Chapter 10.38
TOWING, IMPOUNDMENT AND REDEMPTION OF VEHICLES

Sections:

10.38.005    Purpose.

10.38.010    Definitions.

10.38.020    Junk vehicles on public property.

10.38.030    Junk vehicles on private property – Public nuisance.

10.38.040    Violation – Penalty.

10.38.050    Towing and impoundment of unauthorized vehicles.

10.38.060    Towing services to be provided by qualified towing operators.

10.38.070    Qualification to act as a qualified towing operator.

10.38.080    Standards for qualified towing operators.

10.38.090    Determination of qualified towing operator does not grant vested right.

10.38.100    Authority to make regulations.

10.38.005 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a single location in the Chelan Municipal Code for regulations associated with dealing with unauthorized, abandoned and junk vehicles through the use of tow truck operators who are best qualified to serve the interests of persons within the city limits on an impartial basis, and to provide for regulations relating to impound and storage facilities for tow truck businesses whether qualified for referral of city business or not. This chapter supplements the regulation of tow truck operators by the Washington State Department of Licensing and the Washington State Patrol pursuant to Chapter 46.55 RCW. Any inconsistencies between state regulations and this chapter shall be resolved in favor of the state regulations. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).

10.38.010 Definitions.

Generally, the definitions adopted in the state towing and impoundment regulations are adopted as part of this chapter. In addition, and to provide emphasis, terms in this chapter shall have the following definitions:

“Junk vehicle” has the same meaning as set out in the state towing and impoundment regulations, to wit: a vehicle certified under RCW 46.55.230 or the city’s officer authorized to enforce the city’s building and zoning codes as meeting at least three of the following requirements:

A. Is three years old or older;

B. Is extensively damaged, such damage including but not limited to any of the following: a broken window or windshield, or missing wheels, tires, motor, or transmission;

C. Is apparently inoperable;

D. Has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it.

“Qualified towing operator” means a towing operator who applies to the city to provide towing services and maintains the standards set out in this chapter.

“State towing and impoundment regulations” means Chapter 46.55 RCW, as it may hereafter be modified or amended.

“Towing operator” means any person who engages in the impounding, transporting, or storage of unauthorized vehicles or the disposal of abandoned vehicles.

“Towing services” means the transporting upon the public streets and highways of the city of vehicles, together with personal effects and cargo, by a tow truck operated by a qualified towing operator.

“Unauthorized vehicle” means a vehicle subject to the impoundment provisions in Section 10.36.612, and the same meaning set out in the state towing and impoundment regulations, to wit: a vehicle left unattended in one of the following public or private locations:

1. Public Locations.

a. Those situations defined in RCW 46.55.113;

b. On a highway and tagged as described in RCW 46.55.085 for a period of at least twenty-four hours;

c. In a publicly owned or controlled parking facility, properly posted under RCW 46.55.070;

2. Private Locations.

a. On residential property;

b. On private, nonresidential property properly posted under RCW 46.55.070;

c. On private, nonresidential property, and not posted, after twenty-four hours. (Ord. 1470 § 14, 2014; Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012: Ord. 1146 § 2, 1999).

10.38.020 Junk vehicles on public property.

The provisions of RCW 46.55.230 providing for the determination, abatement and removal of junk vehicles on public property are adopted. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012: Ord. 1146 § 2, 1999. Formerly 10.38.005).

10.38.030 Junk vehicles on private property – Public nuisance.

A. Declaration of Public Nuisance. The existence of junk vehicles is declared to be a public nuisance. Pursuant to the authority of RCW 46.55.240, the city may abate junk vehicles on private property according to the procedures set out in Chapter 8.26, subject to the specific requirements set out in the following subsections.

B. Exemptions. This chapter shall not apply to:

1. A vehicle or part thereof that is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner, where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

2. A vehicle or part thereof that is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler or licensed vehicle dealer and is fenced according to RCW 46.80.130, as the same exists now or may be hereafter amended.

C. Notice. Before abatement and removal of a junk vehicle from private property, the city shall provide a notice in substantially the same form and content as set forth below by certified mail, with a five-day return receipt requested, to the owner of the land as shown on the last county equalized assessment roll and to the last registered and legal owner of record of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership:

Notice of Abatement and Removal of Junk Vehicle(s)

To: The Registered owner of the vehicle(s) described as follows:

Make  Model  VIN Number

And to: The property owner of record of that real property located at __________ Chelan, Washington.

YOU ARE HEREBY NOTIFIED that the above-described vehicle(s) must be removed within twenty (20) days from the date of mailing of this notice or the vehicle(s) described above shall be abated and removed by the City and the cost of such abatement and removal shall be collected from the last registered owner of the vehicle(s) or from the owner of the property, unless the owner of the property requests a hearing as explained in this notice and it is determined at said hearing that the vehicle(s) was/were placed on the property without the consent of the owner of the property and the property owner has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence.

You may request a hearing within twenty (20) days of the date of mailing this notice before the Chelan District Court by delivering a written request for a hearing to the Chelan District Court Clerk. You will be notified of the date, time and place of said hearing.

The City has the authority to abate and remove junk vehicles at your expense pursuant to Chapter 46.55 RCW, and Chapter 10.38 of the Chelan Municipal Code.

D. Appearance by Landowner. The owner of the property on which the vehicle or part thereof is located may appear in person at the hearing requested or may present a written statement for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle or part thereof on the property, providing reasons for the denial. If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle or part thereof was placed on the property without the consent of the property owner, and that the property owner has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the Chelan municipal court shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the vehicle or part thereof against the property upon which the vehicle or part thereof is located or otherwise attempt to collect such costs from the property owner.

E. Removal and Disposal. Twenty days after the notice of abatement and removal of junk vehicles has been mailed, or after a hearing, if such is requested, at which the city’s determination of nuisance has been affirmed, the Chelan County sheriff shall cause such vehicle to be removed and wrecked in a manner consistent with state towing and impoundment regulations, with notice of said removal sent to the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked. The city may operate such a disposal site where the city council determines that commercial channels of disposition are not available or are inadequate and it may make final disposition of such vehicles or parts, or may transfer such vehicle or parts to another governmental body provided such disposal shall be only as scrap. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012: Ord. 1287 § 6, 2004; Ord. 1146 § 2, 1999. Formerly 10.38.040 – 10.38.060).

10.38.040 Violation – Penalty.

Any person who shall abandon a junk vehicle or part thereof on private or public property within the city limits shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor subject to penalty as set forth in Chapter 1.24 as now exists or as may be hereafter amended. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012: Ord. 1146 § 2, 1999. Formerly 10.38.070).

10.38.050 Towing and impoundment of unauthorized vehicles.

The provisions of the state towing and impoundment regulations, specifically including provisions relating to the towing, impoundment and redemption of unauthorized vehicles at RCW 46.55.070 through 46.55.140, have been adopted by the city pursuant to Section 10.01.010, wherein the city adopted the Washington Model Traffic Ordinance, Chapter 308-330 WAC, which has adopted the portions of the state towing and impoundment regulations relating to the towing, impoundment and redemption of unauthorized vehicles. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).

10.38.060 Towing services to be provided by qualified towing operators.

Towing services required by the city, including the Chelan County sheriff, shall be accomplished through the use of qualified towing operators, on a rotational or contractual basis, such that requests for towing services shall be made from a list of qualified towing operators. The Chelan County sheriff shall not call or cause to be called any towing operator that is not a qualified towing operator, unless all qualified towing operators are unavailable. (Ord. 1542 § 1, 2018: Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).

10.38.070 Qualification to act as a qualified towing operator.

The city, including the Chelan County sheriff, shall review the qualifications and operations of those persons desiring to be a qualified towing operator, based on a review of an application therefor to the Chelan County sheriff’s office that provides the following information, plus any other information deemed appropriate by the city or the Chelan County sheriff’s office:

A. Legal name of the towing operator;

B. Business address and street address of the towing operator;

C. Telephone number through which the towing operator will receive calls for towing services;

D. The legal form of the towing operator, and if the towing operator is not an individual, the names and addresses of all persons having an ownership interest in the towing operator;

E. The location, size and security features of the storage yard on which towed vehicles will be stored;

F. The location to which the public must come to claim stored vehicles;

G. A statement of willingness to provide towing service on a continuous twenty-four-a-day basis each day of the year;

H. A list of the towing equipment, including its size and capacity;

I. A list of the insurance policies maintained by the towing operator;

J. A statement that the towing operator will accept responsibility for any and all personal property and for theft in towed and stored vehicles, along with a description of the place he would use to adequately protect the property left in towed or stored vehicles. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).

10.38.080 Standards for qualified towing operators.

Qualified towing operators shall provide towing services according to the following standards:

A. Towing operators shall hold current and valid permits from the state of Washington as may be required for the operation both of the towing business and the automobile storage yard.

B. Every person operating a vehicle in the provision of towing services shall be properly licensed as an operator for the particular type of motor vehicle equipment, including any specialized licensing provisions such as commercial truck driver’s license.

C. Employees shall be skilled and competent to operate their equipment and maintain their storage yard, and that the motor vehicle and towing equipment is at all times in safe and proper working condition.

D. Towing operators shall provide a tow vehicle of sufficient size and weight for the towing services.

E. All tow trucks shall be equipped with warning lights required under state law and have working two-way communications radio equipment on the same frequency as a base station located at the point where calls are received.

F. The towing operator shall provide continuous twenty-four-hour-per-day prompt service each day of the year and there shall be an attendant on duty at all times for the purpose of receiving calls and receiving and releasing stored vehicles.

G. The towing operator shall provide a limited coverage secure storage area, storage yard security (fence), and property protection.

H. The towing operator shall maintain general public liability insurance with limits of not less than three hundred thousand dollars and shall at all times keep on file with the city a certificate of insurance showing that such insurance is in force.

I. The towing operator shall not release any vehicle directly impounded by the city without authorization by the city, including the Chelan County sheriff.

J. The towing operator’s storage yard shall be located within a fifty-mile radius of the city limits of Chelan..

K. The towing operator shall execute an agreement to defend and save harmless the city, its officers and employees from any and all claims (real or imaginary) which may be filed by any person against the city for personal injury or property damage or loss growing out of the impound, towing and/or storage activities of the towing operator, its officers, agents or employees, except as to any act or omission of a city officer or employee. (Ord. 1542 § 2, 2018; Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).

10.38.090 Determination of qualified towing operator does not grant vested right.

A determination by the city that a towing operator qualifies as a qualified towing operator shall not be construed as granting a vested right in any of the privileges so conferred. The city may terminate a person’s determination as a qualified towing operator at any time. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).

10.38.100 Authority to make regulations.

The Chelan County sheriff is authorized to establish in writing and cause the enforcement of additional reasonable rules and regulations consistent with this chapter for towing operators as is deemed reasonable from time to time and appropriate for the safety, well-being and protection of citizens of the city. (Ord. 1445 § 3 (Exh. B) (part), 2012).