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Legislation #: 180899 Introduction Date: 11/15/2018
Type: Ordinance Effective Date: none
Sponsor: COUNCILMEMBER FOWLER
Title: Amending Chapter 56, Code of Ordinances, entitled “Property Maintenance Code” by repealing Sections 56-347 and 56-348 and amending Chapter 70, Code of Ordinances, entitled “Traffic and Vehicles”, by repealing Sections 70-643 – 70-648 and enacting new sections of like number and subject matter and a new section 70-649 to provide a process for refund of tow and storage fees.

Legislation History
DateMinutesDescription
11/15/2018 Filed by the Clerk's office
11/15/2018 Referred to Neighborhoods and Public Safety Committee
11/28/2018 Do Pass
11/29/2018 Assigned to Third Read Calendar
12/6/2018 Passed

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ORDINANCE NO. 180899

 

Amending Chapter 56, Code of Ordinances, entitled “Property Maintenance Code” by repealing Sections 56-347 and 56-348 and amending Chapter 70, Code of Ordinances, entitled “Traffic and Vehicles”, by repealing Sections 70-643 – 70-648 and enacting new sections of like number and subject matter and a new section 70-649 to provide a process for refund of tow and storage fees.

 

WHEREAS, a more efficient process for refunding tow and storage fees for citizens whose vehicles have been wrongfully towed is needed; and

 

WHEREAS, the City seeks to implement due process for appeal of the civil tow and storage fees for citizens; and

 

WHEREAS, the City seeks to settle the lawsuit of Black v. City of Kansas City, Missouri, et al, Case No. 3-18-CV-00333, NOW, THEREFORE,

 

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:

 

Section 1. That Chapter 56, Code of Ordinances of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, entitled “Property Maintenance Code”, is hereby amended by repealing Sections 56-347 and 56-348 and enacting in lieu thereof new sections of like number and subject matter to read as follows:

 

Sec. 56-347. Powers and duties of property maintenance appeals board.

 

(a) The property maintenance appeals board shall have the following powers and duties:

 

(1) To interpret the provisions of this chapter, chapter 48, and the provisions of section 70-644.

 

(2) To review orders and actions of the director taken in the enforcement of this chapter, chapter 48, and the provisions of section 70-644 and to affirm, amend or reverse such orders or actions. If such review does not occur within 90 days from the date of filing the appeal, then it shall be presumed that the order or action of the director appealed is affirmed unless for good and sufficient cause the board extends the time for a reasonable period not to exceed an additional 60 days.

 

(3) To recommend legislation affecting the substance and enforcement of this chapter and chapter 48.

 

(4) To adopt reasonable rules and regulations governing the form, method and procedures used in the filing, hearing and disposition of appeals, and for the conduct of its own business.

 

(5) To hear appeals provided for in this chapter, chapter 48, and the provisions of section 70-644.

 

(6) To appoint hearing examiners.

 

(7) For good cause shown, to grant extensions of time in which to comply with the provisions of this chapter and chapter 48.

 

(8) To grant continuances.

 

(9) To issue subpoenas compelling attendance of witnesses and production of evidence.

 

(10) To administer oaths and affirmations.

 

(11) To cause all hearings to be suitably recorded.

 

(12) To render its appellate decision in writing with copies to the appellant, director and city counselor.

 

(13) To grant or revoke livestock exceptions as provided in chapter 14.

 

(b) The board shall have all other powers or duties which are now or may hereafter be granted to or imposed upon it by ordinance, statute or final decision of a court of last resort.

 

(c) A notice of appeal to the board must be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount of $50.00 payable to the city treasurer. An application to the board for the grant of a livestock exception provided in chapter 14 must be accompanied by a filing fee in the amount of $50.00 payable to the city treasurer.

 

Sec. 56-348. Judicial review of decisions of property maintenance appeals board.

 

(a) For any decision of the property maintenance appeals board upon an order or action taken pursuant to article II, III or IV of this chapter, section 70-644 or pursuant to chapter 48, the method of judicial review shall be by a duly verified petition for writ of certiorari presented to the circuit court of the county in which the petitioner resides, or of the county where the property affected by such decision is located or, in any case, in the circuit court of Jackson County, Missouri. Such petition shall be filed with the court within 30 days after the filing of the board's decision in the office of the director. Such petition shall set forth with particularity the grounds for such review. Any person jointly or severally aggrieved by any decision of the property maintenance appeals board shall be entitled to petition for such review. Upon presentation of the petition, the court may allow a writ of certiorari directed to the board to review such decision of the board and prescribe therein the time within which a return must be made and served upon the relator's attorney, which shall be not less than ten days and may be extended by the court. The allowance of the writ shall not stay the effect of the decision appealed from; but the court may, upon timely application and due notice to the board, for due cause shown, grant a restraining order. The court may reverse or affirm, wholly or in part, the decision brought up for review.

 

(b) For any decision of the property maintenance appeals board upon an order or action taken pursuant to article V of this chapter, pertaining to dangerous buildings or structures, the method of judicial review shall be as provided by RSMo ch. 536.

 

Section 2. That Chapter 70, Code of Ordinances of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, entitled “Traffic and Vehicles” is hereby amended by repealing Sections 70-643 – 70-648 and enacting in lieu thereof new sections of like number and subject matter and a new section 70-649 to read as follows:

 

Sec. 70-643. Disposition of impounded property; prerequisites for release; collection

of costs.

 

(a)Any vehicle or personal property removed or taken into custody under the provisions of section 70-642 shall be held, except as provided in this division, until the owner or their authorized agent applies for such vehicle or personal property and pays the costs of towing and storing such vehicle or personal property. Before releasing any vehicle on which a traffic ticket has been issued by the police department, the police shall require that a bond be posted for an appearance in court on such violation as well as on any other outstanding warrants. If no ticket was issued the owner and/or lienholder may request a hearing under RSMo section 304.156.5 or pursuant to the provisions of section 70-644. If the owner does not want to reclaim the vehicle, they can transfer title to the vehicle to the city or authorized city contractor. No additional storage charges will be assessed after the title is delivered and the vehicle will be sold in the next available sale; provided that if there is a lien against the vehicle, the vehicle must be held until the lienholder, after receiving notification as required by this article, fails to claim the vehicle or provides a written release of the lien against it.

 

(b)The city manager, with the advice of the director of the neighborhoods and housing services department and the budget officer, shall determine the rate of tow-in and storage charges and shall notify the city council in a written communication of the rates whenever such rates are changed. Calculation of storage charges shall commence immediately after the vehicle or personal property is impounded. No storage charge will be assessed if the vehicle or personal property is released to the owner within the first 24 hours after the property is impounded. The costs and expenses shall be a lien in favor of the city on the motor vehicle or personal property, provided that if at any time the vehicle or personal property is removed under the provisions of section 70-642 the neighborhoods and housing services department or designee may, under the following guidelines, reduce or waive the cost for the release of the vehicle to the owner:

 

(1)               The vehicle was towed and a traffic or parking ticket was not issued.

 

(2)               The owner is found not-guilty in court for the offense that caused the vehicle to be towed.

 

(3)               The vehicle was towed and/or stored as evidence in conjunction with a law enforcement investigation that did not involve the arrest of the owner or operator of the vehicle.

 

(4)               The vehicle was a recovered stolen vehicle.

 

(c) The police department may place a hold on a vehicle that is needed for evidence. Placing a hold on a vehicle will prevent the release or sale of the vehicle while the hold is in effect. The police chief and director of neighborhoods and housing services department or their designees will establish procedures for placing and removing holds on vehicles.

 

Sec. 70-644. Procedure for request for refund of tow and storage fees.

 

(a) Request for Refund of Tow and Storage Fees. The registered owner of a vehicle impounded pursuant to this section that has made payment of the costs of towing and storage of the vehicle, may make application for a Refund of the Tow and Storage Fees for the vehicle. The following criteria will be considered by the director of neighborhoods and housing services department or designee for Refund of Tow and Storage Fees:

 

(1)               The vehicle was towed and a traffic or parking ticket was not issued.

 

(2)               The owner was issued a traffic or parking ticket, but the ticket was issued in error.

 

(3)               The vehicle was towed and/or stored as evidence in conjunction with a law enforcement investigation that did not involve the arrest or ticketing of the owner or operator of the vehicle.

 

(4)               The vehicle was a recovered stolen vehicle.

 

(5) Financial hardship.

 

(b)   The request for Refund of Tow and Storage Fees will be submitted to the director of neighborhoods and housing services department or designee, in writing on the prescribed Refund of Tow and Storage Fees application form within 60 calendar days from the date the vehicle was towed. The applicant may ask for review of the tow and storage fees to be conducted in writing, in person, or by telephone;

 

(c)    If the owner requests an in-person or telephone opportunity to be heard on their tow and storage fees refund request, the director of neighborhood and housing services department or designee will schedule the in-person or telephone hearing to be conducted within 10 business days.

 

(d)   Within 3 business days after the in-person or telephone hearing, or if no hearing is requested, within 3 business days of the submittal of a complete request for refund, the director of neighborhood and housing services department or designee will review the request and make a determination to approve or disapprove the request. The director or designee shall notify the applicant by mail (or by email if requested) and state the basis for approval or disapproval. Such mail decision shall be postmarked (or the email sent) within 4 business days of the hearing or the consideration of a complete application. If a mail decision is not postmarked within 4 business days, the owner shall receive a refund;

 

(e)    If an owner was found not-guilty in court for the offense that caused the vehicle to be towed and applies for a refund within 30 days of being found not guilty, a refund will be granted. A refund will be granted under this subsection even if the owner has made a previous application for refund which was denied.

 

(f)                An owner whose traffic or parking ticket was dismissed will have 30 days after dismissal to apply for a refund under this section unless they have already filed for refund of their tow and storage fees within 60 days of the tow of their vehicle.

 

(g)   If the Request for Refund for Tow and Storage Fees is approved, the applicant will be granted a refund of the initial tow fee and up to 7 days of storage fees. If the applicant can prove indigence, the applicant will be granted a refund of the initial tow fee and up to 14 days of storage fees.

 

(h)   If the Request for Refund for Tow and Storage Fees is disapproved, the applicant may file an appeal with the Property Maintenance Appeals Board pursuant to the provisions of 56-341 et seq. within 15 calendar days from the date of disapproval.

 

Sec. 70-645. Procedure for disposal of impounded property.

 

(a)  The director of neighborhoods and housing services department is authorized to sell at public auction personal property including any vehicle, not on hold by the police department, which has been impounded under the provisions of this article and held for a period of not less than 30 days and not redeemed by its owner, and in the case of a vehicle, subject to the notification requirements set forth in RSMo § 304.156.9, provided that a vehicle may be sold immediately and without the notification pursuant to RSMo § 304.156.9 if the owner has signed a release authorizing immediate sale.

 

(b)  With respect to any vehicle with a fair market value less than the tow fees pending against the vehicle, in addition to the procedures set forth in subparagraph (a) of this section, the director of neighborhood and community services may dispose of such vehicle under the following procedures:

 

(1)               The city shall determine the fair market value of the vehicle based upon the make, model, age, condition and mileage of the vehicle. Recognized and authoritative industry references for determining value of vehicles may also be used to determine the fair market value.

 

(2)               The director of neighborhoods and housing services department may enter into a contract, subject to the city's bidding requirements, for the purchase of such vehicles from the city on a unit cost basis during a term not to exceed one year. The contract shall specify the purchase price of the vehicles on a unit cost basis, the time for removal of the vehicles, the time for contractor payments to the city and such other terms and conditions as the director shall determine.

 

(c)  If the vehicle is older than six years and more than 50 percent damaged by collision, fire, or decay, and has a fair market value of less than $200.00 as determined by using any nationally recognized appraisal book or method, it must be held no less than ten days after the notice is sent pursuant to this subsection before being sold to a licensed salvage or scrap business.

 

(d)  The director of finance shall review and approve procedures utilized for the sale. The towing and storage fees assessed against a vehicle and costs associated with selling the vehicle shall be deducted from the proceeds of the sale. The balance remaining, if any, shall be made available to the owner as provided in section 70-647.

 

(e)  If a vehicle purchased at an auction is later found to be stripped and abandoned, or is found on private property in violation of the nuisance code or salvage yard code, the person or business that purchased the vehicle will be permanently banned from participating in future auctions of unclaimed vehicles.

 

Sec. 70-646. Receipt for payment of impoundment charges; records of collections.

 

In accepting payment for removal and storage charges as provided in this article, after proof of ownership and before the sale, the person applying for the motor vehicle shall be given a printed receipt showing the amount paid and the amount waived, if any which amounts shall at the same time automatically be recorded. The collections received at the city impound lot each day shall be paid to the city treasurer in accordance with section 2-1615.

 

Sec. 70-647. Proof of ownership of impounded property; payment of proceeds of

sale to owner.

 

Any person claiming to be the owner of any impounded property as provided in this article shall make written application therefore on forms furnished for this purpose, and shall furnish such additional proof as may be required to establish ownership. If he/she shall present proof of ownership of the impounded property prior to the date of actual sale thereof pursuant to the provisions of this article, the property itself shall be delivered to the owner under the conditions provided for in this article; but, if the property has been sold, the owner may present the application and proof of ownership; and, if presented within one year after the sale, then such balance of the proceeds of the sale, after deductions as provided in this article, shall be paid to the owner.

 

Sec. 70-648. Advertisement of sale of impounded property.

 

The director of neighborhoods and housing services department shall publish the sale on the city's web site at least five days before the sale. Such publication shall briefly describe the nature of the property, state the date, time and place of the sale, and state that the sale shall be made to the highest bidder at public auction.

 

Sec. 70-649. Report to state of sale of impounded motor vehicles.

 

The director of neighborhoods and housing services department shall make a report of the sale of motor vehicles by the city under this article by appropriate affidavit, to the director of revenue of the state, fully identifying each motor vehicle sold and the identity of the purchaser thereof, in such form as may be required by such director of revenue.

 

_____________________________________________

 

Approved as to form and legality:

 

 

___________________________________

Martha Means

Assistant City Attorney