COUNCILMAN OH INTRODUCES BILL TO ELIMINATE FEES, EXPEDITE APPEALS FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES TOWED FROM TEMPORARY TOWING ZONES

In Council News, David Oh, News by PHL Council

Philadelphia, September 21, 2017Councilman David Oh (At Large) introduced a bill in this morning’s City Council session that will quickly resolve the occasional, costly scenario in which a vehicle is towed from a temporary no-parking zone while the vehicle’s owner is unable to access their vehicle.

This bill, if adopted, will include The Philadelphia Code’s first definition and mention of what Councilman Oh is calling “Temporary Towing Zones”: areas marked by temporary no parking signs in which parking is otherwise allowed by law or ordinance. Such signs are often utilized to accommodate moving vehicles, block parties, and street or sidewalk maintenance, and restrict parking for hours or days at a time. Councilman Oh’s bill is the first to address scenarios involving this signage.

Under Councilman Oh’s bill, the owner of a vehicle which was towed from a Temporary Towing Zone may obtain immediate release of the vehicle by paying all fees and charges and may also be assigned an expedited hearing time and date, no later than one day after the vehicle’s release, with the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) to appeal these fees and charges. At this hearing, if the owner can provide documentation (e.g., time-stamped transportation tickets and boarding passes, employment time sheets, photographs, receipts, affidavits, or any other evidence) demonstrating that they were reasonably unable to access their vehicle for the entire duration from the time temporary no parking signs were posted through the time the temporary towing zone was effective and enforced, the PPA shall approve a full refund of all fees and charges.

Councilman Oh was made aware of an instance in which a vehicle owner was legally parked upon her departure for vacation, temporary no parking signs were posted a few days after her departure, and her car was towed four days before her return. She received no notice of this until returning to Philadelphia, where she was welcomed home with a towed vehicle and $400 in fees and charges from the PPA. It took approximately 4 weeks to receive a hearing date, and upon demonstrating during the hearing that they were out of town, she was granted a full refund of fees and charges (which will take an additional 4-6 weeks to process). Councilman Oh believes it to be fair, seeing as these cases are appealed for a full refund, to expedite this process so that vehicle owners in like circumstances are not waiting months to receive a refund.

“Temporary towing zones can be a very costly burden on people who are unable to access their vehicle for a few days, be it for business travel, vacation, or other reasons,” Councilman Oh said. “I want to codify protections for vehicle owners in these situations so that they can be assured of a quick and timely appeal and refund.”

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Councilman David Oh is currently serving his second term as an At Large member of Philadelphia City Council. In January 2016, he was elected as Council’s Minority Whip by his colleagues. More information at phlcouncil.com/DavidOh

 

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