Monterey Park, CA
CHAPTER 9.74: SHOPPING CARTS
Section 9.74.010: Purpose.
This chapter is adopted pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 22435.8 and the city’s police powers for the purpose of regulating and prohibiting the removal of shopping carts from the premises of retail establishments. Abandoned shopping carts are a public nuisance because they constitute an eyesore; interfere with pedestrian and vehicle traffic; and contribute to blight. Accordingly, they detrimentally affect public health, safety and welfare. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.020: Definitions.
a) Unless the contrary is stated or clearly appears from the context, the following definitions govern the construction of the words and phrases used in this chapter:
1) “Abandoned shopping cart” means a shopping cart which is either: (1) removed from the premises by any person without the written permission or consent of the owner; or (2) a shopping cart left unattended, discarded or abandoned upon any public or private property other than the premises from which the shopping cart was removed, regardless of whether such shopping cart was removed from the premises with the permission of the owner. For purposes of this chapter, shopping carts located on any public or private property other than the premises of the retail establishment from which such shopping cart was removed is presumed abandoned, even if in the possession of any person, unless the person possessing the shopping cart is: (1) the owner, or an employee or authorized agent of the owner, entitled to possession of such shopping cart; (2) is an officer, employee or agent of a cart retrieval service hired by the owner to retrieve such carts; (3) is enforcing this chapter upon the director’s authority; or (4) has written permission to possess such shopping cart from the owner entitled to possession of such shopping cart.
2) “Director” means the community and economic development director, or designee.
3) “Laundry cart” means a basket mounted on wheels and used in a coin-operated laundry or dry-cleaning retail establishment by customers or attendants for the purpose of transporting fabrics and the supplies necessary to process them.
4) “Owner” means the person owning, or exercising possession and control over, shopping carts for the use of the owner’s customers in connection with the management and operation of the owner’s business enterprise. “Owner” includes, without limitation, officer, employees, and agents of an owner.
5) “Premises” means the entire area owned and utilized by a retail establishment that provides shopping carts for use by customers, including any parking lot or other off-street area provided by or for an owner for use by a customer for parking an automobile or other vehicle.
6) “Public property areas” include, without limitation, portions of private property that are outdoor common outdoor areas of any building, business premises, apartment building or complex, or other premises or portion thereof which is adjacent to public property, open to the public, and which contains a shopping cart or shopping carts visible at street or ground level from the adjacent public property.
7) “Retail establishment” means any business located in the city of Monterey Park which offers or provides shopping carts for the use of the customers of such business regardless of whether such business is advertised or operated as a retail or wholesale business, and regardless of whether such business is open to the general public, or is a private club or business, or is a membership store.
8) “Shopping cart” means a basket mounted on wheels or a similar device generally used in a retail establishment by a customer for the purpose of transporting goods of any kind, including a laundry cart. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.030: Inapplicability.
a) This chapter does not apply to:
1) Shopping carts removed from an owner’s premises for purposes of repair or maintenance that are in the possession or custody of the party to whom they have been released;
2) Shopping carts located on private property owned or occupied by the person who has been granted written permission by the shopping cart owner to possess the shopping cart for not more than seventy-two consecutive hours when the shopping cart is not visible at street or ground level from the public property adjacent to such private property. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.040: Administration.
The director is authorized to administer this chapter which includes, without limitation, the ability to promulgate administrative policies and procedures to implement and enforce this chapter. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.050: Required Signs on Shopping Carts.
a) Every owner must affix to each shopping cart owned or provided by the owner a sign that includes the following information:
1) Identification of the owner of the shopping cart or the retail establishment to which it pertains, or both.
2) Notification that the unauthorized removal of the shopping cart from the premises of the retail establishment, or the unauthorized possession of the shopping cart, is a violation of law.
3) Notification of the procedure for authorized removal of the shopping cart from the premises.
4) A telephone number or address for returning the shopping cart to its owner or to the retail establishment identified thereon. Although not required, the city urges owners to place current telephone numbers on each sign for effective implementation of this chapter.
b) In addition to signs on the shopping carts, owners must also provide written notice to customers that removal of shopping carts from the premises is prohibited by state law. Such notice may be provided in the form of flyers distributed on the premises, warnings printed on shopping bags, direct mail, internet website notices or any other means demonstrated to be effective. Conspicuous signs must be placed and maintained on the premises near all customer entrances and exits and throughout the premises warning customers that removal of shopping carts from the premises is prohibited.
c) Every sign and notice required by this section must be written in English, Chinese and Spanish.
d) Violation of this section constitutes an infraction. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.060: Shopping Cart Appearance.
All shopping carts furnished to customers by retail establishments must be:
a) A uniform color or “corporate color” to easily identify the retail establishment.
b) Maintained as originally designed with plastic bar grips securely attached and/or plastic seats securely attached and not have missing parts.
c) Maintained free of rust, excessive damage, protruding metal or sharp ends.
d) Identified with only one retail establishment listed on the cart. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.070: Prohibition on Removing or Possessing Shopping Carts off Premises
It is unlawful to possess a shopping cart off the premises of a retail establishment without the express prior written approval of its owner, unless the person is in the process of immediately returning the shopping cart to the owner. Written permission to remove a shopping cart is valid for not more than seventy-two consecutive hours. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.080: Abandonment Prohibited.
It is unlawful for any person to leave, or cause to be left, a shopping cart that was in his or her possession or custody on any public property area or upon public or private property such that it becomes an abandoned shopping cart. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.090: Mandatory Plan.
a) Every owner must prepare, implement, and submit a specific written plan to prevent customers from removing shopping carts from the owner’s premises and to retrieve shopping carts that were removed from the premises. Owners with existing retail establishments that do not have a plan meeting the requirements of this chapter must prepare, implement, and submit a written plan by July 1, 2014; owners with approved plans meeting the requirements of this chapter need not submit a new plan.
b) Every plan submitted pursuant to this section must be accompanied with a processing fee established by city council resolution.
c) New owners, new retail establishments, and existing retail establishments that relocate must all meet the requirements of this chapter.
d) Plans must include the following elements and are subject to the specified approvals below:
1) Notification. The means by which the requirements for signs and notifications in this chapter will be met.
2) Physical Measures. Specific physical measures implemented and maintained by the owner to prevent, deter or impede the removal of shopping carts from the premises. Such physical measures must be specifically identified and may include, without limitation, the following: disabling devices installed and maintained on carts; maintaining one or more security guards assigned the responsibility to deter or stop customers from removing shopping carts from the premises; preventing any shopping carts to be taken outside the confines of building exits unless accompanied by an employee of the business; bollards and chains in locations between the business exits and the parking area which effectively prevent transporting shopping carts into the parking area or off the premises; requiring security deposits by customers for cart use; or rental or sale of carts to customers.
3) Daily Cart Confinement. All shopping carts located on the premises of the retail establishment (other than an establishment open for business twenty-four hours per day) must be collected at the end of each business day by employees or contractors of the retail establishment and be collectively confined in a secure manner at a cart confinement area on the premises as designated in the cart containment plan until the commencement of the next business day. All shopping carts located on the premises of any retail establishment open for business twenty-four hours per day, other than carts then currently in use by a customer, must be collected by employees of the retail establishment and returned to the cart confinement area on the premises as designated in the cart containment plan at least twice per calendar day between the hours of twelve p.m. and twelve a.m. on each day the retail establishment is open for business. This section
does not apply to shopping carts located within an enclosed building.
4) Retrieval. A retrieval plan as described by this chapter.
5) Employee Training. The owner of the retail establishment must implement and maintain a periodic training program for its new and existing employees designed to educate such employees concerning the requirements of the plan and the applicable law prohibiting the unauthorized removal of shopping carts from the premises of the retail establishment. The cart containment plan must expressly describe the employee training program.
6) Collaboration with Other Businesses. Two or more retail establishments located within the same shopping center or retail center or sharing common parking area may collaborate and submit a single plan.
e) Exemptions. This section does not apply to any retail establishment which provides a total of five or less shopping carts for use by its customers.
f) Every plan submitted is subject for the director’s reasonable approval. In the event a plan demonstrates problems for implementation or is otherwise flawed, the director will notify the owner to submit a revised plan to the director within thirty days. The city manager may also require an evaluation report detailing the measures used during the prior year to prevent shopping carts from being removed from the owner’s premises and measures used to retrieve the shopping carts. The report may also include an inventory of shopping carts owned or used by the owner, the number of shopping carts which were retrieved after removal from the owner’s premises during the previous twelve months, and the number of shopping carts replaced due to loss, theft or abandonment during the previous twelve months.
g) Whenever an owner makes revisions to a plan, the revised plan must be submitted to the director for approval. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.100: Retrieval Plan.
a) Except as otherwise provided, every owner of a retail establishment must develop, implement and comply with the provisions of a written plan to retrieve lost, stolen or abandoned shopping carts. At a minimum, the retrieval plan must include the following:
1) Retrieval Personnel. The owner must retain independent contractors to provide shopping cart retrieval services. The cart retrieval plan must include a copy of each contract with a cart retrieval service (other than confidential financial information which may be redacted from the contract). Persons retained for shopping cart retrieval services must carry written authorization from the owner to be presented upon request by the director. Vehicles used by retrieval services must bear conspicuous signs identifying the name of the cart retrieval service.
2) Prompt Retrieval of Carts. The retrieval services retained by an owner must ensure that all public streets within at least a two-mile radius of a retail establishment premises are patrolled not less than every six hours. Each abandoned shopping cart that is found must be immediately retrieved. The cart retrieval plan must identify all streets that will be patrolled; the manner, frequency and times of such patrols; and means of retrieving abandoned shopping carts. The cart retrieval plan must identify the number of trucks, hours of operation of the retrieval service, and such other information as reasonably required by the city to ensure that the owner is devoting sufficient resources to shopping cart retrieval operations to comply with the provisions of this section.
3) Monthly Reports. The owner must provide, or cause to be provided by each cart retrieval service under contract with the owner, on or before the tenth day of each month, a written report to the director specifying the number of abandoned shopping carts retrieved by the retrieval personnel during the preceding calendar month period.
4) Daily Cart Confinement. All shopping carts located on the premises of the retail establishment (other than an establishment open for business twenty-four hours per day) must be collected at the end of each business day by employees of the retail establishment and be collectively confined in a secured manner at the cart confinement area on the premises as designated in the cart retrieval plan until the commencement of the next business day. All shopping carts located on the premises of any retail establishment open for business twenty-four hours per day, other than carts then currently in use by a customer, must be collected by employees of the retail establishment and returned to the cart confinement area on the premises as designated in the cart retrieval plan at least twice per calendar day between the hours of twelve p.m. and twelve a.m. on each day the retail establishment is open for business. This section does not apply to any shopping carts located within an enclosed building. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.11x: Incentives for Plan Compliance.
a) Except as otherwise provided, any retail establishment with a cart containment plan approved pursuant to this chapter, which establishment is operating in compliance with the provisions of such plan, is exempt from the payment of any fees otherwise due to the city pursuant to state law for the retrieval of any shopping carts impounded by the city.
b) For purposes of this section, a retail establishment is “operating in compliance with the provisions of such containment plan” if and only if:
1) A cart containment plan for such establishment was approved by the director in accordance with the provisions of this chapter;
2) Such plan has not previously been revoked by the city; and
3) Such establishment is not then currently the subject of any proceeding involving a written order to show cause as to why the approved plan should not be revoked.
c) Except as otherwise provided, any existing retail establishment which: (1) provides a total of more than five shopping carts for use by customers of such business; and (2) submits and obtains the approval of a cart containment plan within the time specified by this chapter, is exempt from the payment of any permit or inspection fees otherwise required by this chapter to implement such plan. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.120: Plan Amendments.
An owner of any retail establishment which has an approved plan conforming to the requirements of this chapter may, at any time, submit a proposed amendment to the approved plan. The amendment will be processed as if it were a new plan including, without limitation, the requirement that a fee be paid. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.130: Revocation by City—Grounds.
a) An approved plan may be revoked by the city upon any of the following grounds:
1) The owner of any retail establishment is operating, or is permitting operation of, the retail establishment in violation of this code including, without limitation, the plan and failed to correct such violation(s) for a period of at least fifteen calendar days following the date of receipt of written notice of such violation(s) from the city; or
2) The cart containment plan, as approved, is inadequate to reasonably prevent the removal of shopping carts from the premises of the retail establishment or retrieval of abandoned shopping carts.
b) Order and Notice to Show Cause. If at any time following the approval of a plan, the director obtains information or evidence that any of the grounds set forth in the grounds above may exist, the director will issue a written order to show cause as to why the approved plan should not be revoked and schedule an administrative hearing not less than fifteen calendar days nor more than thirty calendar days following the date such order to show cause. The order will state the grounds upon which it is proposed to revoke the approved plan and include the information and evidence, or a summary thereof, upon which such order was issued.
c) Conduct of Hearing. The administrative hearing will be conducted informally and the legal rules of evidence do not apply. Parties may each be represented by legal counsel or other representatives of their choice. The director, in the director’s sole discretion and as an alternative to revocation, may consider amending the plan if the grounds of the order to show cause are solely the inadequacy of the approved plan.
d) Decision of the Director. Within fifteen calendar days following conclusion of the hearing, the director must render a written decision regarding the plan. If the plan is revoked or amended, the decision must specify the findings of fact and the reasons for such action. If the plan is amended, the decision must also specify the amendment(s) to the plan.
e) Use of Shopping Carts Following Revocation Prohibited. It is unlawful for an owner to use shopping carts outside the owner’s retail establishment after a plan is revoked.
f) Persons aggrieved by the director’s decision may appeal the decision to the city manager, or designee, for a final decision. Such appeal must be in writing, specify the reasons for the appeal, be filed with the city clerk within fifteen days after the director’s decision, and be accompanied by a fee established by city council resolution. There is no right to further administrative appeal. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.140: Impoundment—Three-Day Business Notice.
The director may retrieve and impound any abandoned shopping cart pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 22435.7. Three business days after notifying the owner, the director may also retrieve and impound shopping carts observed in a location outside the owner’s premises when the owner has not retrieved it. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.150: Immediate Impoundment.
a) The director may retrieve and impound any abandoned shopping cart, whether it belongs to a retail establishment inside or outside the city’s jurisdiction, without providing the three-day notice provided the director gives actual notice to the owner of the impounded shopping cart within twenty-four hours following the impound. The notice must inform the owner of the location where the shopping cart may be claimed. Any shopping cart reclaimed by the owner within three business days after the date of such notice must be released and surrendered to the owner at no charge, including waiver of any impound and storage fees or fines which otherwise would be applicable, provided the retailer has an approved cart retrieval plan in place with the city.
b) The owner of any shopping cart not reclaimed within three business days after the date of actual notice is subject to prosecution or the imposition of any administrative costs, fees, fines, interest and other penalties applicable under this chapter commencing four business days after the date of notice.
c) Any shopping cart not reclaimed by the owner within thirty days after receiving actual notice may be sold or disposed of pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.160: Retrieval by the City.
a) Pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 22435.7(f), any owner failing to retrieve the owner’s shopping carts within three business days after being notified regarding such shopping cart being off the owner’s premises, is guilty of a violation of the Business and Professions Code and this chapter and may be punished with an administrative fine of fifty dollars for each occurrence in excess of three during the six-month periods ending on June 30th and December 31st of each calendar year.
b) Pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 22435.7(i), any owner failing to reclaim the shopping carts impounded by the city within three business days from the date of actual notice of impoundment is guilty of a violation of the Business and Professions Code and this chapter and may be punished with an administrative fine of fifty dollars for each occurrence in excess of three during the six-month periods ending on June 30th and December 31st of each calendar year.
c) For purposes of this section, an occurrence includes the retrieval of all shopping carts of an owner in a one-day period.
d) In addition to the fines imposed above, the owner is required to pay the city’s actual costs for retrieving and storing the owner’s shopping carts except when reclaimed by the owner within three business days.
e) The director is authorized to execute agreements, in a form approved by the city attorney, for retrieval services. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.170: Disposal of Abandoned Shopping Carts.
Pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 22435.7, the city manager may sell or otherwise dispose of any shopping cart impounded by the city manager that has not been reclaimed by its owner within thirty days after the owner receives notice. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.180: Emergency Services.
Pursuant to Business and Professions Code Section 22435.7(c), the city manager or any city officer, employee, or agent may immediately retrieve any shopping cart from public or private property if its location impedes emergency services. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.190: Enforcement Provisions.
In addition to any other enforcement provision of this code, the city manager may obtain compliance with this chapter by issuing administrative orders which are enforceable in a court or by direct court action. Without limitation, the city manager is authorized to require installation of disabling devices on all shopping carts which prevent their removal from an owner’s premises with respect to any owner who fails to prepare and implement a written plan. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
Section 9.74.200: Violation—Penalty.
a) In addition to the remedies set forth in this chapter, violations of this chapter may be enforced as follows:
1) Prosecution as infractions or misdemeanors at the city attorney’s discretion.
2) Abated as public nuisances.
3) Enjoined as unfair business practices that are presumed to nominally damage each and every resident of the community in which the permittee operates.
b) The remedies provided by this chapter are cumulative and in addition to any other criminal or civil remedies.
c) As part of any enforcement action, the city may recover its enforcement costs including:
1) Actual cost of preparing notices, correspondence, specifications, and contracts;
2) Personnel costs incurred for property inspections. Such costs will be calculated at an hourly rate based on a schedule established by city council resolution;
3) The cost of printing and mailing;
4) Costs related to inspection warrants;
5) Costs related to office hearings and administrative adjudications;
6) Attorney’s fees expended in enforcement actions including, without limitation, any action to recover enforcement costs pursuant to this chapter;
7) All costs or expenses for which the city may be liable under state law arising from or related to an enforcement action; and
8) All costs or expenses to which the city may be entitled pursuant to California law. (Ord. 2106 § 3, 2014)
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