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Impounding Illegally Parked Vehicles
538.01 Authority to remove and impound.
538.02 Approved storage garages.
538.03 Garage owner insurance requirement.
538.04 User fee.
538.05 Notification to owners.
538.06 Payment of charges without protest.
538.07 Payment of charges under protest; appeal.
538.08 Records of vehicles impounded.
538.09 Liability for fine or penalty.
538.10 Restrictions upon removal.
538.11 Hours for claiming impounded vehicles.
538.12 Unlawful redemption.
538.98 Enforcement remedies.
Removal by or at discretion of police - See Vehicle Code §3352
Power to establish removal and impounding procedures - See
Vehicle Code §6109 (a)(22)
Impounding in snow emergency - See TRAF. Art. 523
Parking generally - See TRAF. Art. 531
(a) The Police Commissioner and/or the Executive Director of the
Parking Authority is authorized to remove and impound or to order
the removal and impounding of any vehicle parked on any of the streets
of the City in violation of any provisions of law, including but
not limited to the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S.A.
3351, 3352 and 3353, or any ordinance of the City.
(Ord. 2010-11 - Passed 5/19/10.)
(b) Any vehicle (as defined in the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle
Code) whose owner is delinquent in payment of fines for five (5)
or more parking tickets as a result of his or her violation of parking
laws of the City or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall be prohibited
from parking on City streets and may be seized, removed and impounded
or immobilized by the Police Commissioner or the Parking Authority.
(Ord. 2010-11 – Passed 5/19/10.)
(c) The Police Commissioner is authorized to enter into contracts with all qualified Tow Operators, who meet the objective standards set out in the Tow Operator contract. The Tow Operators shall provide vehicle removal and impounding services pursuant to terms of such contract. The Parking Authority is authorized to enter into contracts with not more than six (6) qualified Tow Operators, who shall meet the objective standards set out in the Parking Authority contracts. The Tow Operators shall provide vehicle removal and impounding services pursuant to the terms of such contracts.
(d) The Police Department towing contracts will run for a one year period commencing January 1 and ending December 31. Applications for Police Department towing contracts must be received by the City no later than sixty (60) days prior to the commencement of the contract term. For the purpose of the 1996 contract term only, applications from any tow operator not currently under contract with the City will be accepted up until January 15, 1996. The contracts for tow operators currently towing for the City will commence on January 1, 1996. New tow operator contracts will commence the date the contract is fully executed. All contracts for the 1996 term will expire on December 31, 1996.
(Ord. 3500 - Passed 11/17/92; Ord. 3717 - Passed 12/05/95.)
Every Tow Operator which contracts with the City of Bethlehem as provided above, shall provide and maintain a single facility for the storage of at least ten (10) full sized
automobiles and a building capable of housing and securing at least
one (1) other vehicle. Such facilities shall be within the limits
of the City of Bethlehem. All vehicles towed under the provisions
of this Agreement shall be stored within City limits, upon or within
the facility maintained by each Tow Operator.
(Ord. 3116 §2. Passed 3/3/87.)
Every Tow Operator which contracts with the City of Bethlehem
as provided above, shall maintain at its own expense during the
full term of the contract, public liability insurance in the minimum
amounts of Current Requirements for personal injury damage, and
Current Requirements for each accident, and Fifty Thousand Dollars
($50,000.00) aggregate for property damage. In addition, such policies
of insurance shall name the City of Bethlehem as an additional insured.
(Ord. 3116 §3. Passed 3/3/87.)
The City and the Parking Authority are authorized to charge a reasonable fee to cover administrative duty costs incurred by the City in connection with each vehicle tow.
(Ord. 3116 - Passed 3/3/87; Ord. 3204 - Passed 8/2/88;
Ord. 3444 - Passed 12/3/91; Ord. 3717 - Passed 12/5/95.)
Within twelve hours from the time of the removal of any vehicle
under authority granted by this Article, notice of the fact that
the vehicle has been impounded shall be sent by the Police Department
to the owner of record of that vehicle. Such notice shall set forth
the location from which the vehicle was removed, the reason for
its removal and impounding, the storage garage in which it has been
impounded and where it can be claimed. The notice shall also inform
the owner of record that a written notice of protest and demand
for hearing may be filed if the owner feels that the vehicle was
removed contrary to authority. If any vehicle has not been claimed
nor notice of protest filed within fifteen days of the mailing date
of such notice to the owner, the Police Department may, upon request
from the storage garage where the vehicle is impounded, declare
the vehicle abandoned, as provided by the laws of the Commonwealth
(Ord. 2428 §4. Passed 7/2/74; Ord. 3177 §2. Passed 4/19/88.)
The payment of any towing and impounding charges authorized by this Article shall, unless a written notice of protest is filed and that protest is upheld at hearing, be final and conclusive, and shall constitute a waiver of any right to recover the money so paid. (Ord. 1769 §12. Passed 11/13/62; Ord. 3177 §3. Passed 4/19/88.)
If the owner of record of any vehicle removed and impounded under authority granted by this Article shall file a written notice of protest and demand for hearing with the Police Department, the owner shall be entitled to a hearing within twenty-four (24) hours of the filing of the notice of protest and demand for hearing, before a Hearing Officer designated by the City of Bethlehem. If the Hearing Officer shall uphold the protest, the owner shall be entitled to recover possession of the vehicle immediately, without payment of any towing and storage charges. If the Hearing Officer shall deny the protest, the owner shall be entitled to recover possession of the vehicle only upon payment of all applicable towing and storage charges. The rights of notice, appeal, and waiver of hearing shall be afforded to any protestant under this Article, such as is provided by the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code in other cases of summary offenses. (Ord. 3177 §4. Passed 4/19/88.)
The Police Department shall keep a record of all vehicles impounded
and shall be able at all reasonable times to furnish the owners
or agents of the owners thereof with information as to the place
of storage of such vehicles.
(Ord. 2428 §5. Passed 7/2/74.)
The payment of towing and storage charges shall not operate to
relieve the owner or operator of any vehicle from liability for
any fine or penalty for the violation of any law or ordinance on
account of which the vehicle was removed and impounded.
(Ord. 1769 §12. Passed 11/13/62.)
Deleted by Ordinance 2670, passed 9/14/79.
Every Tow Operator which contracts with the City of Bethlehem
and as provided above, shall release any vehicle towed, at any hour,
within the first twelve (12) hours of the tow. Thereafter, vehicles
will be released between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Monday through
Friday, and between 8:00 A.M. and Noon
Saturday, except holidays. Between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, and between 8:00 A.M. and Noon Saturday, except holidays, there will be no charge for the release of any vehicle. An additional charge of $10.00 will be added to the towing fee for a release at any other hour.
(Ord. 3116 §5. Passed 3/3/87.)
No person shall move a vehicle after it has been towed to an approved
storage garage without payment of all applicable towing and storage
charges, except as otherwise provided in this Article.
(Ord. 2048 §2. Passed 11/14/67; Ord. 3177 §5. Passed 4/19/88.)
(Ord. 3354. Passed 10/2/90 changed Article No. only)
Where any Tow Operator breaches terms of the contract, in addition to pursuing legal recourse to collect monies owed the City, the City may terminate the contract. (Ord. 3717. Passed 12/5/95.)
Whoever moves a vehicle after it has been towed to an approved storage garage without payment of the towing and storage charges shall be subject to a fine of fifty dollars ($50.00) for the first offense and one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each subsequent offense. (Ord. 3371. Passed 11/20/90.)