Taxicab Ordinance

Charlotte County - Florida

June 1997

ORDINANCE

NO. 97

AN ORDINANCE OF CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA, PROVIDING THAT THE CODE OF LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA, BE AMENDED BY ADDING A SECTION REGULATING THE OPERATION OF TAXICABS AND THE DRIVERS THEREOF; PROVIDING DEFINITIONS; PROVIDING FOR VIOLATIONS; PROVIDING FOR COMPLIANCE PRIOR TO OPERATION OF TAXICAB; PROVIDING FOR VEHICLE PERMITS FOR TAXICABS AND THE APPLICATION AND REQUIREMENTS THEREFORE, AND THE ISSUANCE THEREOF; PROVIDING FOR EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL OF VEHICLE PERMITS; PROVIDING FOR REVOCATION OF VEHICLE PERMITS AND THE APPEAL THEREOF; PROVIDING FOR DISPLAY OF NAME AND VEHICLE PERMIT NUMBER; PROVIDING FOR NON-TRANSFERABILITY OF VEHICLE PERMITS, PROVIDING FOR PERMITS FOR DRIVERS OF TAXICABS AND THE APPLICATION AND REQUIREMENTS THEREFORE, AND THE ISSUANCE THEREOF; PROVIDING FOR EXPIRATION AND RENEWAL OF DRIVER PERMITS; PROVIDING FOR DISPLAY OF DRIVER PERMITS; PROVIDING FOR REVOCATION OF DRIVER PERMITS AND THE APPEAL THEREOF; PROVIDING FOR PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR INCLUSION IN THE CODE; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

Recitals

WHEREAS, Section 125.01(1)(n), Florida Statues, provides that counties have the power to license and regulate taxicabs and other vehicles for hire that operate in the unincorporated area of the counties; and

WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners of Charlotte County, Florida ("the Board") has found that there is a need in Charlotte County to license and regulate the operation of taxicabs and vehicles for hire in order to protect the safety and welfare of the public;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Board of County Commissioners of Charlotte County, Florida, that:

ARTICLE I. GENERAL

Section 1. Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this ordinance, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(a) Taxicab means a chauffeur-driven, metered or non-metered, passenger vehicle by whatever name called, which is held out to the general public for and is used, operated or engaged for the purpose of transporting passengers for any fee, hire, or compensation in the County, which is not operated on a fixed route, and where the vehicle's route or destination is determined and directed by the passengers therein. This definition shall apply only to vehicles which pick up or deliver passengers within the unincorporated areas of the County. This definition shall not include limousine service which is rented by a passenger for a specific period of time and which operates only on a pre-arranged trip basis, or vehicles operating solely as wheelchair coaches, stretcher transport vehicles, ambulances, or to transport dead bodies.

(b) Operator means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company or other entity which owns, leases, operates, or controls any taxicab. An individual who is an owner may be, but is not required to be, a driver of the taxicab.

Section 2. Violations. It shall be unlawful for any person, or any operator or driver of any taxicab to violate any of the terms, provisions or directions of this ordinance.

Section 3. Compliance Prerequisite to Operation. It shall be unlawful for any operator to allow, suffer or permit to be operated in the County any taxicab until the operator shall first have performed all of the requirements of this ordinance. It shall be unlawful for any driver of a taxicab to drive a taxicab until such driver shall have performed all of the requirements of that driver contained in this ordinance.

Section 4. Promulgation of Rules and Regulations. The County Administrator shall have the power and authority to make such rules and regulations and adopt such procedures as may be necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this ordinance as reasonably may be deemed proper by the County Administrator for the regulation of taxicabs, that shall not be inconsistent with the terms and provisions of this ordinance.

ARTICLE II. VEHICLE PERMITS.

Section 1. Vehicle Permits Required. It shall be unlawful for any person to own, operate, lease, control or drive a taxicab on the public streets and roads in the County or dispatched for hire on the public streets in the County, without first obtaining a vehicle permit therefor as prescribed in this article, and in the case of a driver who is not the operator, without such vehicle permit having first been obtained by the operator.

Section 2. Application for vehicle Permits. Any person desiring a vehicle permit required by this article shall make application therefor to the County, or his/her designee, upon application forms to be provided by the County Administrator, which application form shall contain all information and documentation required under any rules, regulations or procedures made or adopted in accordance with Article I, Section 4 hereof.

Section 3. Prerequisites to Issuance of Permit for Public Conveyances. Before a vehicle permit required by this article shall be issued by the County Administrator, or his/her designee, the operator of a taxicab shall conform to the following requirements:

(a) Pay to the County the occupational license tax required by Chapter 1-10, Article II, of the County Code:

(b) For each taxicab for which a permit is sought, file with the County Administrator, or his/her designee, a current certificate of liability and property insurance from an insurance company with a Best rating of B or better and authorized to do business in the State of Florida. The policy of insurance evidenced by such certificate shall secure against loss sustained by reason of death or injury to persons and loss or damage to property in the following amounts:

(1) For claims because of any one person injured in an accident, an amount not less than $100,000;

(2) For claims because of any one accident, an amount not less than $300,000; and

(3) For all property damage in any one accident in an amount not less than $50,000.

The policy of insurance evidenced by such certificate also shall provide that, in the event of cancellation thereof, written notice shall be provided to the County Administrator, or his/her designee, at least ten (10) days prior to the effective date of any such cancellation. In the instances where one applicant submits applications for vehicle permits for more than one taxicab, the certificate of insurance may be in the form of a fleet policy covering all taxicabs owned or operated by the applicant, which shall provide the same coverages as specified in this section for each such taxicab; and

(c) For each taxicab for which a permit is sought, provide an inspection certificate in a form to be provided by the County, completed and signed by a mechanic approved by the County Administrator, or his/her designee, which shows that such taxicab has passed inspection;

(d) Pay to the County Administrator a permit fee in the amount established by the Board by resolution, which amount reflects the administrative costs involved.

Section 4. Issuance. Upon the satisfactory fulfillment of the requirements of this article and with the approval of the County Administrator, the County Administrator may issue a vehicle permit and a corresponding permit number to the applicant.

Section 5. Expiration of Vehicle Permit. Vehicle permits issued in accordance with this ordinance shall expire on September 30 of each year, unless earlier canceled or revoked as provided herein. Every person seeking to renew a vehicle permit shall request such renewal to from the County Administrator, or his/her designee, within thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the existing vehicle permit. Prior to issuance of a renewal vehicle permit, the operator of a taxicab shall provide a current certificate of insurance in the amounts outlined in Section 3(b) hereof, a current inspection certificate as described in Section 3(c) hereof, and shall provide any additional information which is necessary to update the original application for vehicle permit and any additional information which the County Administrator, or his/her designee, may reasonably require. In the event there is a change or addition to information provided by an applicant on any application or permit renewal prior to the applicable renewal period, applicant shall provide such change or addition to the County Administrator, or his/her designee, within ten (10) days of such change or addition.

Section 6. Revocation of vehicle Permit.

(a) The County Administrator shall have full power and authority to revoke a vehicle permit issued pursuant to this ordinance if it shall be shown that the applicant obtained the permit by fraud or deceit, or that the operator has been guilty of, or permitted, suffered, or allowed the violation of any of the provisions of this ordinance or any County ordinance of State statute.

(b) Upon the cancellation or lapse of any policy of insurance on any taxicab required by this ordinance, the vehicle permit issued for such taxicab shall immediately be revoked unless the operator of the taxicab shall have obtained another policy of insurance containing all of the requirements of the original policy prior to the effective date of cancellation or lapse.

(c) Any operator of a taxicab desiring to appeal the revocation of a vehicle permit may petition for appeal to the Board of County Commissioners within ten (10) days from the date of revocation, The Board of County Commissioners shall hear such petition for appeal within sixty (60) days of submission of the petition; and the decision of the Board of County Commissioners thereon shall be final.

Section 7. Transferability. Any vehicle permit issued in accordance with this ordinance shall not be transferable.

Section 8. Display of Company Name and Vehicle Permit Number. Once a vehicle permit has been issued pursuant to this ordinance; an operator of a taxicab shall display the operator's company name and phone number and the permit number on the taxicab for which the permit was issued. Such name, phone number and permit number shall be prominently displayed and painted or permanently affixed on the taxicab in numbers and letters not less than two inches in height.

ARTICLE III. DRIVER PERMITS.

Section I, Driver Permit Required. No person shall physically operate or drive any taxicab and pick up or drop off passengers over and upon the streets or roads in the County without having first obtained from the County Administrator, or his/her designee, a permit to drive a taxicab. No operator shall permit his/her taxicab to be so operated or driven by any person without such person having first obtained from the County Administrator, or his/her designee, a permit to drive a taxicab.

Section 2. Application. Each applicant for a permit required by this article shall make application to the County, or his/her designee, on forms supplied by the County Administrator, which application shall contain all the information and documentation under any rules, regulations or procedures made or adopted by the County Administrator in accordance with Article, Section 4 hereof.

Section 3, Investigation.

(a) Upon the filing of the application required by this article, the County Administrator, or his/her designee, shall cause the applicant to be investigated. If the results of the investigation reveal any one or more of the following, the applicant shall be denied a permit.

(1) Conviction in the past five years of any felony;

(2) Conviction within the past three years of any crime involving the sale or possession of controlled substances as defined by Section 893.03, Florida Statutes, or the RICO Act, Chapter 895, Florida Statues;

(3) Conviction in the past three years of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or with an unlawful blood alcohol level;

(4) A finding of guilt or a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendre to a felony, misdemeanor or ordinance, any of which involve moral turpitude, or to any of offenses listed in subsections (1), (2), or (3) of this section, within the past three years, or five years if a felony. Moral turpitude shall be as defined in statutes, case law, or ordinance. This subsection applies notwithstanding suspension of sentence or withholding of adjudication or sentencing;

(5) Submission of false or materially misleading statements on such application; or

(6) On parole at the time of application; or

(b) If the County has actual notification prior to issuance of an original license or renewal license that an applicant has been arrested prior to or subsequent to the submission of the initial application or application for renewal, such application shall be held in abeyance until a prosecutorial decision or judicial decision has been rendered.

Section 4. Issuance. Upon the satisfactory fulfillment of the requirements of this article and with the approval of the County Administrator, or his/her designee, the County Administrator, or his/her designee, may issue a driver permit to the applicant.

Section 5. Permit Period; Renewal. All driver permits issued pursuant to this article shall expire on the September 30 following their issuance; however, driver permits issued or renewed during the months of August and September shall expire on the September 30 of the year next following their issuance or renewal. Any holder of a driver permit seeking to renew his/her permit shall request such renewal from the County Administrator, or his/her designee, within thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of such permit. Prior to issuance of a renewal driver permit, the applicant shall provide a completed application therefor, and any additional information which is necessary to update the original application for a driver permit and any additional information which the County Administrator, or his/her designee, may reasonably require. In the event there is a change or addition to information provided by an applicant on any application or permit renewal prior to the applicable renewal period, applicant shall provide such change or addition to the County Administrator, or his/her designee, within ten (10) days of such change or addition.

Section 6. Display of Permit. Every holder of a driver permit shall have his/her permit conspicuously displayed so that it may easily be seen by occupants of the taxicab being driven by the holder of the driver permit. Such permit shall include a photograph of the holder of the permit of a size designated by the County Administrator, which photograph shall be a good likeness of the holder of the driver permit. Any driver of a taxicab who fails to display his/her driver permit in accordance with this section shall be deemed in violation of this ordinance and any permit issued pursuant to this article may be revoked by the County Administrator.

Section 7. Revocation or Suspension of Driver Permit.

(a) Any driver permit issued pursuant to this article may be revoked by the County Administrator upon satisfactory proof that the driver has been guilty of any violation of this ordinance, or meets any of the criteria for denial of a permit contained in Section 3(a) hereof.

(b) Upon conviction of a driver of a taxicab for the violation of this ordinance or any traffic offense, the court may, in addition to the other penalties imposed for such violation, revoke or suspend the driver permit issued pursuant to this ordinance. The revocation or suspension shall be reported by the court to the County Administrator.

(c) Whenever a permit issued pursuant to this article shall be revoked, either by the County Administrator or a court, or where the permit shall be suspended, the County Administrator shall immediately require the driver to surrender the driver permit and driver photograph. It shall be unlawful for any driver to fail or refuse to surrender to the County Administrator, or his/her designee, such driver permit and driver photograph upon notice that such driver permit has been revoked or suspended.

(d) On application denials or permit revocations, the applicant or permitee shall have a right to appeal the decision of the County Administrator to the Board of County Commissioners. On permit suspensions by a court, the permitee shall have any right to appeal afforded the permittee under general law.

ARTICLE IV. MISCELLANEOUS.

Section 1. Penalties. Any penalties for violation contained within this ordinance shall be in addition to any other penalties allowed by law. Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the County from enforcing the provisions of this ordinance by any other means.

Section 2. Severability. If any subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of these sections is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct, and independent provision and such holding shall not effect the validity of the remainder of the chapter.

Section 3. Inclusion in the code. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance shall become and be made a part of the Code of Laws and Ordinances of Charlotte County, Florida, and the sections of this ordinance may be renumbered to accomplish such intention.

Section 4. Effective Date. This ordinance shall take effect upon its filing in the Office of the Secretary of State, State of Florida.

PASSED AND DULY ADOPTED this _____ day of _______ , 1997

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

OF CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLORIDA

By: ________________

Matthew D. DeBoer, Chairman

ATTEST:

Barbara T. Scott, Clerk of the

Circuit Court and Ex-Officio

Clerk to the Board of County

Commissioners

By: _____________

Deputy Clerk

APPROVED AS TO FORM AND LEGAL

SUFFICIENCY:

By: _______________

Renee Francis Lee, County Attorney


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