Chapter 10.32


10.32.010    Purpose – Applicable state law.

10.32.020    Impoundment authorization.

10.32.030    Impoundment without prior notice.

10.32.040    Impoundment after notice.

10.32.050    Impoundment procedure.

10.32.060    Notice of impoundment – Procedure for redemption.

10.32.070    Post impoundment hearing rights and procedure.

10.32.080    Other available remedies.

10.32.090    Contract for towing and storage.

10.32.010 Purpose – Applicable state law.

The provisions of this chapter authorize the impoundment of vehicles upon city right-of-way and city owned, leased or operated property, in accordance with Chapter 46.55 RCW. Applicable provisions of Chapter 46.55 RCW, as now or hereafter amended, are incorporated into this chapter by reference. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.020 Impoundment authorization.

Any vehicle parked on any city right-of-way or city owned, leased or operated property in violation of any law, ordinance or regulation is subject to citation by a law enforcement officer, and/or impoundment in accordance with this chapter by the law enforcement officer or a public official having jurisdiction over the right-of-way or property upon which the vehicle is located. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.030 Impoundment without prior notice.

A vehicle subject to impoundment under this chapter may be impounded without citation and without prior notice to its registered and legal owners under the following circumstances:

A. When the vehicle is impeding, or is likely to impede, the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic;

B. When the vehicle is parked in violation of a parking restriction sign, or when the vehicle is interfering, or is likely to interfere, with the intended use of the restricted parking zone;

C. When the vehicle poses an immediate danger to public safety;

D. When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle is stolen;

E. When a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the vehicle constitutes evidence of a crime or contains evidence of a crime, if impoundment is reasonably necessary to obtain or preserve such evidence; or

F. When the vehicle is parked in violation of any city ordinance, and has been issued four or more notices of the same parking violation, none of which have been responded to in accordance with city ordinance for at least 45 days from the issuance of the notice of violation. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.040 Impoundment after notice.

A vehicle not subject to impoundment under BIMC 10.32.030 may be impounded after it has been cited for a violation of any law, ordinance or regulation, or when it is deemed a junk vehicle, as defined in RCW 46.55.010(4). A notice of impoundment, pursuant to RCW 46.55.085, shall be securely attached to, and conspicuously displayed on, the vehicle for a period of 24 hours prior to impoundment. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.050 Impoundment procedure.

A vehicle impounded pursuant to this chapter shall be towed and stored by a tow operator selected in accordance with BIMC 10.32.090. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.060 Notice of impoundment – Procedure for redemption.

A. Not more than 24 hours after impounding a vehicle, the tow operator shall send by first class mail to the last known registered and legal owners of the vehicle (1) a notice containing the full particulars of the impoundment, the redemption procedure, and the opportunity for a hearing to contest the validity of the impoundment pursuant to RCW 46.55.120, and (2) forms for requesting the hearing. The tow operator also shall give the notice and forms to any person redeeming the vehicle within the 24-hour period.

B. The procedure for redemption of an impounded vehicle shall be in accordance with Chapter 46.55 RCW. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.070 Post impoundment hearing rights and procedure.

A. The registered or legal owner of the vehicle may request a hearing in the city municipal court to contest the validity of the impoundment. The request for a hearing shall be made on the form provided by the tow operator, and shall be received by the city municipal court within 10 days (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) of the date on which the notice and forms were mailed. If the request for such a hearing is not received by the city municipal court within the 10-day period, then the right to a hearing shall be deemed waived and the registered and legal owners shall be liable for any towing, storage and other charges authorized by Chapter 46.55 RCW.

B. The procedure for the hearing to contest the validity of an impoundment shall be in accordance with Chapter 46.55 RCW. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.080 Other available remedies.

A citation issued to and/or impoundment of a vehicle pursuant to this chapter does not preclude the institution and prosecution of charges in the city municipal court or other appropriate court for violation of any other provision of this code. (Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)

10.32.090 Contract for towing and storage.

A. The finance director is authorized and directed to prepare specifications for, and documents related to, the selection of tow operators for the towing and storage of vehicles under this chapter. The specifications and documents shall be approved by the city manager.

B. In awarding a contract to a tow operator, the finance director shall consider, among other relevant factors, the following:

1. General experience in providing towing and storage services;

2. Conduct and performance with a city of similar size and job scope or under a previous city towing contract demonstrating honesty, promptness, skill, efficiency and vehicle owner satisfaction;

3. Existing availability of equipment, facilities, services and personnel; and

4. Financial ability, storage capacity, location(s), types of services and willingness to improve or expand available equipment, facilities and/or services.

The contract shall be contingent upon proof that the tow operator is properly licensed to do business in the city and registered and licensed by the state in accordance with Chapter 46.55 RCW.

C. Subsequent to award of the contract, the finance director shall file a written statement with the city clerk providing the name, address, telephone number, facsimile number and email address of the contractor and the address of each storage place. The finance director shall administer and enforce the contract.

D. The tow operator shall comply with all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations, including Chapter 46.55 RCW and any regulations promulgated by the finance director for the handling and disposing of towed vehicles. The finance director may cancel the contract upon evidence that the tow operator has failed to comply with such laws, ordinances and regulations. (Ord. 2009-21 § 34, 2009: Ord. 2003-04 § 1, 2003)