Memo-05-09-2017-Item-14

May 9, 2017

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:                  Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:           Ordinance Amending Chapter 10 – Business Regulations – of the Code of Ordinances Regarding Towing Services - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider an ordinance amending Chapter 10 – Business Regulations – of the Code of Ordinances regarding vehicle towing services.  The intent of the attached ordinance amendment is to enable more vehicle towing companies to operate legally in Emerald Isle, thereby creating a larger pool of towing companies that can serve Emerald Isle businesses. 

As you know, some Emerald Isle businesses have concerns about beach visitors parking in their lot, walking down to the beach strand, and using up parking spaces intended for their customers.  Some businesses seek to tow vehicles parked in their lot, however, they claim that there are no vehicle towing companies who have an interest in providing this service that can meet the Town’s requirements.  In the interest of assisting these Emerald Isle businesses, the attached ordinance amendment would relax two provisions in the Town’s ordinance:

  • the minimum size of required signs to alert individuals that their vehicle may be towed would be reduced from 2 ft. x 2 ft (4 sq. ft.) to 3 sq. ft., and would therefore bring some existing signs into compliance, and
  • the maximum driving distance from Emerald Isle to the towed vehicle storage lot would be increased from 15 miles to 20 miles, thereby enabling Cherry Point Towing to operate in Emerald Isle if they comply with all other Town requirements.

The Board may recall that the Emerald Isle Police Department has received complaints about Cherry Point Towing in the past.  Police Chief Reese has discussed these issues and the proposed ordinance amendment with the owners of Cherry Point Towing, and they have indicated their intent to comply with the Town's ordinance and fully cooperate with the EIPD.  Their towed vehicle storage lot is currently located approximately 16.7 miles from Emerald Isle (on Lake Road near Newport), and the attached ordinance amendment (20 miles) would bring them into compliance.

If the Board approves the attached ordinance amendment, and Cherry Point Towing can meet all other Town requirements, Chief Reese will issue a permit(s) for towing services in Emerald Isle.  EIPD will monitor their performance in the coming months, and if too many problems occur, the permit(s) may be revoked.

The attached memo from Chief Reese includes additional explanation about this issue.  I have also attached a copy of the entire ordinance governing towing services in Emerald Isle. 

Chief Reese and I look forward to discussing the proposed ordinance amendment with the Board at the May 9 meeting.