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Atlanta GA's Booting Ordinance

In a city where there IS an ordinance supporting private vehicular immobilization, the rules look something like this. In Atlanta, this is exactly what they look like. However; the GPA and other companies are operating in Dekalb County where no such ordinance exist. It seems to be clear why. They're boot occupied vehicles. They're charging outrageous fees. They're booting unabandoned vehicles. They're sharing the revenue with the station owner.

 

ARTICLE V. VEHICLE IMMOBILIZATION SERVICES [5]


Sec. 162-251. Definitions.

The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Impound shall mean any means to prohibit a motor vehicle's usual manner of movement or operation, either by the installation of vehicle immobilization device or by towing.

On-site vehicle immobilization services shall mean entities that do not operate parking facilities as their primary purpose, including, but not limited to, educational institutions, houses of worship, restaurants, shopping centers and freestanding establishments with adjacent parking for patrons, customers, or invitees that use vehicle immobilization devices as a method of parking control.

Operator shall mean any person, including a sole proprietor, independent contractor, partnership or similar business entity, operating vehicle immobilization devices for a vehicle immobilization service.

Vehicle immobilization device, device or boot shall mean any mechanical device that is designed or adopted to be attached to a wheel, tire, or other part of a parked motor vehicle so as to prohibit the motor vehicle's usual manner of movement or operation.

Vehicle immobilization service or service shall mean a person, including a sole proprietor, independent contractor, partnership or similar business entity, offering services anywhere in the territorial limits of the city whereby vehicles are immobilized by the installation of a vehicle immobilization device.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 2, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-252. Compliance required.

It shall be unlawful for any operator or vehicle immobilization service to operate within the city without complying with this article.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 3, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-253. License to operate a vehicle immobilization service.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any vehicle immobilization service to operate within the territorial limits of the city without having obtained a license granted by the chief of police, or his or her designee, as provided in this article.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any vehicle immobilization service to be licensed hereunder if that vehicle immobilization service is also engaged in the business of parking lot ownership of operations or valet parking operations.

(c) Every vehicle immobilization service desiring to obtain a license required by this article shall file an application with the Licenses and Permits Unit of the City of Atlanta Police Department on forms to be prepared and approved by the unit. The application shall state the name and address of the applicant; where the proposed business is to be located; nature and character of the business to be carried on; if a partnership, the names of the partners; if a corporation, the names of the officers; the charges to be imposed for various services; amounts and types of insurance held; such other information as may be required by the police or license review board; and shall be sworn by the applicant or agent thereof.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 4, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-254. Permit to operate as an operator of a vehicle immobilization service.

(a) Every operator desiring to obtain a permit required by this article shall file an application with the licenses and permits unit of the city's police department on forms to be prepared and approved by the unit. The application shall state the name and address of the applicant; the applicant's address and telephone number; drivers license number or state issued identification number; and such other information as may be required by the police or license review board; and shall be sworn by the applicant.

(b) Once issued, operators shall carry with them their permit at all times when they are in the process of installing a vehicle immobilization device.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person to be an operator without first having been fingerprinted by the Atlanta Police Department and having been issued a permit by the city's police department indicating that such person is eligible to be an operator of a vehicle immobilization service or device.

(d) The city police department shall conduct a complete search relative to any police record of the person fingerprinted. If there is a record of a violation of this article, no license will be issued and the person shall be ineligible to be an operator of any vehicle immobilization service or device within the city; however any person denied a license under this section shall have the right of appeal to the license review board.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 5, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-255. General requirements for applicants of a license or permit.

(a) All applicants, whether they are a vehicle immobilization service or an operator, shall furnish all data, information and records relevant to their application requested of them by the license review board or the city's police department, and failure to furnish this data, information and records within 30 days from the date of the request shall automatically result in the dismissal, with prejudice, of the application. Applicants, by filing an application, agree to produce for oral interrogation any person requested by the license review board, the Atlanta Police Department or the city attorneys' office, who is under the applicants' control who possess or may possess knowledge of facts relevant to the application. The failure to produce a person within 30 days after being requested to do so shall result in an automatic dismissal of the application. Persons under an applicant's control are the partners of the applicant if the applicant is a partnership, the officers of the applicant if the applicant is a corporation, and/or employees, officers or agents of the applicant.

(b) No license or permit under this article shall be issued to any person who has been convicted in this or any other country within three years immediately prior to the application for a license or permit of a crime involving solicitation for prostitution, distribution of possession of illegal narcotics, sex offenses or any other crime involving moral turpitude. Further, to be eligible for a permit under this article, the person applying must possess a current driver's license or state issued identification as provided by the laws of the state. Any person denied a license or a permit under this section or any person whose license or permit may be revoked under this section shall have the right to appeal this denial or revocation to the license review board as provided in section 162-259 of this article.

(c) Should any person with a license or a permit obtained pursuant to this article be charged with committing any crime as described in subsection (b) above, then such charge shall constitute the basis for adverse action, including suspension or revocation.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 6, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-256. Registration of vehicles used by a vehicle immobilization service.

It shall be unlawful for any person, either as principal, agent or employee, to use or to operate within the city any vehicle assisting in the operation of a vehicle immobilization service without first having filed a registration for such vehicle with the city's police department upon forms to be furnished by the department. All registrations for each vehicle utilized shall expire on December 31st of each year and shall be renewed between December 1st and December 31st of each year. The information for registration shall contain the following:

(1) The make, model and manufacturer's serial number of the vehicle;

(2) Date the vehicle was put into service to assist in the operation of a vehicle immobilization service;

(3) The driver's license number of operators of the vehicle;

(4) The name of the insurance company with which the owner of the vehicle and all operators have liability insurance coverage with respect to the operation of the vehicle, as required by law;

(5) The permit number of each operator who shall drive or operate the vehicle on behalf of the vehicle immobilization service; and

(6) Such other information related to the vehicle as may be required by the Atlanta Police Department.

 

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 7, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-257. Application, license and permit fees.

(a) Upon the filing of a completed application, the non-refundable application fee for all applicants seeking a vehicle immobilization service license shall be $100.00. This application fee shall be submitted with the application and be made payable to the licenses and permits unit of the city's police department.

(b) Upon approval of an application for a vehicle immobilization service license, the annual license fee shall be $500.00.

(c) Upon the filing of a completed application, the non-refundable application fee for all applicants seeking an operator's permit shall be $25.00. This application fee shall be submitted with the application and be made payable to the licenses and permits unit of the city's police department.

(d) Upon approval of an application for an operator's permit, the annual permit fee shall be $50.00.

(e) The annual fees set forth in this section shall be prorated starting with the date the license or permit is issued to December 31st of the first year of operation as needed.

 

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 8, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-258. General requirements for vehicle immobilization services and operators.

(a) It shall be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to procure a license or a permit by fraudulent conduct or a false statement of a material fact.

(b) It shall be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to pay in the form of a gratuity any person who does not own or operate a commercial parking lot for information as to illegally parked vehicles.

(c) It shall be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to make any payment to an owner, employee, agent or a person in possession of a commercial parking lot in excess of the reasonable and customary fee ordinarily charged by the owner or person in possession of the parking lot for parking thereon, such payment shall be considered a kickback.

(d) It shall be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to charge fees in excess of those set out in section 162-260 of this article.

(e) It shall be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to immobilize any vehicle located on any portion of a public street within the city, unless properly authorized in writing by the chief of police of the city or properly authorized to act as a parking management service on behalf of the city.

(f) A vehicle immobilization service must maintain a 24-hour a day, 365 days per year phone number that is staffed by a live operator to communicate immediately with a driver of vehicle that has been immobilized by the vehicle immobilization service.

(g) It shall be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to immobilize vehicles at any off-street parking facility, vacant lot, or other private property without having a valid written contract specifically for such services entered into with the private property owner or lawful lessee thereof.

(h) It shall be unlawful for a vehicle immobilization service or operator to fail to arrive on the site where the vehicle was immobilized within one hour of being contacted by the owner, driver or person in charge of the vehicle. It shall also be unlawful for either a vehicle immobilization service or an operator to fail to release vehicles from immobilization within one hour after receipt of payment from the owner, driver or person in charge of a vehicle that has been immobilized by a vehicle immobilization device.

(i) It shall be unlawful for a vehicle immobilization service or operator to fail to provide a receipt of payment of the booting fee to the owner, driver or person in charge of a vehicle. The receipt shall have the following information: The name, address, and phone number of the vehicle immobilization service or company and the name and signature or the person who applied/removed the boot or vehicle immobilization device.

(j) In the event that the application of a vehicle immobilization device damages a vehicle, then the service must pay the cost of repairs for that damage.

(k) In the event that the owner or operator of a vehicle, to which an immobilization device has been applied, attempts to operate said vehicle or remove the device, then the vehicle immobilization service is not liable for any damage to that vehicle. Additionally, the owner, drive or person in charge of the vehicle will be liable to the vehicle immobilization service for the cost of damage to the vehicle immobilization device.

(l) A vehicle immobilization service must procure reasonable insurance, as determined by the license and permits unit of the city's police department, to cover damage caused to vehicles by the use of a vehicle immobilization device.

(m) A vehicle immobilization service shall keep copies of permits issued to its operators under this article in their place of business so that they may be inspected by any member of the Atlanta Police Department at any time.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 9, 11-28-00; Ord. No. 2009-42(09-O-0765), § 3, 7-28-09)

Sec. 162-259. Enforcement.

(a) The chief of police of the city's police department or the chief's designee may recommend the revocation, suspension, the imposition of a fine, or non-renewal of a license of a vehicle immobilization service or a permit of an operator for due cause. As used in this section, the term "due cause" includes the violation of any section of this article by a vehicle immobilization service or an operator.

(b) No adverse action shall be taken regarding any license or permit pursuant to this article until and after notice has been provided and a hearing has been held before the license review board to determine just cause for such action. Notice of such hearing shall be given in writing and served at least five days prior to the date of the hearing thereon. The notice shall state the grounds of the complaint against the holder of such license or permit and shall designate the time and place where such hearing will be held.

(c) The notice shall be served upon the license or permit holder by delivering the notice personally or by leaving such notice at the place of business or residence of the license or permit holder in the custody of a person of suitable age and discretion. If the license or permit holder cannot be found and the service of notice cannot be otherwise made in the manner provided in this section, a copy of such notice shall be mailed registered postage, fully prepaid, addressed to the license or permit holder at the license or permit holder's place of business or residence at least eight days prior to the date of such hearing.

(d) The license review board shall conduct the hearings and report its conclusions and recommendations to the mayor. The mayor, upon receiving the report, may, within 60 days, deny applications for new licenses and may revoke, suspend or refuse to renew any license. In lieu of suspension, revocation or the failure to renew, the mayor may impose a fine upon any vehicle immobilization service or operator, such fine not to exceed $1,000.00 for each violation of this article. The decision of the mayor may be appealed to the Fulton County Superior Court by filing a writ of certiorari.

(e) Any vehicle immobilization service whose license has been revoked or an operator whose permit has been revoked pursuant to this Code section shall be disqualified from reapplying for such a license or permit for 12 months immediately following the revocation. The violation of any provision of this article by any person with any ownership interest in a vehicle immobilization service may result in the revocation of the vehicle immobilization service's license.

(f) The actions of an operator working within the scope of his employment for a vehicle immobilization service can be attributed to the vehicle immobilization service for purposes of determining due cause under this section.

(g) The maximum fine for any violation of this article shall be $1,000.00. The maximum suspension for any one violation of this article shall be 30 days.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 10, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-260. Fees charged by vehicle immobilization service.

(a) Any vehicle immobilization service, engaged in the business of the immobilization of vehicles, shall not charge the owner of any immobilized vehicle or personal property, in excess of $75.00 per day for the removal of the vehicle immobilization device or devices. The $75.00 fee shall be all-inclusive; no additional fees may be charged for using other equipment.

(b) Fees may be paid by cash, check, credit card, or debit card at no additional charge.

 

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 11, 11-28-00; Ord. No. 2009-63(09-O-1069), § 1, 10-27-09)

Sec. 162-261. Signs.

It shall be unlawful for any person hired by an owner of any private property, or his agent or employee, located within the territorial limits of the city to install or attach to any vehicle a vehicle immobilization device(s), boot(s), or other instrument(s) that is/are designed to, or have the effect of, restricting the normal movement of such vehicle or by any other means whatsoever to restrict the normal movement of such vehicle, unless the owner of the property, or his agent or employee, has complied with all applicable city zoning ordinances regarding the posting of signs and the following requirements:

(1) Signs shall be located at each designated entrance to a parking lot or parking area where parking prohibitions are to be effective. Where there is no designated entrance, such signs shall be erected so as to be clearly visible from each and every parking space.

(2) Such signs shall be a minimum of seven and one-half square feet in area (two and one-half feet by three feet).

(3) Such signs located at a designated entrance to a parking lot shall be at least four feet above the site grade. Where there is no designated entrance, such signs shall be six feet above site grade.

(4) Such signs shall state in letters at least three inches high that "Unauthorized vehicles may be impounded (towed or booted) at owner's risk and expense." Such signs shall also include the following language in letters at least two and one-half inches high:

a. Cost of impound $50.00 per day;

b. Fee payable by cash, check, and credit or debit card.

c. Boot Removal—Call 000-000-0000.

d. Tow information—Call 000-000-0000.

e. Vehicle may not be impounded if owner/operator returns before boot or tow is attached.

f. Booted vehicles may be towed after 24 hours.

g. By order of City Code.

h. Complaints may be made to:


Parking Company 000-000-0000

 


Atlanta Police Department 404-853-4470

i. This lot is owned and operated by (Name of legal entity owning parking lot/area) and can be reached at 000-000-0000 for resolution of any disputes.

No abbreviations shall be used in the language contained in the sign. Where this Code section leaves a blank, the signs shall include the appropriate phone numbers. The lettering on such signs shall be black on a white, reflective background, and shall be illuminated if out of headlight range.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 12, 11-28-00; Ord. No. 2006-03, § 1, 2-14-06)

Sec. 162-262. Lettering on vehicles.

It shall be unlawful for any person, either as principal, agent or employee, to operate within the territorial limits of the city any vehicle to assist in the operation of a vehicle immobilization service unless the vehicle shall have displayed on each side in plain view the name of the vehicle immobilization service, the address from which the vehicle immobilization service is operating and the telephone number of the vehicle immobilization service. The lettering shall be in a contrasting color to the color of the vehicle and shall be at least two and one-half inches in height.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 13, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-263. Service calls.

It shall be unlawful for any vehicle immobilization service, or the vehicle immobilization service's agent, representative, employee or operator to go to any place and immobilize a vehicle unless called by the owner, owner's agent, representative or employee of a commercial parking lot, or where a vehicle immobilization service has a contract to immobilize illegally parked cars at a specific commercial parking lot.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 14, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-264. City employees soliciting business.

It shall be unlawful for any city employee to solicit business for any vehicle immobilization service owner or operator.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 15, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-265. Solicitation of vehicle immobilization work.

It shall be unlawful to drive along any street within the city and solicit vehicle immobilization work. Solicitation work by the operator or the occupant of a vehicle used to carry on the business of a vehicle immobilization service is prohibited. An operator shall not proceed to a specific commercial lot without complying with section 162-260 of this article.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 16, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-266. Vehicle not immobilized upon operator of vehicle returning.

The operator of any vehicle immobilization service shall not immobilize a vehicle and shall not charge a fee if the driver of the vehicle returns before the installation of the vehicle immobilization device is complete.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 17, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-267. License not in lieu of business license.

The license issued under this article shall be cumulative and not in lieu of any business license issued by the city.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 19, 11-28-00)

Sec. 162-268. Effective date of enforcement of article.

Those persons that are subject to this article shall have 90 days from the date that this article becomes effective to comply with this article.

(Ord. No. 2001-48, § 20, 11-28-00)

 


FOOTNOTE(S):


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Editor's note— It should be noted by the user of this Code that Ord. No. 2001-48, § 18, approved Nov. 28, 2000, states "on-site users of vehicle immobilization devices shall be required to comply with the provisions contained in sections 162-252, 162-253, 162-254, 162-255, 162-257, 162-258, 162-259, 162-260, 162-261, 162-266, and 162-269." (Back)