(A)   The City Manager, or his or her designee, may immobilize by the use of wheel locks and tow and impound any vehicle which is illegally parked in violation of this of the Code, and for which there are three or more outstanding, unpaid, and overdue parking tickets which shall include both civil penalty (ticket/fine) and/or late fee for a period of 90 days. For the purpose of determining whether an illegally parked vehicle has had issued against it three or more outstanding, unpaid, and overdue parking tickets for a period of 90 days, it shall be sufficient if the license plate number of the illegally parked vehicle and the license number of the vehicle having received the tickets are the same.
   (B)   If a wheel lock is attached to a vehicle, a notice shall be affixed to the windshield or other part of the vehicle so as to be readily visible. The notice shall warn that the vehicle has been immobilized and that any attempt to move the vehicle may result in damage to the vehicle. The city shall not be responsible for any damage to an immobilized illegally parked vehicle resulting from unauthorized attempts to free or move the vehicle. An immobilization fee of $50 shall be charged for the removal of the wheel lock. The notice shall also state the total amount of civil penalties and late fees due for parking tickets which are overdue and unpaid and attributable to such vehicle along with the immobilization fee to be charged. The address and telephone number to be contacted to pay the charges to have the wheel lock removed shall also be listed.
   (C)   If all outstanding civil penalties, late fees, and an immobilization fee as herein provided are not paid, or satisfactory arrangements in lieu of payment, are not made within 24 hours of the attachment of the wheel lock, such vehicle may be towed and impounded to any public or private impoundment lot. If a private contractor tows and stores the vehicle, he or she may impose against the vehicle his or her customary fees and charges for such towing and storage services. Once a vehicle has been impounded, the City Manager, or his or her designee, shall mail a notice of impoundment to the registered owner and lien holders, if any are known, at the address or addresses reported to the city by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
   (D)   Upon payment of all outstanding parking tickets including both civil penalties, and late fees, issued for the vehicle and of all other charges authorized by this section, including immobilization, towing, and impoundment fees, the vehicle shall be released to the owner or any other person legally entitled to claim possession of the vehicle.
   (E)   The owner or other person entitled to possession of the vehicle which has been immobilized pursuant to this section may submit a request for hearing to the City Manager, or his or her designee, by certified mail or personal delivery within seven days from the date of the notice provided for in subsection (C) hereinabove. If a hearing is requested, the City Manager shall appoint a Hearing Officer and cause a statement be sent to the requesting party informing him or her of the time and place of the hearing, of the basis of the vehicles immobilization and impoundment, of the rules governing conduct of the hearing, of the right to present evidence as to why the vehicle should not have been immobilized or towed, and of the right to be represented by counsel. The Hearing Officer shall conduct a hearing and, at its conclusion, prepare a written report of his or her findings within three days of the hearing. The report shall state his or her conclusion as to whether the vehicle was properly immobilized and towed, and the reasons underlying his or her conclusion. If it is concluded that the vehicle was improperly immobilized or towed, then any improper charges shall be canceled, or if paid, rebated.
   (F)   It shall be unlawful for anyone to remove from a vehicle a wheel lock placed thereon pursuant to this section or to remove from impoundment any vehicle placed therein pursuant to this section without all civil penalties and applicable charges having first been paid or an approved payment plan having been made.
   (G)   The City Manager is authorized to establish guidelines to adjust the amount of civil penalties imposed pursuant to this section to promote the resolution of any claim against persons with delinquent parking tickets.
(Ord. O-2002-66, passed 10-15-02; Am. Ord. O-2009-33, passed 11-17-09)