7) 
The interest rate imposed pursuant to Subsection E(6) above shall be based on the average rate of return, to the nearest whole or one-half percent, for the corresponding preceding fiscal year terminating on June 30, of the State of New Jersey Cash Management Fund (state accounts) as reported by the Division of Investment of the Department of the Treasury.
(8) 
A towing company performing a private property tow or other nonconsensual tow shall take the motor vehicle being towed to the towing company's storage facility having the capacity to receive it that is nearest to the site from which the motor vehicle is towed.
(9) 
A bill for a private property tow or other nonconsensual tow shall include the time at which a towed motor vehicle was delivered to a towing company's storage facility.
A. 
Any license issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the Mayor and Council after notice and hearing for one or more of the following causes:
(1) 
Fraud, misrepresentation or any false statement contained in the application for a license.
(2) 
Any violation of the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Unsatisfactory performance of the requirements of this chapter.
(4) 
Conviction of any crime for disorderly persons offense.
B. 
Notice of the hearing for revocation of a license shall be given to the licensee in writing setting forth specifically the basis for the complaint and the time and place of hearing which shall be conducted by the Mayor and Council. At such hearing, a licensee shall be entitled to be represented by legal counsel and shall be further entitled to present any witnesses, testimony or evidence on its behalf.
[Added 7-20-2010 by Ord. No. 1439-2010]
Violations of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty.
[Added 3-21-2011 by Ord. No. 1451-2011]
A. 
Storage and abandonment.
(1) 
Towing companies shall not remove any motor vehicles from storage without first notifying the Police Department.
(2) 
The towing company shall notify the Police Department of any vehicles that are found to be abandoned or not claimed within 14 days (two weeks) after being stored.
(3) 
All towing companies will submit a copy of receipts of all vehicles towed and stored to the Police Department "Traffic Bureau" at the end of every month for accurate accountability.
(4) 
The Borough shall endeavor to arrange to take possession of all vehicles found to be abandoned or not claimed within 14 days after being stored. Upon taking possession of a vehicle, the Borough shall be entitled to charge the owner such rates for storage of the vehicle as are set forth in this chapter.
(5) 
Upon determination that a vehicle has been abandoned, the Borough shall be entitled to place such vehicle up for public auction in accordance with N.J.S.A. § 39:10A-1, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-36 and applicable law.
B. 
Notwithstanding anything in this chapter to the contrary, and in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50, all fees to be paid to a towing company by the Borough for the storage of removed motor vehicles shall not exceed the following:
(1) 
A limit of $3 per day for the first 30 days of storage per vehicle; and
(2) 
A limit of $2 per day for the 31st day of storage and any day thereafter; and
(3) 
A limit of $400 per vehicle stored regardless of the duration of the storage, except that a waiver may be granted for good cause upon the request of a municipality by the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.
C. 
An operator engaged in the removal of motor vehicles, or any employee, officer or agent thereof, who engages in a pattern or practice of knowingly violating the fee limits set in this section and N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50 may be liable to the Borough for a civil penalty of not less than $25 nor more than $50 for each motor vehicle stored with the operator.