City of Oneida, NY
Madison County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Oneida 11-5-1986 by Resolution No. 86-4. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building code administration and enforcement — See Ch. 33.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 61.
Noise — See Ch. 98.
Police Department — See Ch. 120.

§ 5-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "City of Oneida Alarm System Ordinance."

§ 5-2 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the City of Oneida by reducing the number of avoidable alarms to emergency agencies. Avoidable alarms contribute to ineffective utilization of public safety manpower and equipment. In addition, avoidable alarms require emergency responses which may contribute to a high accident rate and delayed responses to genuine emergencies. This chapter seeks to ensure that police, ambulance and fire communication facilities will be available to dispatch fire, ambulance and police personnel for actual emergencies and to alleviate the nuisance of audible alarms to the community. Another purpose of this chapter is to provide the city with the names of responsible people to contact in the case of activation of an alarm. This chapter is enforceable for the following structures:
A. 
Assembly.
B. 
Business.
C. 
Industrial.
D. 
Institutional.
E. 
Mercantile.
F. 
Residential.
G. 
Storage.

§ 5-3 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section:
ALARM BUSINESS
Any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity engaging in the business of selling, leasing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing any alarm system.
ALARM SYSTEM
A device or assembly of equipment which emits a signal which is intended to alert persons inside or outside a premises to the existence of a hazard or emergency or which is intended to alert emergency agencies by automatically dialing an emergency agency or which is connected to a private answering point for the purpose of reporting such alarms to emergency agencies, emergency communications center or other emergency agency. Excluded from this definition and chapter, however, is any residential smoke, heat or combustion detector not connected to any point outside the premises or intended to be heard or detected outside the premises.
[Amended 4-1-2014 by L.L. No. 3-2014[1]]
ALARM USER
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind in control of any building, structure or facility wherein an alarm system is maintained, except when the alarm system is a proprietary system.
AUTOMATIC DIALING DEVICE
A device which is interconnected to a telephone line and is programmed to select a predetermined telephone number and transmit by voice message or code signal an emergency message indicating a need for emergency response.
AVOIDABLE ALARM
The activation of an alarm system through mechanical failure, malfunction, improper installation, failure to notify for testing or maintenance or the negligence of the owner, user, custodian or lessee of an alarm system or of his employees or agents or through any other cause, which through direct connection to an emergency agency or which through notification of emergency agency by a private answering point or automatic dialing device or which through notification to an emergency agency by any other second party or means indicates that an emergency situation exists requiring emergency response within the City of Oneida, when, in fact, an emergency situation does not exist. An avoidable alarm does not include alarms activated by violent conditions of nature, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or any other similar cause beyond the control of the user of an alarm system. Activation of an alarm system under any circumstances in which the activator reasonably believes that an emergency exists is not an avoidable alarm.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
CENTRAL STATION
A fire detection system that is under the control and guidance of an outside agency that specializes in watch services. The alarm, in addition to alerting building occupants, will register in the central watch station. The watch service will then notify the local Fire Department.[2]
EMERGENCY AGENCY
Any Fire Department, Police Department or other law enforcement agency, ambulance company or other agency summoned to respond to an emergency situation; and the emergency communications center.
LOCAL ALARM SYSTEM
A signaling system which, when activated, causes an audible signaling device to be activated inside the premises within which the system is installed, excluding, however, any residential smoke, heat or combustion detection not connected to any point outside the premises or intended to be heard or detected outside the premises.[3]
PRIMARY TRUNK LINE
A telephone line serving an emergency agency or the Emergency Communications Center that is designated to receive emergency calls.
PRIVATE ANSWERING POINT
A business which offers the service of receiving emergency signals, monitoring said signals and relaying them to an emergency agency.
PROPRIETARY SYSTEM
An alarm system sounding and/or recording alarm and supervisory signals at a control center located within the premises protected by the alarm, which is not intended to alert persons outside of the premises on which the alarm system is located of a possible hazard and not intended to alert an emergency agency; the control center being under the supervision of the proprietor of the protected premises. If a proprietary system includes a signal line connected directly or by means of an automatic dialing device to an emergency agency or to a private answering point or to a local alarm system, it thereby becomes an alarm system, as defined in this section.
WATER FLOW ALARM
A sounding device activated by water flow detector or alarm check valve and arranged to sound an alarm which will be audible in all living areas over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.
[1]
Editor’s Note: This local law provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
[2]
Editor’s Note: The former definition of “control loop,” which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 4-1-2014 by L.L. No. 3-2014, which local law provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
[3]
Editor’s Note: The former definition of "municipal or auxiliary system," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 4-1-2014 by L.L. No. 3-2014, which local law provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.

§ 5-4 Exemptions.

A. 
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to proprietary alarm systems and residential smoke, heat or combustion detectors not connected to any point outside the premises or intended to be heard or detected outside the premises. Permits shall be required for alarm systems located in buildings of federal, state and city governmental agencies as well as others required by federal, state, county or municipal statute, regulation, rule or ordinance to install, maintain or operate an alarm system. No alarm user permit required under this chapter shall be revoked if such system is required by federal, state or local law.
B. 
However, all other provisions of this chapter shall apply to such systems, including the payment of authorized fees.

§ 5-5 User permits; fees.

A. 
Required. No person shall own, use, lease, operate or maintain an alarm system within the City of Oneida, unless such a person shall have first obtained from the city and have in effect a permit for such alarm.
B. 
Application.
(1) 
In order to obtain an alarm user permit, any person who operates an alarm system shall submit an application for such permit in the form designated by the city, which application shall contain the following:
(a) 
The name and home address of the person applying for a permit.
(b) 
The address of the premises upon which the alarm system is or will be located.
(c) 
The type of alarm system for which the permit is sought.
(d) 
The telephone number of the person applying for the permit.
(e) 
The name of the alarm business or businesses selling, installing, monitoring, inspecting, responding to and/or maintaining the alarm system.
(f) 
The name and telephone number of at least one other person who can be reached at any time day or night and who is authorized by the owner of the premises in which the system is installed to open the premises.
(g) 
Any other information that the city may require.
(2) 
Every application for an alarm user permit shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee. No alarm user permit shall be granted unless the fee is submitted at time of application. Fees shall be established by resolution of the Common Council. Such fees may thereafter be amended from time to time by like resolutions.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12; 4-1-2014 by L.L. No. 3-2014[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This local law provided an effective date of 1-1-2016.
(3) 
Upon receipt of a properly executed application, an investigation of the facts on the permit application shall be conducted by the Fire Department for all fire alarm systems. If the investigation reveals that the provisions of Subsection B have been met and the applicant's system would not then be in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, the city shall issue an alarm user permit to the applicant. Alarm user permits shall not be transferable and shall be maintained on the premises where the alarm system is located. Such permits shall be made available for inspection by fire or police officers as appropriate.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
C. 
Duration of permit. An alarm users permit shall expire on July 1 of the next year following its issuance.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
D. 
False alarms; permit revocation.
(1) 
Any alarm system which has four or more false alarms within a permit year shall be subject to permit revocation as provided herein.
(2) 
If an emergency agency records four or more false alarms within a permit year for any alarm system:
(a) 
The Fire Chief, if a fire alarm system is involved, shall notify the alarm user and the alarm business providing service or inspection to the user by certified mail of such fact and direct that the user submit a report to the Chief within 10 days of receipt of the notice describing actions taken or to be taken to discover and eliminate the cause of false alarms or why any such alarm should not be classified as an avoidable alarm. Such notice shall also inform the user that avoidable alarms, greater than four in number, will be subject to a user fee to be determined by resolution of the Common Council for each such avoidable alarm in excess of four. Payment of such fees shall be paid prior to renewal of said permit.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
(b) 
If the alarm user submits a report as directed, the Chief shall determine if the actions taken or to be taken will prevent the occurrence of false alarms; if he determines that the action will prevent the occurrence of false alarms, he shall notify the alarm user and the relevant alarm business by certified mail that the permit will not be revoked at that time and that if one more false alarm occurs within the permit year, the permit will be summarily revoked, subject to the procedure described in the following Subsection D(2)(c). The Chief shall also notify the user of the number of alarms he has determined to be avoidable alarms and of the user's right to a hearing on the classification of the alarms, provided that more than four have been found. The user shall exercise such right by filing with the Chief a written request for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the Chief's notice that he has determined the user to have incurred in excess of four avoidable alarms.
(c) 
If no report is submitted or if the Chief determines that the action taken or to be taken will not prevent the occurrence of false alarms, the Chief shall give notice by certified mail to the user that the permit will be revoked without further notice on the 10th day after the date of the notice, provided that the user does not file, within that period, a written request for a hearing. The Chief shall also include notice of the number of alarms he has determined to be avoidable alarms, of the user's right to a hearing on the classification of alarms, provided that more than four have been found, and the manner of requesting the same as above provided.
(d) 
If a hearing is requested, written notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be served on the user by the Chief by certified mail at least 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing, which date shall not be more than 21 nor less than 10 days after the filing of the request for hearing.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
(e) 
The hearing shall be before the Commissioner of Public Safety and the Chief and the alarm user shall have the right to present written and oral evidence, subject to the right of cross examination. If the Commissioner determines that four or more false alarms have occurred in a permit year and that the user has not taken reasonable and appropriate actions to discover and prevent the occurrence of false alarms, the Commissioner shall issue written findings to that effect and an order revoking the user's permit. If the user has presented the issue by filing of the required written request, the Commissioner shall also determine the number of avoidable alarms which have occurred during the permit year and the amount of the additional avoidable alarm fee then accrued. Judicial review of the determinations of the Commissioner may be had only pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.
(f) 
An alarm user shall immediately discontinue use of the alarm system upon being notified by certified mail of the revocation of a permit pursuant to Subsection D(2)(b), (c) or (e) of this section.
(g) 
An alarm user whose permit is revoked may reinstate the same by submission of proof that modifications have been made to the alarm system to reduce the number of avoidable alarms and by payment of an excessive use fee, to be determined by resolution of the Common Council, together with the fee for the accrued number of avoidable alarms in excess of four. Should another avoidable alarm occur during the life of the permit, the same shall be subject summary revocation. In such a case, the revocation shall be effective on the third day following the mailing, by certified mail, of a notice of revocation by the Chief of fire.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
E. 
Renewal of permit. At the end of the permit year, the city shall notify the alarm system user of the necessity of renewing the permit. Such notice shall contain an accounting of all avoidable alarms by the user's system during the previous year.
(1) 
A renewed permit shall be issued upon payment of a renewal fee to be determined by resolution of the Common Council, and any avoidable alarm fees from the previous permit year.
[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
(2) 
No renewal shall be granted until a new application, with current information, is submitted with the appropriate fees.
F. 
If a permit lapses, no new permit shall be granted unless the alarm user applicant shall pay all outstanding excessive use fees and additional avoidable alarm fees accrued during the three years previous to the application for a new permit.

§ 5-6 Operation without permit; penalties for offenses.

[Amended 12-19-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000]
Violators of § 5-5A shall be guilty of a violation and subject to a fine of not more than $250 or 15 days imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment. However, if the alarm user obtains a permit within 25 days, the charges shall be dismissed.

§ 5-7 Automatic dialing device; certain interconnections prohibited.

A. 
It is unlawful for any person to program an automatic dialing device to select a primary trunk line, including any line assigned to the Oneida Police or Fire Departments; and it is unlawful for an alarm user to fail to disconnect or reprogram an automatic dialing device which is programmed to select a primary trunk line within 12 hours of receipt of written notice from the Fire or Police Chief that it is so programmed.
B. 
Within 60 days after the effective date of this chapter, all existing automatic dialing devices programmed to select a primary trunk line shall be reprogrammed or disconnected.

§ 5-8 Instructions.

[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
Every alarm business installing or operating systems within the City of Oneida shall provide all alarm system purchasers or lessees with written instructions that provide adequate information to enable the alarm user to operate the alarm properly. A current copy of all such written instructions shall be furnished to the City.

§ 5-9 Emergency communications center interface.

[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
Alarm systems which are interconnected or otherwise transmit signals directly to the Madison County E911 Center, Oneida, New York, shall be subject to the laws, rules and regulations and penalties adopted by the County of Madison, relating to such systems.

§ 5-10 (Reserved) [1]

[1]
Editor’s Note: Former § 5-10, Connecting to municipal fire alarm system; fee, was repealed 4-1-2014 by L.L. 3-2014, which local law provided an effective date of 1-1-2016. Section 4 of L.L. No. 3-2014, which repealed this § 5-10, also stated that maintenance by the City of Oneida of all alarm wire on a control loop shall be discontinued.

§ 5-11 Implementation and education.

[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
The Fire Chief is hereby directed to develop procedures necessary to implement this chapter and to commence an ongoing public education to inform users and potential users of alarm systems of the requirements and purpose of this chapter. Said education program shall also serve to increase public awareness of the cost and danger of false alarms, tending to reduce their number.

§ 5-12 Confidentiality; statistics.

[Amended 11-20-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
All information submitted in compliance with this chapter shall be held in the strictest confidence and shall be deemed a public record exempt from disclosure pursuant to state statute; and any violation of confidentiality shall be deemed a violation of this chapter. The Chief shall be charged with the sole responsibility for the maintenance of all records of any kind whatsoever under this chapter. Subject to the requirements of confidentiality, the Chief shall develop and maintain statistics having the purpose of assisting alarm system evaluation for use by members of the public.

§ 5-13 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 12-19-2000 by L.L. No. 6-2000]
Unless otherwise herein specifically stated, a violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a violation, punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or 15 days imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment.