17.12.140 REMOVAL OF FREESTANDING NEWSRACK/RECAPTURE OF COMPARTMENT.
(a) In addition to other enforcement remedies available to the City, any News Dispenser or any Compartment installed, used or maintained in violation of any provisions of this chapter, including the failure to pay renewal fees, or that has been abandoned, may be removed or recaptured in accord with this section.
(1) Notice of Violation. Before removal of any News Dispenser or recapture of any Compartment, the Director of Public Works or designee shall notify the owner or user of the violation or, if applicable, of the intent to determine it abandoned. Written notification by first class mail to the address shown on the Permit Application in conjunction with posting on the News Dispenser shall constitute adequate notice. If no Permit Application can be found for the News Dispenser, posting of the notice on the News Dispenser alone shall be sufficient. The notice shall direct the permittee, or if no permit has been issued, the owner/user of the News Dispenser or Compartment to contact the Director of Public Works or designee. Unless the notice of intent is to determine it an Abandoned News Dispenser or Compartment, (see Subsection (c) below) the notice shall also state the nature of the violation, shall specify actions necessary to correct the violation, and shall give the owner or user ten business days from the date of posting of the notice to either remedy the violation or to request a meeting before the Director or designee. The notice shall also provide a telephone contact number.
(2) Meeting and Decision. Any owner or user notified pursuant to subsection (1) above, may request a meeting with the Director or designee by making a written request within ten business days from the date appearing on the notice. The meeting shall be informal but oral and written evidence may be given by both sides. The Director or designee shall give his or her decision within ten business days after the date of the meeting. Unless the owner or user fails to appear at the meeting, any action by the City to remove the News Dispenser or recapture the Compartment shall be stayed pending the written decision following the meeting.
(3) Removal and Impoundment. The City may remove and impound a News Dispenser or recapture a Compartment following the written decision upholding the determination of a violation under subsection (2) above, or if the owner or user has neither requested a meeting nor remedied the violation within ten business days from the latter of the date the notice described in subsection 1 above was mailed or posted. An impounded News Dispenser shall be retained by the City for a period of at least thirty calendar days following the removal, and may be recovered by the permittee upon payment of a fee as set forth in the City of San Mateo Comprehensive Fee Schedule. An impounded News Dispenser and its contents may be disposed of by the City after thirty calendar days.
(4) Summary Abatement. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (A) and (B), prior notice and an opportunity to be heard shall not be required prior to removal of any News Dispenser that is installed or maintained in such place or manner as to pose an immediate or clear and present danger to persons, vehicles or property. In such case, the City shall proceed in the following manner:
(A) Within the next working day following removal/recapture, the Director or designee shall notify by telephone the permittee or, in the case of an unpermitted News Dispenser or Compartment, the owner or user. Within three business days, the Director or designee shall send written confirmation of the telephoned notice. The written confirmation shall contain the reasons for the removal/recapture and information supporting the removal/recapture, and shall inform the recipient of the right to request, in writing or in person within ten business days of the date of such written notice, a post-removal/recapture meeting.
(B) Upon timely request, the Director or designee shall provide a meeting within forty-eight hours of the request, unless the requesting party agrees to a later date. The proceeding shall be informal, but oral and written evidence may be given by both sides. The Director or designee shall give his or her decision in writing to the requesting party within forty-eight hours after such meeting. If the Director or designee finds that the removal/recapture was proper, he or she shall notify the requesting party to pay any applicable penalties and costs and recover the News Dispenser or contents of the Compartment. If the Director or designee finds that the removal/recapture was improper and that placement of the News Dispenser or use of the Compartment was lawful, the Director or designee shall order that the News Dispenser or contents of the Compartment be released and reinstalled without charge.
(C) If the owner of an unpermitted News Dispenser or Compartment cannot be determined and the News Dispenser/Compartment does not contain the required identification, no notice of the removal shall be required.
(b) Any Abandoned Compartment within a Modular Newsrack in the Mandatory Modular Area may be recaptured, sold and reassigned by the Director to another user after following the notice procedures described in subsection (a)(1) above. If no claim of ownership is made within 20 days of such notice, the City may sell and reassign the Compartment to another Publisher. Any Abandoned Freestanding Newsrack may be removed from the right-of-way after the 20-day notice period and impounded and disposed of if not claimed within 30 days of removal.