[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Albany 4-7-1997 by Ord. No. 28.102.96. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Common Council finds that illicit drug activity and other criminal and/or disruptive behavior is occurring on a continuing basis in the vicinity of certain outdoor pay telephones and that such activities are often facilitated by the use of such telephones. The Common Council further finds and declares that these uses of outdoor pay telephones constitute a public nuisance necessitating the regulation of the placement thereof to discourage these activities and to promote the welfare and convenience of the general public.
This chapter is intended to regulate the location of pay telephones available for use by the public on public property or on the exterior of buildings, the use or operation of which requires the use of the public right-of-way, for the purposes of deterring loitering, avoiding circumstances which encourage the potential for loud and boisterous behavior by congregating persons, minimizing any interference with pedestrian or vehicular traffic, preventing the undue proliferation of pay telephones throughout the City, ensuring aesthetic cohesiveness, preventing the price gouging of citizens, preserving the City's historic areas and maintaining the general health, safety, peace and tranquillity of the City.
No pay telephone on public property or on the exterior of a building, the use or operation of which requires the use of the public right-of-way, shall be installed, kept, maintained or operated in the City of Albany without a permit from the City.
Permits shall only be granted to firms, persons or corporations who or which have been certified by the City, upon such terms as determined and promulgated by the Commissioner of the Department of General Services and in accordance with the provisions hereof.
Application for certification shall be made in writing on forms provided by the Commissioner and shall provide the name, address, telephone and fax numbers of the applicant, employer identification number (EIN) or social security number, together with the name(s) and telephone numbers of any contact person and/or subcontractor to be employed by the applicant in the installation and maintenance of the pay telephones and such other information as required by the Commissioner. The applicant shall also certify that the operation, installation and maintenance of pay telephones will meet or exceed the following criteria and requirements:
All public pay telephone installations will conform to and be in compliance with all applicable City, state and federal laws, rules and regulations.
All public pay telephone installations will provide for emergency service under the E-911 system.
All public pay telephone installations will be convertible to one-way service or other restricted service at particular locations upon request of the City.
All public pay telephones shall allow police officers to make calls to the dispatcher at any time without cost.
All public pay telephone installations will be programmable to be turned off at particular times of day (while allowing E-911 calls to be made) upon request of the City.
The existence and submission of a maintenance and repair plan to ensure that all public pay telephone installations are inspected and cleaned at least once per week, not more than 10% of the applicant's public pay telephone installations are out of service at any one time and full restoration of service to any given telephone within 24 hours of a report of inoperability if the source of the outage is within the control of the applicant.
The willingness and agreement of the applicant to provide public pay telephone services to residential areas of the City underserved in terms of household telephones or other public pay telephone installation service and/or to other locations with significant emergency demands or as otherwise reasonably determined by the City.
The maintenance of complete and accurate books and records, including maintenance and repair history and including a compilation of all incoming and outgoing calls from each public pay telephone installation which shall be made available to the City upon its demand.
A permit granted pursuant to this chapter shall be valid for 12 months from the date of issuance.
Application for permits shall be made in writing on forms provided by the Commissioner and shall provide the name, address, telephone and fax numbers of the applicant, the location of phone to be installed, the name and address of the location's property owner. If the property owner is other than the applicant or the City of Albany, the applicant must provide evidence that the owner has agreed to allow a phone to be installed at that location.
Upon receipt of a permit application, including an application for renewal, the Commissioner shall send a copy of the application to the Alderperson of the ward in which the proposed public pay telephone(s) is to be located, or continued, for his/her comments. Comments and recommendations shall be accepted for a period of 14 days from the date of distribution. Notice of permit issuance, with any conditions or restrictions, shall be similarly distributed.
[Added 6-15-1998 by Ord. No. 36.61.98]
The design and appearance of all public pay telephone installations in areas or upon buildings within the jurisdiction of the Historic Resources Commission (Part 4 of Chapter 42 of the Code of the City of Albany) or the business improvement districts (Chapter 142 of the Code of the City of Albany) shall be subject to the review and approval of the Historic Resources Commission and/or the Business Improvement District Management Association, as the case may be.
All applicants shall be required to comply with the applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and any other applicable federal, state and local laws governing and relating to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Additionally, 15% of each applicant's public pay telephone installations shall be equipped with volume control equipment to enable persons with hearing impairments to access and utilize the telephones.
Except as otherwise provided herein, public pay telephone installations shall conform to the following requirements:
Pedestrian passage. Sidewalk clearance must be maintained so as to ensure a free unobstructed pedestrian passage of eight feet or 1/2 the width of the sidewalk, whichever is greater.
Crosswalks and sight lines. Public pay telephone installations shall not obstruct nor interfere in any manner with curb cuts or crosswalks and shall not interfere with free, unobstructed passage and unobstructed lines of sight for vehicular traffic.
Fire escapes and building access. Public pay telephone installations shall not be located so as to interfere with the normal operations of a fire escape nor where it will obstruct or impede the free use of any means of egress required by the Uniform Code.
Underground vaults and sewers. Public pay telephones shall not be installed in such a manner so as to affect the structural integrity of an underground vault or sewer.
Distances required. Public pay telephone installations shall not be installed within:
Three feet of a traffic sign;
Four feet of a traffic light;
Five feet of the end of a handicap access ramp;
A fifteen-foot radius of a fire hydrant;
Three feet from a grate or manhole on the curbline;
Fifteen feet of a sidewalk cafe;
Fifteen feet of a bus stop zone;
Four feet of a street light;
Three feet of a parking meter;
Three feet of a news rack or newsbox located at the curbline;
Three feet of a grating if the public pay telephone is installed at the building line and does not cover the grating or in any way impede the opening of the grating; or
Three feet of the edge of a tree pit or planter located at the curbline.
Distance from building. No portion of any public pay telephone or any structure or enclosure housing such telephone shall project horizontally more than 14 inches from the building line.
Number of public pay telephones at any location. There shall be no more than three public pay telephones installed along the curbline in an in-line configuration or within a single pedestal configuration.
Distinctive sidewalks. A public pay telephone shall not be installed on or result in the destruction, damage or removal of any part of a distinctive sidewalk. For purposes of this subdivision, "distinctive sidewalk" shall include but not be limited to a pavement of granite, slate, bluestone or brick.
Waiver by Commissioner. If the Commissioner determines that a public pay telephone installation is necessary in order to provide for the public health and safety, and the standards set forth in this section cannot be satisfied, he or she may waive such provisions of this section as may be necessary to permit such installation.
The Commissioner of the Department of General Services may issue a permit for a particular installation upon finding that:
The proposed installation will not unreasonably interfere with pedestrian traffic or use of the public right-of-way.
The proposed installation will not have an undue adverse affect upon adjacent property, the character of the neighborhood, traffic conditions or other matters affecting the public safety, welfare or convenience.
The Commissioner expressly retains the right to deny a permit. Grounds for denial shall be provided upon written request by the applicant.
Upon a finding of a violation of this chapter or other applicable rule, regulation, ordinance, local law or statute or upon other good cause shown the Commissioner may revoke a permit. The permit fee shall not be refunded.
[Amended 5-19-2008 by Ord. No. 25.42.08]
Applications for certification shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable processing fee of $325. Certification shall be effective for 12 months from the date of issuance.
Applications for permits to install public pay telephones shall be accompanied by a permit and processing fee of $100. Permit holders shall be given the right of first refusal for the renewal of such permits.
Unless the certification and permit process is complied with as called for herein, all existing public pay telephones installed prior to the effective date of this chapter shall be removed by the owner within 30 days thereof.
The Commissioner of the Department of General Services shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall promulgate rules and regulations in addition to those listed in this chapter to implement the same.
Any firm, person or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punishable by a fine which shall not exceed $325 or by imprisonment which shall not exceed 15 days, or both, for each offense. Each day in which the violation occurs shall be deemed a separate offense. The Commission is hereby authorized and directed to effect the removal of pay telephones and appurtenances placed or remaining in violation of this chapter with all costs of such removal to be paid by the owner of the pay telephone. The Commissioner shall provide written notice to the property owner and owner of the pay telephone, if available, that the pay telephone must be removed within 10 days from the date of the written notice. The Commissioner may remove any pay telephones remaining after the ten-day notice period and shall return the removed telephone to the owner only upon payment of the applicable charges relating to its removal and/or fines associated therewith.
[Amended 5-19-2008 by Ord. No. 25.42.08]
Any pay telephone removed by the Commissioner pursuant to this section which is not claimed by the owner within 30 days of removal shall be deemed abandoned. All abandoned pay telephones may be sold by the City pursuant to applicable law under the direction of the Purchasing Department and Board of Contract and Supply.
Editor's Note: Section 2 of Ord. 28.102.96, which immediately followed this section, provided that this ordinance shall take effect 45 days after its final passage and signature by the Mayor.