Chapter 7.18


7.18.010    Purpose.

7.18.020    Definitions.

7.18.030    List of Qualified Tow Truck Operators.

7.18.040    Qualifications.

7.18.050    Practices and Procedures.

7.18.060    Appeals.

7.18.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for impartial referral of City business to tow truck operators who are best qualified to serve the interests of persons within the City limits and to provide for regulations relating to impound and storage facilities for tow truck businesses whether referred by the City 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. 1051, Sec. 1, 2019; Ord. 907, Sec. 1, 2014)

7.18.020 Definitions.

(a)    “Police Department” means the City of Lake Stevens Police Department, and any of its uniformed officers, including on-duty reserve officers.

(b)    “Tow truck” means a motor vehicle which is equipped for and used in the business of towing vehicles with equipment as approved by the Washington State Patrol.

(c)    “Tow truck business” means the transporting upon public streets and highways of the City of vehicles, together with personal effects and cargo, by a tow truck of a registered operator.

(d)    “Tow truck operator” means any person who engages in the impounding, transporting or storage of unauthorized vehicles, or the disposal of abandoned vehicles.

(e)    “Tow rotation agreement” means the agreement which tow operators must enter into and abide by in order to be placed on the Lake Stevens tow rotation list. (Ord. 1051, Sec. 1, 2019; Ord. 907, Sec. 1, 2014)

7.18.030 List of Qualified Tow Truck Operators.

(a)    The Police Department shall establish and maintain a list of tow truck operators who meet the qualifications of this chapter and who are willing to accept police impounds and police referrals subject to the conditions of this chapter.

(b)    To be placed on the list of tow truck operators, applicants must enter into a tow rotation agreement in the form provided by Lake Stevens Police Department and be in compliance with all elements of the tow rotation agreement during the term of the agreement. City of Lake Stevens and Lake Stevens Police Department may amend the agreement from time to time as necessary to reflect changes in legal requirements by the City and by State laws.

(c)    Whenever police officers are called upon to impound a vehicle or refer a vehicle owner to a tow truck operator, the officers shall use the Police Department list of qualified tow truck operators referred to herein. The officers shall impartially rotate through all operators on the list and shall make reasonable attempts to provide an equal opportunity for business to all such operators; provided, that nothing herein shall be construed as granting any tow truck operator a vested right to do police impounds or other police-related towing services and nothing contained herein shall give rise to claims or liability against the City for failure to strictly adhere to the policies and procedure contained herein.

(d)    Nothing herein shall preclude any vehicle owner or operator from requesting services from a tow truck operator of such owner’s or operator’s choice, unless, in the opinion of the Police Department, the accommodation of such request would result in undue delay, an impact or potential impact to public safety, or a hazardous situation or condition.

(e)    The list of qualified tow truck operators shall be reviewed by the Police Department at least annually to determine if the operators are still in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and the tow operator agreement. A willful violation of any of the requirements of this chapter shall be cause for the Police Chief to suspend a tow truck operator from the list. Written notice of such suspension, and the terms thereof, shall be provided to the tow operator in accordance with the terms of the tow operator agreement. If any tow truck operator suffers three or more suspensions in a five-year period, the Police Chief may permanently remove such operator from the list. A suspension or removal from the list is subject to appeal as provided in Section 7.18.060. (Ord. 1051, Sec. 1, 2019; Ord. 907, Sec. 1, 2014)

7.18.040 Qualifications.

In order to qualify to be placed on the list of qualified tow truck operators, and to maintain qualification for the Police Department’s list or to conduct any business within the City limits, a tow truck business must comply with or satisfy all of the following requirements:

(a)    The tow truck business must hold a current business license from the City of Lake Stevens, provided tow truck businesses located outside of the Lake Stevens City limits while towing vehicles at the request of the owner of said vehicle into, out of, or within the City of Lake Stevens shall not be required to have a Lake Stevens business license. (Reference Section 4.04.040(b)(7).)

(b)    The tow truck operator must meet all of the requirements set out in the tow operator agreement.

(c)    The tow truck business must have a registered office address within 10 miles of the City limits of the City of Lake Stevens. (Ord. 1051, Sec. 1, 2019; Ord. 907, Sec. 1, 2014)

7.18.050 Practices and Procedures.

In order to continue its qualified status on the Police Department’s list, a tow truck operator shall comply with all terms of the tow rotation agreement. (Ord. 1051, Sec. 1, 2019; Ord. 907, Sec. 1, 2014)

7.18.060 Appeals.

If the Police Chief suspends or removes a tow truck operator from the City’s list, as provided in this chapter, written notice of the same shall be immediately sent to the tow truck operator at its place of business. The suspension or removal shall not be effective for a period of 10 days following the date thereof. If within the 10-day period, the tow truck operator files a written appeal with the City Clerk, the effectiveness of the order of suspension or removal shall be stayed until the City Land Use Hearing Examiner holds a hearing on the appeal. The City Land Use Hearing Examiner is hereby delegated authority to conduct said appeal hearings. The tow truck operator shall be given notice of the hearing date. The City Hearing Examiner may affirm, modify or reverse an order of suspension or removal. The Police Chief must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the tow truck operator is in violation of any provisions of this chapter. The decision of the City Hearing Examiner shall be immediately effective and shall be final. (Ord. 1051, Sec. 1, 2019; Ord. 907, Sec. 1, 2014)