City of Rochester, NY
Monroe County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Rochester City Council 7-29-1983 by Ord. No. 83-317. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
TOWING
The moving of a motor vehicle by another vehicle for hire.
TOWING COMPANY
A person engaged in the towing business or offering towing services, whereby motor vehicles are towed or otherwise removed from one place to another by use of a vehicle designed or adapted for that purpose.
VEHICLE OWNER
The owner of a vehicle or another person authorized by the owner to operate the vehicle.
No person shall maintain or operate a towing company or operate a towing vehicle for hire, within the City of Rochester, without first having obtained a towing company license.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22; 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[1]
A. 
An application for a towing company license shall be made to the Chief of Police on forms prescribed by the Chief of Police. The application shall contain the name and address of the owner and operator of the towing company, as well as the name and address of the owner of the premises where the towing company is to be located and of the premises where towed vehicles are to be stored. Where the owner is not directly involved with the day-to-day operation of said towing company, the operator must also be included on the application. If a partnership, corporation or other business association is involved, the names and addresses of the partners, officers or principals shall be listed on the application, and the application must designate an operator who is involved in the day-to-day operation of the towing company. All addresses of persons involved shall be home addresses, listing street and number. The application shall also contain a complete listing of all towing and storage fees to be charged by the towing company. The Chief of Police may require such additional information as may be necessary in order to enforce this chapter and to ensure the safety of all persons.
B. 
The application shall contain the address of the towing company and of the location where towed vehicles are to be stored and the telephone number called to retrieve towed vehicles. The application shall also contain the hours during which the towing company will be open for towing and for retrieval of towed vehicles. All towing company premises, including the location of the towing company and the location where towed vehicles are to be stored, shall be in compliance with zoning, building, fire, safety and property maintenance codes.
C. 
Upon receipt of an application for a towing company license, the Chief of Police shall cause an inspection to be made by the appropriate authorities of the location of the towing company and of the premises where towed vehicles are to be stored, to determine compliance with zoning, building, fire, safety and property maintenance codes and whether public safety problems exist, and the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made of the background of the owner and the operator of the towing company. The Chief of Police and his or her representatives shall have the right to enter upon all such premises for the purpose of making such inspections during normal business hours.
D. 
The application shall also contain a complete listing of the vehicle make, year and license plate number of all towing vehicles to be used or operated by the applicant. All such towing vehicles shall have a properly affixed and current New York State motor vehicle inspection sticker.
E. 
Any towing company that tows motor vehicles without permission of the vehicle owner, from privately owned property in the City of Rochester, other than property which is solely residential and contains fewer than five residential units, shall list on its application the owner and address of every private property that it tows from and shall list the storage facility to which such vehicles will be towed.
F. 
The application shall also contain a complete listing of all drivers of towing vehicles and each driver’s New York State driver’s license number.
G. 
Any changes in any facts or information required on said application occurring after filing and before any action is taken on the application thereof shall be reported by the licensee in writing to the Chief of Police immediately.
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
A. 
The owner and operator of a towing company shall comply with all provisions of federal, state and local laws and ordinances relating to the conduct of the towing business and the use and maintenance of the towing company premises.
B. 
The owner and operator of a towing company shall comply with all the notices, orders, decisions and rules and regulations made by the Chief of Police and local officials with jurisdiction over the occupation and use of towing company premises.
C. 
The owner and operator of a towing company shall cause the towing company license to be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises of the towing company and shall also cause a copy of said license to be available for inspection in each towing vehicle used by the company.
D. 
All towing companies shall maintain all licenses required by the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, and all equipment utilized shall comply with said law and all applicable rules and regulations of the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. The equipment shall be in good operating condition, and all towing company personnel shall be properly trained and fully competent to perform their specific functions and shall so perform those functions in a courteous and orderly manner.
E. 
All towing vehicles used by a towing company shall have printed lettering and numbering on both the left and right front doors at least three inches high, in a color contrasting to that of the towing vehicles, setting forth the name, business address and telephone number of the towing company.
F. 
No towed vehicles shall be stored on a public street.
G. 
No towing company shall charge a fee in excess of that fee on file with the Chief of Police for any towing services.
H. 
A towing company shall, at the time of payment, deliver a receipt to a vehicle owner paying to retrieve a towed vehicle.
[Amended 9-19-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-293]
(1) 
The name, business address and telephone number of the towing company.
(2) 
The date the vehicle was towed and the date of the retrieval by the vehicle owner.
(3) 
The license plate and vehicle make of the vehicle towed.
(4) 
The starting and ending location of the tow.
(5) 
An itemization of all fees charged, including towing, storage and any other charges.
I. 
A towing company shall be responsible for all damage done to a vehicle while it is under the control of the towing company.
J. 
A towing company shall maintain accurate records concerning all vehicles towed, which shall contain at least the information required in Subsection H above. Such records shall be retained for at least three years after a towed vehicle has been retrieved. Such records shall be available for review at the towing company’s premises by the Police Department immediately upon demand.
[Amended 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
K. 
A license holder shall inform the Chief of Police immediately of any changes in the information which has been supplied on a license application. Fee changes shall be provided to the Chief of Police at least 15 days prior to their effective date.
L. 
The Chief of Police may promulgate rules and regulations to govern the operation of towing companies so as to provide for the orderly operation of said companies and to ensure the public safety of all persons.
M. 
The towing company’s storage facility shall be clearly marked and identified by proper signage which is in compliance with all zoning requirements and that is visible from the roadway, so that the owner or operator of a towed vehicle can easily recognize the location where a vehicle is stored.
[Added 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[2]]
[2]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
[Amended 5-22-1990 by Ord. No. 90-191; 5-12-1992 by Ord. No. 92-175; 6-18-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-201; 6-17-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-205[1]; 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[2]]
The annual fee for a towing company license shall be $350. Payment of the fee shall be due upon application for the license. There shall be a fee of $10 for replacement of a lost license.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 7-1-2008.
[2]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
Towing company licenses shall expire on August 31 of each year.
A. 
No person shall tow, remove, impound or otherwise disturb any motor vehicle other than an abandoned vehicle as defined in § 1224 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, without permission of the vehicle owner, from privately owned property in the City of Rochester, other than property which is solely residential and contains fewer than five residential units, unless there is posted on the property a sign at each entrance to the parking area, positioned so that the information on the sign is clearly and conspicuously visible to a driver as he or she drives into such parking area, and there is posted a sign in a conspicuous location along the perimeter of the parking area, positioned so that the information on the sign is clearly and conspicuously visible to a person viewing it from the parking area. At least one additional sign shall be conspicuously posted along the perimeter of the parking area, positioned so that the information on the sign is clearly and conspicuously visible to a person viewing it from the parking area, for each 50 parking spaces over 50 parking spaces contained on the property. The signs shall state that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the vehicle owner's expense and shall contain the towing company's name, the telephone number to call to retrieve towed vehicles, and the street address where towed vehicles may be retrieved. The signs shall be conspicuous both day and night and of a size at least 12 inches by 24 inches, but not to exceed 24 inches by 36 inches, with lettering at least 2½ inches high and in a color contrasting to that of the background. The towing company shall be responsible for assuring that signs meeting the requirements of this section are posted and maintained.
[Amended 9-19-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-293; 12-14-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-414[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided an effective date of 1-1-2011, except for an effective date of 4-1-2011 for the signage requirements in this subsection and that, until that time, "towing companies will be deemed to be in compliance with signage requirements if they are in compliance with the requirements in § 108A-7A as enacted herein or as in effect at the time of adoption of this ordinance."
B. 
In no event shall a towing company charge a fee in excess of $140 for towing, without permission of the vehicle owner, of passenger vehicles, including cars, pickup trucks and passenger vans, or motorcycles or minibikes, from privately owned property in the City. Storage fees for such towed vehicles shall not exceed the storage fees charged at the City Auto Pound pursuant to § 111-72G of the Municipal Code, and no storage fees shall be charged for the first 24 hours after the vehicle is delivered to the storage lot. No mileage fees or fees for an additional person or additional fees of any type shall be charged for such tows. A towing company must be open to allow for the retrieval of such towed vehicles between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. daily, and if the towing company performs towing services after 5:00 p.m., until at least one hour after the latest time such company provides towing services. The towing company’s telephone number to call to retrieve towed vehicles shall contain a message stating the hours during which a vehicle may be retrieved, the lot location, the fees, and that payment may be made by cash or by any major credit card or debit card. The telephone number shall also contain a system that allows callers to leave a message when their call is not answered.
[Amended 4-14-1992 by Ord. No. 92-127; 4-16-1996 by Ord. No. 96-126; 9-19-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-293; 12-14-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-414; 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-161; 6-18-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-157[2]]
[2]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 7-1-2019.
C. 
No person shall tow a vehicle from privately owned property in the City of Rochester, without permission of the vehicle owner, to a location outside the City of Rochester.
D. 
If a towing company has attached a vehicle to be removed from privately owned property in the City of Rochester to a towing vehicle and the owner of said vehicle arrives before said vehicle has been removed, said vehicle must be released to its owner upon tender of payment of an amount not to exceed $25. If the vehicle owner arrives before the vehicle has been attached to a towing vehicle, the owner shall be allowed to remove his or her vehicle without charge.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22]
E. 
The towing company shall immediately notify the Rochester Police Department of all vehicles towed from a location within the City of Rochester without permission of the vehicle owner and shall provide the Rochester Police Department with such information as the Chief may require.
F. 
No person shall place a parking boot on, or otherwise immobilize, a vehicle owned by another person which is parked on private property. This prohibition shall not apply to institutions for higher education and hospitals.
[Added 9-19-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-293; amended 11-25-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-375]
G. 
Any towing or storage charges accrued by the vehicle owner or operator shall be payable by the use of any major bank credit card or debit card, in addition to being payable in cash. The towing company must have enough bills and coins available to provide change on bills of $100 or less.
[Added 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[3]]
[3]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
H. 
Removal of vehicle from private property.
[Added 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[4]]
(1) 
No towing company, officer, employee, subcontractor or agent shall remove or cause the removal of a vehicle from private property unless, at the time the vehicle is to be removed:
(a) 
The property owner signs written authorization for removal of the vehicle by the towing company; or
(b) 
A current written agreement exists between the property owner and the towing company authorizing removal of illegally parked or unauthorized vehicles from the property.
(2) 
The written authorization for removal required by Subsection H(1)(a) must contain:
(a) 
A description of the vehicle to be removed, including the year, make, model, color, state license plate number, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle;
(b) 
The date and time of the vehicle's removal;
(c) 
The location from which the vehicle is removed;
(d) 
The reasons for removing the vehicle; and
(e) 
The signature of the property owner.
(3) 
The written agreement required by Subsection H(1)(b) must:
(a) 
Contain a clear election, signed by the property owner or the property owner’s duly authorized agent, which cannot be an officer or employee of the towing company, as to whether the towing company is authorized to remove illegally parked and unauthorized vehicles from the property at all times or only during the normal business hours of the property owner; and
(b) 
Be renewed at least annually and whenever there is a change in ownership of the property.
[4]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
I. 
Giving of items of value in connection with removal of vehicle.
[Added 12-14-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-414[5]]
(1) 
No towing company, officer, employee, subcontractor or agent, or immediate family member thereof, shall directly or indirectly give anything of value, other than a sign or notice required to be posted under this section, to a private property owner in connection with the removal of a vehicle from the private property.
(2) 
No property owner shall accept anything of value, other than a sign or notice required to be posted under this section, from a towing company in connection with the removal of a vehicle from the private property.
[5]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 1-1-2011.
A. 
The Chief of Police may deny a license or deny the renewal of a license to any applicant who does not comply with the provisions of this chapter or any rule or regulation promulgated under this chapter or who makes a material misrepresentation on a license application. The Chief of Police shall give written notification to an applicant of the reasons for the denial of a license.
B. 
The Chief of Police shall have the power to investigate and inquire into license applicants under this chapter and to require and enforce by subpoena the attendance of witnesses at such investigations.
C. 
When the investigation reveals that the applicant has violated either federal, state or local laws or rules and regulations, the Police Chief may authorize the issuance of a conditional license. The conditional license shall state the grounds for the conditional license, the conditions under which the applicant shall operate his or her business, be signed by the applicant, and contain a provision which provides that any violation of the conditional license, as solely determined by the City of Rochester, shall be deemed to be grounds for revoking the conditional license.
[Added 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2010 and that its requirements and fees would be in effect for all applications and license renewals submitted at any time for the 2010–2011 licensing year.
[Amended 6-19-1990 by Ord. No. 90-258]
The provisions of Chapter 68 of the Municipal Code shall be applicable to all licenses issued under this chapter. The Municipal Code Violations Bureau shall hear and determine charges involving violations of this chapter. Any person who violates this chapter shall be subject to the penalties set forth in § 13A-11 of the Municipal Code.
[Amended 6-15-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-196]
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the towing of a vehicle through the City of Rochester from a destination outside of the City of Rochester to another destination outside of the City of Rochester, nor to the towing of a vehicle from or to a destination outside of the City of Rochester as long as said vehicle is towed with permission of the vehicle owner by a towing company without a place of business or storage lot in the City of Rochester. This chapter shall not apply to the lawful repossession of vehicles where the required notice has been provided pursuant to § 425 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.