[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Harrison 2-17-1998 by Ord. No. 3-1998; amended in its entirety 2-7-2011 by Ord. No. 02-2011. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49, as amended by Chapter 95, P.L. 2000, permits and encourages a municipality to regulate by ordinance the removal of motor vehicles from private or public areas by operators engaged in such practice, including, but not limited to, the fees charged for such removal, the fees charged for storage following removal in accordance with § 3 of P.L. 1987, C.127 (N.J.S.A. 40: 48-2.50), notice requirements, and the mercantile licensing of such operators in accordance with the Predatory Towing Prevention Act (N.J.S.A. 56:13-7, et seq.), which ordinance shall set forth nondiscriminatory and nonexclusionary regulations governing operators engaged in the business of removing and storing motor vehicles, including, but not limited to:
A schedule of fees or other charges which an operator may charge vehicle owners for towing services, storage services or both;
Minimum standards of operator performance, including but not limited to standards concerning the adequacy of equipment and facilities, availability and response time, and the security of vehicles towed or stored;
The designation of a municipal officer and/or agency to enforce the provisions of the ordinance; and
That such regulations and fee schedules of individual towing operators shall be made available to the public during normal business hours of the municipality.
The following words and terms used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- ABANDONED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle that is abandoned on or along any highway, other than a limited-access highway, or other public property or on any private property without the consent of the owner or other person in charge of the property. A vehicle which has remained on or along any highway or other public property or on any private property without such consent for a period of more than 48 hours or for any period without current license plates shall be presumed to be an abandoned motor vehicle.
- AUTO REPAIR FACILITY
- Any public garage where motor vehicles are painted, serviced and/or repaired.
- CLEAN-UP AND REMOVAL COSTS
- All costs incurred by the Township, its agents or the towing operator in the removal or attempted removal of hazardous substances and disposal thereof, or costs for the taking of reasonable measures to prevent or mitigate damage, whether actual or threatened to the public health, safety or welfare.
- CODE OFFICIAL
- An individual who is duly appointed by the Township Committee responsible for enforcing codes in the Township of Harrison. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to carry out the provisions of the ordinances listed in the Code of the Township of Harrison.
- Any intentional or unintentional action or omission resulting in the releasing, spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, or dumping of hazardous substances into the water, lands or air of the State of New Jersey.
- DISPATCH FACILITY
- A place established to transmit requests for towing services. (i.e., Gloucester County Dispatch Communications Center or Harrison Township Police Department).
- HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
- The list of hazardous substances adopted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuant to § 101 of the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980," P.L. 96-510 (42 U.S.C. Chapter 9601 et seq.), and amendments thereto, and those substances listed by the NJDEP as environmental hazardous substances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:5A-4, and amendments thereto.
- HEAVY DUTY TOW
- A tow truck with dual rear wheels, capable of towing large
trucks, and which truck shall meet the following minimum requirements:
G.V.W.R. 33,000 pounds.[Amended 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
- INSIDE BUILDINGS
- Any portion of a towing facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles and is secured by a locking device on each opening.
- Any area, lot, land, parcel, building or structure or part thereof used for the storage, collection, processing, purchase, sale or abandonment of scrap metal or other scrap or discarded goods, materials, machinery, or two or more unregistered/uninspected, inoperable vehicles or other type of junk. For purposes of this chapter, an auto-repair facility or a towing facility shall not be considered a junkyard.
- LICENSES AND INSPECTIONS
- The State of New Jersey Licenses and Inspections Agency.
- LICENSE TERM
- The period of 24 months from March 1 to February 28.
- LIGHT DUTY TOW
- A tow truck or flatbed truck with dual rear wheels, capable
of towing automobiles and small trucks, and which truck shall meet
the following minimum requirements: G.V.W.R. 10,001 pounds.[Added 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
- MEDIUM DUTY TOW
- A tow truck or flatbed truck with dual rear wheels, capable
of towing automobiles and medium-size trucks, and which truck shall
meet the following minimum requirements: G.V.W.R. 16,001 pounds.[Added 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- All vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, as defined in N.J.S.A. 39:1-1, excepting such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks.
- MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
- An occurrence in which a motor vehicle comes in contact with any other object, including pedestrians, for which the motor vehicle must be towed or removed from the scene thereof.
- NIGHT HOURS
- At the closing time of normal business hours anytime between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, including weekends and holidays.
- OUTSIDE SECURED
- Any portion of a towing facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other manmade barrier that is a minimum of six feet high and is installed with a passive alarm system (e.g., bell ringer located in the gate area to the enclosed facility) or a similar on-site security measure.
- PETROLEUM OR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
- Oil or petroleum of any kind and in any form, including but not limited to oil petroleum, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil, oil sludge, oil refuse, and oil mixed with other wastes.
- POLICE HOLD VEHICLES
- Motor vehicles which are alleged to have been involved in illegal activity, involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision, or any vehicles so designated by a Harrison Township Police Officer.
- PUBLIC GARAGE
- Any building, structure, or property designed and used for equipping, adjusting, greasing, washing, polishing, servicing, or storing of motor vehicles, other than at a junkyard, operated for profit and for service to the public. For purposes of this chapter, a public garage means any general repair garage, specialized repair garage, car wash, auto repair facility, or towing facility.
- RESPONSE TIME
- Not more than 10 minutes from the time of the initial request
by the Gloucester County Dispatch Communications Center or the Harrison
Township Police to the tow vehicle's arrival at the site of the
incident requiring tow services, all traffic regulations observed.[Amended 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
- STORAGE CHARGES FOR TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR PERIOD
- The maximum allowable amount charged by a towing facility for the storage of motor vehicles for any twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof.
- STORAGE AREA
- The portion(s) of the towing facility's property utilized for the storing of motor vehicles. The storage area, whether indoor or outdoor, shall be secure (enclosed via fence or walls) and accessible 24 hours per day by the Harrison Township Police Department. If the storage area is outdoors, it shall be fully enclosed by a fence with a minimum height of six feet, and shall be lighted from dusk to dawn.
- TOWING FACILITY
- Any public garage that offers towing services.
- TOWING OPERATOR
- Any entity that operates a towing business or tow vehicle.
- TOWING SERVICE
- The removal and transportation of a motor vehicle from a highway, street, other public or private road, parking area, storage facility and from other off-road locations such as fields, lakes, rivers and streams. This includes other services such as roadside assistance.
- The Township of Harrison.
- TOWNSHIP CLERK
- The Township Clerk of the Township of Harrison.
- TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE
- The Township Committee Members of the Township of Harrison.
- TOW VEHICLE
- Those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by the vehicle manufacturer for the transport of motor vehicles.
- TOW VEHICLE'S BASE OF SERVICE
- The tow operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.
Prospective tow list operators must have a duly licensed towing facility or auto repair facility meeting the requirements set forth in this chapter.
License application data required: An application for license shall be in writing, upon a license application form furnished by the Township of Harrison, signed by the applicant. Said application shall contain the following information:
The name, business address, business name and telephone number of the towing operator.
The location(s) of the towing operator's towing and storage area(s).
The name of the towing operator's insurance company and insurance policy number. A current and valid certificate of insurance must be provided at the time of application submission as required under the terms and conditions stated in § 204-6 herein.
A list of the type (manufacturer and year), condition, and design of tow vehicle(s) and equipment available for service.
Communication availability, including radio communications, and the location and availability of the dispatch center.
The name, address and driver's license number of each driver or operator of the tow vehicle(s).
Proof that each vehicle to be licensed is duly registered and inspected by the State of New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles as a tow vehicle.
The application shall be accompanied by the following supporting documentation:
Zoning certification (issued by the Municipal Zoning Officer/Construction Official of the municipality where the towing facility is located) and the fire subcode certification (issued by the Fire Subcode Official of the municipality where the towing facility is located).
Deed evidencing ownership or lease agreement for the towing and storage facility.
A site plan depicting the location of the storage area(s), the number of vehicles that can be stored and the total square footage of the area.
Roster of tow vehicles including the registration and VINs.
If a corporation submits the application, the application shall be signed in the name of the corporation by the President and attested by the Secretary.
Said application shall be duly verified by the applicant before a notary public or some other person duly authorized to administer oaths.
Each such application shall be accompanied by the full amount of the license fee in the amount of $25. If the application is not accepted by the Township Committee, the fee shall be returned to the applicant.
No license shall be issued to a towing operator unless the applicant's towing facility is located within a zoning district where such use is permitted in accordance with the Township of Harrison Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 225) (or the Zone Code for the municipality where the towing facility is located) or unless a use variance has been obtained therefor, and any and all Planning Board or Zoning Board approvals and/or permits have been obtained therefor, or unless sufficient proofs are provided by the applicant that said facility was operated at its present location prior to adoption of the applicable Zoning Code, and is considered "grandfathered."
The tow vehicle(s) shall comply with any and all state, federal and local laws, regulations and ordinances, pertaining to safety, lighting and towing equipment and shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or a designee at any time.
An application shall not be deemed complete unless accompanied by:
Written verification from the Harrison Township Clerk verifying that the towing operator has:
Provided proof of a current and valid driver's license for each driver or operator;
Obtained a letter of compliance from the Code Official for the facilities of the tow operator's base of service, dispatch and/or storage area that such facilities are not in violation of applicable land use ordinances. This also applies to any tow facility not located within the Township of Harrison;
Obtained a letter of compliance from the Code Official or such other official as applicable representing the municipality having jurisdiction over the property of the tow operator that such property is not in violation of applicable property maintenance and health codes. This compliance letter shall include the dispatch facility and storage facility area if not one and the same;
Provided a certificate of insurance compliant with the requirements set forth in § 204-6 herein;
Provided proof of registration with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs; and
Provided its Federal Tax Identification Number ("EIN");
[Added 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
Submitted the license fee.
The Township of Harrison shall have the right to verify the accuracy of the information supplied in the application by interviewing, investigating and inspecting all personnel, vehicles, equipment and storage areas proposed for utilization by the applicant, and to determine compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and standards of performance required by this chapter.
The Chief of Police of the Township, or a designee, upon receipt of a completed application, shall conduct a background investigation on the proposed towing operator and each driver. This investigation shall include an inspection of the towing facility, the tow vehicle(s) and the towing operation, and inquiry into all relevant matters, to determine if the towing operator meets the requirements of all applicable laws, regulations, standards of performance and security of vehicles towed or stored as mandated by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49(b). Every towing operator on the Harrison Township tow list shall be responsible for all fees and costs associated to perform criminal and driver license background checks for each of their employees.
The Police Department or the Township Clerk may request and obtain additional information from the Department of Weights and Measures and Consumer Protection of the applicable county and from any other appropriate sources.
The towing operator shall at no time transfer or assign a license or any part thereof, for any purpose whatsoever.
No individual shall operate a tow vehicle unless the State of New Jersey duly licenses that individual. Any change in licensure of vehicle operators during the period of the license must be reported to the Police Department within 15 days of such change. Failure to do so shall be basis for revocation of license.
All tow operators' drivers licenses shall be checked yearly in order to confirm their validity.
The towing facility must be established at its current location for a minimum of three years.
No more than one roster slot on the Township of Harrison certified tow list shall be granted to an applicant. No towing operator shall have an interest, direct or indirect, in any other towing operator on the Township of Harrison towing list.
Upon completion of the aforesaid investigation, the Chief of Police and Township Clerk shall file a written report as to the findings and compliance with § 204-4 herein, and issue a recommendation of approval or disapproval with the Township Committee.
If the Chief of Police or Township Clerk recommends that the towing operator not be approved, a written report shall be filed with the Township Committee specifying the findings and the reasons for the recommendation of rejection. The Township will furnish a copy of the report to the towing operator by certified mail.
Any towing operator who is denied a license based upon the findings and recommendations of the Chief of Police or Township Clerk may, after receipt of notification, file an appeal within 10 days with the Township Committee. The Township Clerk shall then schedule a hearing before the Township Committee.
In order to be included on the Township of Harrison Police Department's tow list, a towing operator shall submit a certificate of insurance to the Harrison Township Police Department and Township Clerk each year on or before February 28 evidencing that its towing facility and towing vehicles are insured by a reputable insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey with a standard general liability insurance policy designed to cover garage operations. Said insurance policy shall provide for minimum monetary limits for any single occurrence as follows:
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 for light-, medium- and/or heavy-duty trucks.
Workers' compensation as required by statute.
Garage keepers' legal liability in an amount not less than $100,000 per location.
Garage liability, including cargo insurance for heavy-duty tow, in the amount of not less than $250,000 combined single limit. Cargo insurance for light-duty tows to meet the New Jersey minimum insurance requirements.
A certificate of insurance naming the Township of Harrison as additional insured for a one-year term with a thirty-day notice of cancellation.
The policies required in this section shall be subject to review by the TRICOJIF or current insurance carrier for the Township of Harrison and may be subject to change without the necessity of modifying this chapter.
The insurance company must be an approved carrier licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey. The aforesaid insurance policy shall also be written as to include coverage for the property owned by others which is in the care, custody or control of the licensed towing operator, including the perils of transportation for any motor vehicle in the possession or control of the towing operator. The garage keepers' legal liability shall include comprehensive and collision coverage. Said insurance policy shall provide that the insurance company will pay on behalf of the Township for any and all claims against the Township resulting from the operations of the towing operator including any and all attorney fees.
The insurance coverage shall provide that the insurance policy may not be canceled or materially changed without 30 days' prior written notice to the Harrison Township Clerk.
The towing operator shall agree in writing to assume the defense of and indemnify and hold harmless the Township, its elected officials, boards, commissions, officers, employees and agents, from all suits, actions, damages or claims to which the Township may be subjected of any kind and nature whatsoever resulting from, caused by, arising out of or as a consequence of the provision of towing, storage and/or emergency services provided by the towing operator pursuant to this chapter. Tow operators shall enter into a hold-harmless agreement in a form to be approved by the Township Solicitor prior to being included on the towing list.
Upon the receipt and review of a completed application, and upon the filing by the Chief of Police and Township Clerk of a written report of findings resulting from the investigation of the applicant and a recommendation of approval, the application shall thereupon be referred to the Township Committee of the Township of Harrison for consideration. If the Township Committee has determined to approve the granting of such license, it shall do so by resolution.
All licenses issued under this chapter shall be effective for a period of two years. The license shall begin on the first day of March and end on February 28. All licenses shall expire automatically; applications for renewal thereof shall be submitted not less than six weeks prior to date of expiration.
All towing operators, in order to provide services in nonpreference motor vehicle accidents or for the removal of motor vehicles from private or public property, as may be authorized by the Police Department, must be licensed by the Township of Harrison in accordance with this chapter. Towing operators must meet the ten-minute response time to be eligible for inclusion on the Township of Harrison Police Department tow list, and be principally located within a five-mile radius of the borders of Harrison Township.
[Amended 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
The list of licensed towing operators shall be maintained by the Police Department and shall be utilized on a rotation basis. The rotation shall be on a monthly basis, unless otherwise specified by the Police Department or in the event of emergency conditions. The towing and storage services shall be rotated among operators on an equal basis, by the month. There will be a maximum number of two licenses issued. Replacement of tow operators on the current list may only occur when there is a vacancy, provided that the replacement tow operators meet all the requirements set forth in § 204-4 of this chapter.
[Amended 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
The Police Department shall at all times have the right to call more than one operator from the tow list and in the correct rotation order when there is more than one vehicle impairing traffic.
In times of emergencies and/or natural disasters, the Township of Harrison reserves the right to contact other towing service operators who may not be on the tow list.
Licensed tow operators shall be subject to the minimum standards of the performance rules and regulations of the Harrison Township Police Department, including safety, availability, and compliance with the procedures established by this chapter.
If the Chief of Police determines at any time that a towing operator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the requirements of this chapter or the statutes and regulations of the State of New Jersey, the Chief of Police shall file a written report with the Township Clerk. The Township Clerk shall then notify the towing operator that the Chief of Police has recommended its removal from the Police Department towing list. The tow operator has 10 days to file a written appeal if in disagreement with recommendation of removal by the Chief of Police. The Township Clerk shall then schedule a hearing before Township Committee. After the hearing, upon the recommendation of the Township Committee, the Township Clerk may then remove the towing operator from the Police Department towing list if it is determined that the performance of the towing operator is unreliable and/or inadequate.
The tow operator shall cease towing of vehicles on behalf of the Township of Harrison upon notification by the Township Clerk that the tow operator is to be removed from the list, as recommended by the Township Committee. During this interim period between notification and the decision of the Township Committee, the tow operator shall be suspended from list eligibility.
Licensed towing operators agree to provide the following services on a twenty-four-hour basis:
Removal and transport of motor vehicles involved in a motor vehicle accident where the owner or operator of the motor vehicle, when appropriate, has not made a preference for the towing of the vehicle.
Removal and transport of a motor vehicle from private or public property as may be authorized by the Police Department or Code Enforcement Official of the Township of Harrison.
Removal and disposal from the Township or private property motor vehicles which, pursuant to state law and regulations, would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Harrison Township Police Department. Such vehicles shall be moved to such location as specified by the Harrison Township Police Department.
The storage of a motor vehicle removed and transported from the scene of a motor vehicle accident.
A towing operator responding to a tow shall be responsible for all site clean-up related to a motor vehicle accident, including the pickup and removal of all debris from the scene of the accident and containment of any hazardous fluids from the vehicle prior to tow, in accordance with the laws of the State of New Jersey, and all services as defined by state regulations and this chapter.
It is understood that the responsibility of the tow operator as established above in no way relieves the vehicle owner of their responsibility for the clean-up and removal of any debris or spilled fluids coming from their vehicle.
The towing operator shall ensure the proper utilization and deployment of safety devices.
If a licensed towing operator is unable to handle a particular situation for whatever reason, the Township shall have the right to use whatever means necessary to accomplish the removal, transporting and storage of motor vehicles.
No towing operator shall employ or subcontract any work to be performed pursuant to this chapter without having first obtained prior written approval from the Township of Harrison Police Department. Subcontractors must be licensed by the Township of Harrison, and on the current tow list. Any towing operator to whom approval to subcontract work has been given shall be responsible for the services performed by and the acts and omissions of the subcontractor, and shall remain liable for any violation of this chapter by the subcontractor.
[Amended 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013]
All towing operators shall provide a towing facility of sufficient exterior storage size to accommodate not less than 10 passenger vehicles, and not less than 400 square feet of inside secured storage facilities to hold and protect any vehicle or equipment utilized for evidentiary, crime scene and/or other "police hold" purposes.
The towing facility shall be staffed (by an employee or owner at the facility) during normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and include twenty-four hour telephone service, seven days per week, during the week in which the licensed facility is on call.
[Amended 2-19-2019 by Ord. No. 1-2019]
At no time shall any automobile towed by a towing operator be stored at any location other than the tow operator's facility, except where a vehicle is towed at the request of the owner to a specific location.
The towing facility's office shall be a permanent structure (not a construction-type trailer) which is ADA accessible and compliant.
The towing facility shall have a sign visible from the street identifying the business name of the tow operator.
The towing facility shall not be co-owned or co-leased by another person or entity that provides towing services to the Township of Harrison.
The towing operator shall provide not less than two light-duty, one medium-duty and one heavy-duty tow vehicles capable of handling the transporting of motor vehicles as defined in this chapter, and equipped to provide regular towing service as follows: up to 9,000 pounds gross vehicular weight is considered light towing service; 9,000 pounds gross vehicular weight and heavier is considered medium and/or heavy towing service; carry weight shall not be less than 4,000 pounds or less than that needed to carry the transported vehicle safely.
[Amended 2-19-2019 by Ord. No. 1-2019]
Each tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall be equipped with towing and safety equipment, warning devices such as lights, flares and flags to warn other automobile operators of the presence of a disabled automobile, and mechanic's tools to perform complete emergency work, including but not limited to the following:
All tow operators shall be required to wear a reflective jacket or vest when towing vehicles on the roadway and at all times shall exercise extreme caution and due safety.
At least one amber rotating beacon or strobe light mounted on the highest practical location of the vehicle, which when in use shall be visible from 360° at a distance of not less than 500 feet during daylight hours.
One snatch block per winch.
Safety tow lights or magnetic tow lights for towing vehicles at night. Safety tow lights, red in color, shall be mounted in the rear of the vehicle being towed.
Ample chains and cables for pulling or securing a towed vehicle. The working limit of cable shall be noted to include a minimum pulling capacity of 2,500 pounds, three-eighths-inch cable.
At least one broom, shovel, crowbar or prybar, jumper cables, flashlight, fire extinguisher or dry chemical type having capacity of not less than two pounds, one dozen flares or similar warning devices for placement at the scene of an accident or behind a disabled vehicle, not less than 10 pounds of dry sand or a drying compound for gasoline and oil spilled onto the roadway, and tools sufficient to enable the tow vehicle operator to perform proper and adequate emergency repair services for the tow.
Back-up alarms on all tow trucks.
All tow trucks must be in compliance with all safety equipment requirements as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 et seq. and 49 CFR 393.
Each tow vehicle shall display the two stickers issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections, State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, on the upper left and right side of the driver's door and passenger's door panel and shall have the name and number of the licensed tow operator displayed on the vehicle in such manner and of such lettering as to conform to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-46.
Towing operators and their employees shall provide all services required by this chapter at all times and shall be subject to the following requirements:
Possess sufficient knowledge, skill and ability to provide minimum road services for disabled vehicles and to adequately remove a vehicle from an accident scene without causing additional damage to the vehicle.
Not be mentally or physically impaired.
Obey all traffic laws, statutes, regulations and ordinances promulgated by the State of New Jersey and the Township of Harrison.
Be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or a designee and be approved by the Chief of Police prior to rendering any services pursuant to this chapter.
Be a member of and currently certified by the Towing Recovery Association of America (TRAA), WreckMaster, or similar national towing association.
The tow vehicles provided by the towing operator shall be of such type and design to properly and safely perform all towing services required by this chapter and shall at all times comply with New Jersey statutes and regulations and be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or designee.
All drivers of tow vehicles shall possess at all times a valid New Jersey driver's license and a commercial driver's license where applicable, which shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police.
The two vehicles provided by the towing operator shall be geographically located so as to permit a response time within 10 minutes.
The towing fees and storage fees established by the towing operator shall be conspicuously posted at the towing facility owned or operated by the towing operator, which fees shall not exceed the fees set forth in this chapter.
At all times the towing operator shall maintain the towing facility in a clean and orderly fashion. Reasonable measures shall be taken by the towing operator to prevent vandalism, theft or damage to automobiles stored therein.
In the event that automobiles which are towed and stored by the towing operator are abandoned or unclaimed by the owners thereof, the towing operator shall make no claim against the Township, its agents or employees. Only those vehicles towed from private property or public right-of-way under authorization of either the Code Enforcement Official or the Police Department, not including accident vehicles, shall be disposed of by the Township pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 or other appropriate state statutes or state regulations.
The towing operator operating pursuant to this chapter is an independent contractor and in no sense an agent, servant or employee of the Township. Said operator shall at all times maintain direct supervision, management and control over all of its employees and personnel engaged in the operation or services performed pursuant to this chapter.
The Township shall not be responsible for the acts of the towing operator in performing the services contemplated by this chapter. The towing operator agrees to save and hold harmless the Township from all manner of liability as a result of its actions or omission, whether of a negligent or intentional nature.
Towing operators approved for tow list eligibility shall be required to fulfill tow requests of the Code Official and/or the Police Department of the Township of Harrison. Failure or refusal to remove a vehicle pursuant to directive of the Township of Harrison shall be cause for removal from the approved tow list.
The tow operator shall be responsible for ensuring the proper, safe and secure storage of all vehicles towed. The tow operator shall be liable for any and all damage incurred by such vehicles while in transit to or while stored in or at the facilities of the operator.
All tow vehicles shall be owned or leased by the entity that is awarded a tow license by the Township of Harrison.
Every tow operator on the Police Department tow list shall maintain an inside building and outside secured storage area meeting the following requirements:
The outside secured storage area shall be capable of storing not less than 10 passenger vehicles and five tractor trailers (minimum 48 feet in length). The inside secured storage area shall have not less than 400 square feet to hold and protect any vehicle or equipment utilized for evidentiary, crime scene and/or other "police hold" purposes. The inside storage area shall be equipped with video surveillance with minimum 30 days of video storage capacity.
[Amended 2-4-2013 by Ord. No. 4-2013; 2-19-2019 by Ord. No. 1-2019]
The storage area shall be located either within the limits of the Township or at no more than a five-mile radius outside of the Township borders so as to facilitate reasonable towing distances.
Outside storage areas shall be fully enclosed by a fence of sufficient security to prevent trespassing, having a height of six feet, with at least one lockable gate for ingress and egress, and shall be lighted from dusk to dawn. (If the storage facility includes more than one access point, then all access points must be secured with appropriate gate and lock.) The outside storage area shall be equipped with video surveillance with minimum 30 days of video storage capacity.
[Amended 2-19-2019 by Ord. No. 1-2019]
The storage facility shall be available to the Harrison Township Police Department 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and shall be open to the public on weekdays during normal business hours and for limited but reasonable hours on Saturday. The operator shall specify the hours on which the facility will be open to the public on weekends. The storage facility shall release a stored vehicle to the owner thereof on such date as shall have been requested by said owner during normal business hours, after receiving the tow release from the Harrison Township Police Department. Storage charges shall accrue until the date the owner or owner’s agent takes possession of the vehicle.
[Amended 2-6-2012 by Ord. No. 7-2012]
The tow operator shall have an employee or owner on duty during all hours in which the storage area is open.
The tow operator may charge a release fee or other charge for releasing vehicles to their owners only after normal business hours or on weekends in an amount not to exceed $40.
[Amended 2-6-2012 by Ord. No. 7-2012]
No vehicles shall be stored or placed outside of the storage area.
The Township of Harrison shall not be responsible for processing of licensure and other documents required by the State of New Jersey with regard to vehicles left abandoned at a repair facility. Vehicles left abandoned at a repair facility, including those involved in accidents, are the responsibility of the repair facility, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-8.
When performing services under the Police tow list to tow and/or store a motor vehicle, the towing charge and storage charge(s) shall not exceed those charges as set forth on the Township's towing fee schedule.
The fees for towing, storage and related charges and costs shall be established and adopted by the Township Committee in January of each year. The current fee schedule will be filed with the Township Clerk and the Harrison Township Police Department.
The fees set forth on the schedules for towing rates are the maximum charges that shall apply to a motor vehicle for basic towing services.
The towing rates shall be calculated based on the total distance traveled from the tow vehicle's base of service to the job site and return, by way of the shortest available route. Fractions shall be rounded up to the nearest whole mile.
Tow vehicles transporting multiple motor vehicles at one time may charge the applicable fee for each such vehicle transported.
When towing services are required, the day rate shall apply when the vehicle is transported (pickup and delivery) entirely between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except recognized New Jersey state holidays. The night, weekend and holiday rate shall otherwise apply.
The Chief of Police shall post fees in the police station so the same are available to the public during normal business hours, along with a copy of this chapter and the fee schedules of the licensed towing operators.
Payment to the towing operator from the public shall include credit cards and personal checks, except for impounds which require cash only.
The Code Official shall be responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter pertaining only to storage areas.
The Township of Harrison Police Department may authorize the towing and storage of motor vehicles located on public streets or public property which are unregistered, abandoned, illegally parked, or which are permitted to be towed and stored pursuant to state statute or state regulations. Abandoned or unlicensed motor vehicles that are in Violation of the Township's Property Maintenance Code (Chapter 159) shall be subject to enforcement procedures as established in the aforesaid chapter.
A tow operator shall not tow motor vehicles located in the public right-of-way or on private property unless authorized to do so by the owner of the vehicle, the Police Department or the Township Code Official. This chapter, however, does not preclude a towing operator licensed by the Township or state from towing motor vehicles located on private property in accordance with state licensure privileges.
Motor vehicles which remain unclaimed by the owner or other person having legal right thereto shall be disposed of pursuant to the applicable provisions of Title 39 of the New Jersey Statutes. The last known owner of an abandoned vehicle, or the owner of the property from which an abandoned vehicle is removed, shall be responsible for all towing fees or charges, storage fees or charges, road service fees or charges, and any other fees permitted by law.
The Township shall make periodic inspections of facilities, equipment and service and, upon request, shall be provided full access to equipment or property. Such inspections shall be made quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, as determined by the applicable Township official, but in no case shall such inspections be made less than annually.
The Harrison Township Police Department, responsible for enforcement of this chapter, shall establish a procedure to process complaints received by the Police Department regarding any licensed towing operator including, without limitation, charging of fees in excess of those permitted hereunder, or damage to vehicles, and to notify a vehicle owner of the location of the motor vehicle towed. The Police Department will investigate any complaints. Any fee not specifically covered in this chapter shall have a "reasonableness test" applied for the purpose investigating the complaint.
The Police Department shall have the right to store at its own facilities motor vehicles towed at its direction or confiscated in suspected crimes. All licensed towing operators shall extend storage to the Township of Harrison Police Department at no cost and, if so requested, shall provide separate storage space for exclusive use of the Police Department also at no cost. Abandoned vehicles or vehicles confiscated by the Police Department are to be stored as authorized by the Police Department to assure protection of the vehicle and to provide security of said vehicle until appropriately disposed of by the Police Department.
All tow company owners will be permitted to apply for junk and abandoned titles for vehicles that are unclaimed after 30 days of storage. The tow company owner will be responsible for completing all the required paperwork and any and all fees associated with this process as defined under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1. The Township will send to the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles all completed paperwork after it has been verified. All titles approved by the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles will be then turned over to the tow company owner who applied.
All towing operators shall provide adequate public posting of charges at their primary place of business and storage facility.
Towing operators shall not pile vehicles or park towed vehicles on public streets or sidewalks or outside of the storage area.
All towing operators shall maintain a record of each motor vehicle towed, stored, and released, and of all services rendered. Such records shall be maintained at one central location and retained for a period of not less than five years.
Pursuant to the Spill Compensation and Control Act, including N.J.S.A. 58:10-23 et seq., any person in anyway responsible for a discharge of petroleum or hazardous substances shall be strictly liable, jointly and severally, without regard to fault, for all costs of cleanup and removal of the discharge from the public right-of-way and private property within the area of the spill. The tow operator and/or facility owner shall be responsible for the clean-up and removal of any spill or discharge of petroleum or hazardous substances at its storage facility. The facility owner may choose to take action against the vehicle owner for the cost of such clean-up and removal. The responsible party shall contact the NJDEP Action Line to report any spills or leaks as required by N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11(e).
Whenever any petroleum or hazardous substances are discharged on public property or within the public right-of-way, the Health Department may, in its discretion, act to remove or arrange for the removal of such discharge, or may direct the responsible party to remove or arrange for the removal of such discharge. The County Environmental Health Department shall monitor compliance with any clean-up directives. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 58:10-23.11(f), any person who fails to comply with a clean-up directive shall be liable to the Township in an amount equal to three times the cost of such removal.
Any motor vehicle towed or transported to the towing facility shall be stored and secured in the storage area.
If the towing facility's storage area is full or not capable of storing any motor vehicles, then in that event the towing operator shall be temporarily suspended from the Harrison Township tow list until such time the towing operator's storage area is capable of accepting motor vehicles for storage.
A license may be revoked or suspended at any time for just cause, by the Township of Harrison, for one or more of the following reasons:
If it is subsequently determined that the applicant, knowingly and with the intent to deceive, made false, misleading or fraudulent statements of material fact in the application or in any other document required pursuant to this chapter.
Conviction of a crime or disorderly person's offense involving moral turpitude, defined as conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty and good morals.
Violation of any federal or state law or municipal chapter or regulation relating to the operation of a motor vehicle or the provision of towing services.
Violation of any rules or regulation promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Insurance.
Once the licensee is notified of the suspension or revocation, they have the opportunity to be heard by the Township Administrator after filing a written appeal within 10 days. Such license, when so suspended or revoked, shall not be reinstated except for good and sufficient cause.
All prior ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with this chapter are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistencies.
Should any section, clause, sentence, phrase or provision of this chapter be declared unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this chapter.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon final passage and publication in accordance with law.