City of Sunnyvale Alarm Ordinance

City of Sunnyvale Alarm Ordinance
Sunnyvale Municipal Code (Sunnyvale, California)
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Title 9. PUBLIC PEACE, SAFETY OR WELFARE
Chapter 9.90. ALARM SYSTEMS
9.90.010. Purpose.
The purpose of this chapter is to set forth regulations governing the use of alarm
systems and the carrying on of an alarm business within the city of Sunnyvale and to
provide for fees to be charged for excessive false alarms. (Ord. 2728-03 § 2: Ord.
2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.020. Definitions.
Current through Ordinance 2967-12
and the April 2012 code
supplement. For more recent
amendments to this code, refer to
the CodeAlert page.
This document is provided for
informational purposes only. Please
read the full disclaimer.
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Contact:
Sunnyvale City Clerk: (408)7307483
Email: [email protected]
Published by:
Quality Code Publishing
Seattle, WA
1-800-328-4348
For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Act of nature” means an event which originates primarily from causes
beyond the control of human beings. “Act of nature” does not include false alarms or
malfunctions of alarm systems or devices caused by failure to properly inspect,
maintain or repair the alarm system or device.
(2) “Alarm business” means the business of selling, leasing, maintaining,
servicing, repairing, altering, replacing, moving or installing or causing to be sold,
leased, maintained, serviced, repaired, altered, replaced, moved or installed any alarm
system in or on any building, place or premises in the city and shall include any
individual, partnership, corporation or other entity operating a central alarm station
protection system for the benefit of its subscribers.
(3) “Alarm system” means any device designed to summon police or fire
assistance from the department of public safety to a designated site. An “audible
alarm system” means a system that produces an audible or visible signal at the point
of origin. A “remote alarm system” means a system that transmits a silent signal from
a location to a remote processing center or other location for retransmission to the
city.
(4) “Alarm user” means any individual, partnership, corporation or other entity
using the services of an alarm system.
(5) “Audible alarm system” means an alarm system which when activated
generates sound perceptible from the exterior of the building structure or facility in
which the alarm system is located. Audible alarm systems may or may not be
monitored by a central alarm station.
(6) “Automatic telephone dialing alarm device” means an electrically operated
instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically
sends over regular telephone lines, by direct connection or otherwise, a prerecorded
voice alarm or other electronically generated message. However, alarm devices which
transmit to the public safety department, live voices capable of two-way
communication, are expressly excluded from the definition of the term “automatic
telephone dialing alarm device” as used herein.
(7) “Central alarm station” means a system or group of systems, operated for its
subscribers by a person in the alarm business, in which the operations of electrical
detection circuits and devices are transmitted to, recorded in, maintained and
supervised from a central alarm station having trained operators in attendance at all
times that have the duty to take appropriate action upon receipt of a signal or
message, including the relaying of messages by direct telephone communications to
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the department of public safety.
(8) “Director of public safety” as used in this chapter also includes the director’s
designee.
(9) “Emergency” means an occasion that reasonably calls for a response by the
department of public safety. A response due to failure of the alarm system, personnel
error in transmission or reporting of an alarm, or repair or maintenance of an alarm
system is not an emergency.
(10) “False alarm” means an alarm signal or notification of alarm necessitating
response by the public safety department where an emergency situation does not
exist.
(11) “False alarm period” means the one-year period which commences with the
date of the first false alarm. Succeeding false alarm periods shall begin on the
anniversary date of the first alarm period.
(12) “Local alarm system” means an alarm system which is annunciated only on
the premises and is not intended to cause a request for emergency response.
(13) “Monitored” means an alarm system that is both designed to communicate
with a central alarm station protection system and is currently being provided with
that service.
(14) “Nonmonitored” means an alarm system that is either not designed or
equipped to communicate with a central alarm station protection system or is not
currently being provided with that service.
(15) “Nuisance alarm system” means an alarm system that has been declared,
pursuant to this chapter, a public nuisance due to excessive false alarms.
(16) “Subscriber” means a person who has contracted with an alarm business for
the monitoring services of a central alarm station protection system. (Ord. 2839-07 §
1; Ord. 2728-03 § 3; Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.030. Exemptions.
The provisions of this chapter are not applicable to audible alarms affixed to
motor vehicles other than those maintained or held in inventory by a dealer, as
defined by Section 285 of the California Vehicle Code. Local alarm systems which do
not utilize audible alarm devices or other signaling devices which are perceptible
from outside the premises are exempted from this chapter. The provisions for fees for
excessive false alarms are not applicable to the facilities of the city with the exception
of facilities occupied by non-city occupants or independent contractors leasing city
facilities. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.040. Applicability to existing alarms.
Each person who is conducting an alarm business or operating any alarm system
has until no later than July 1, 1995 to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
(Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.050. Alarm system standards.
(a) Backup Power Supply.
(1) Any alarm system installed after July 1, 1995 shall be supplied with an
uninterrupted power supply in such a manner that the failure or interruption of the
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normal electric utility service will not activate the alarm system. The power supply
must be capable of at least four hours of operation.
(2) Every alarm system installed prior to July 1, 1995 shall be equipped with such
an uninterrupted power supply no later than July 1, 1996. The director of public
safety is authorized to grant extensions of time for compliance where necessary in
any individual case to avoid undue hardship.
(b) Audible Alarm Systems.
(1) Every alarm system that utilizes an audible alarm device installed after July 1,
1995, shall have a timing device which automatically shuts off the audible device
within ten minutes after it is activated.
(2) Every audible alarm system installed prior to July 1, 1995, shall be equipped
with such an automatic timing device no later than July 1, 1996. The director of
public safety is authorized to grant extensions of time for compliance where
necessary in any individual case to avoid undue hardship.
(c) Additional Standards. The director of public safety may prescribe additional
minimum standards and regulations for the construction and maintenance of all alarm
systems installed within the city. These standards and regulations shall become
effective upon adoption. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.055. Alarm users permit.
(a) No person shall install or cause to be installed, use, maintain or possess an
alarm system on premises owned or in the possession or control of such person within
the city without first having obtained an annual alarm users permit from the
department of public safety in accordance with this section. The application for an
alarm users permit or renewal shall be submitted on a form as prescribed by the
department and shall include the address of the premises wherein the system is to be
located; the name, address and telephone number of the applicant; the name address
and telephone number of a second and third person who may be contacted in case of
emergency any time day or night; and the name, address and telephone number of the
person or company that will render service or repairs during any hour of the day or
night. The person(s) listed shall be required to respond to the premises within thirty
minutes after being advised of the alarm activation pursuant to Section 9.90.070(c).
Failure to respond may result in further fines or fees in the form of an administrative
citation for violation of this Municipal Code section.
(b) The annual application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable fee in such
amount as established by resolution of the council.
(c) A separate users permit shall be required for each premises or address on
which an alarm system is used or installed. Alarm system permits are not
transferable. A new permit shall be issued when a business/residence changes the
name, ownership, or moves.
(d) The permit shall be denied by the department of public safety if the alarm
system does not comply with the standards and regulations pursuant to Section
9.90.050. Any such denial may be appealed to the director of public safety; provided
that a notice of appeal is filed with the director within fifteen days of the denial of
the permit. The director shall set the matter for a hearing within thirty days after
receipt of notice. The director shall render a decision within ten days after the close
of the hearing. The decision of the director shall be final.
(e) Whenever any change occurs relating to the written information required by
Section 9.90.055(a), the alarm user shall give written notice of such changes to the
department of public safety within five business days.
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(f) Failure to obtain the necessary permit shall result in a penalty assessment in the
amount as established by resolution of the council. A penalty hearing may be
requested in accordance with Section 9.90.110. (Ord. 2839-07 § 2).
9.90.060. Duties of alarm business.
(a) Records. It shall be the responsibility of any alarm business providing alarm
system services to subscribers within the city to maintain current records of its
subscribers, including a listing of at least two persons who can respond within thirty
minutes of notification to the site of the alarm to assist public safety in determining
the cause of the false alarm, and to provide to the public safety department at its
request, the current name, address and telephone number of any of its subscribers
presently receiving alarm system service within the city.
(b) Instructions. Every alarm business selling, leasing or furnishing to any user an
alarm system shall furnish the user with instructions which provide sufficient
information to enable the user to operate the alarm system properly and to obtain
service for the alarm system at any time.
(c) Department Review. Standard form instructions shall be submitted by every
alarm business to the director of public safety upon request. If the director finds such
instructions to be incomplete, unclear or inadequate, the director may require the
alarm business to revise the instructions to comply with subsection (b) of this section
and then to distribute the revised instructions to its alarm users.
(d) Notification. In the event of an alarm that indicates that there may be a life
hazard involved, the department shall be immediately informed.
(e) Alarm Tests. An alarm business shall notify the department of public safety
prior to any service, test, repair, maintenance, adjustment or installation of an alarm
system which may result in any indication that a public safety response is requested.
Any alarm activated, where such prior notice has been given, shall not constitute a
false alarm. (Ord. 2839-07 § 3: Ord. 2728-03 § 4; Ord. 2570-97 § 5; Ord. 2506-95
§ 1 (part)).
9.90.070. Duties of alarm user.
(a) Update Information, Monitored System. It shall be the responsibility of each
alarm system user of any alarm system which is monitored by a central station to
provide current subscriber and responsible information to the alarm business
providing monitoring services. Changes to subscriber or responsible party information
shall be reported to the alarm monitoring business within twenty-four hours.
(b) Update Information, Nonmonitored System. It shall be the responsibility of
each alarm system user of any nonmonitored audible alarm system to provide current
user and responsible party information to the department of public safety. Changes to
the required information shall be reported to the department within twenty-four hours.
(c) Respond to Alarm Location. Upon being informed of an alarm activation, it
shall be the duty of the responsible party to respond to the location of the alarm
within thirty minutes of the alarm activation.
(d) Alarm Tests. An alarm user shall notify the department of public safety prior
to any service, test, repair, maintenance, adjustment or installation of an alarm system
which may result in any indication that a public safety response is requested. Any
alarm activated, where such prior notice has been given, shall not constitute a false
alarm. If services are being performed by an alarm business, it shall be the
responsibility of the alarm business to make notification to the director of public
safety. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
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9.90.080. Limitation on right to use alarm system.
The city reserves the right to alter and amend its regulations regarding alarm
systems from time to time, including the right to prohibit any alarm system permitted
hereunder, and no person shall have or gain any vested rights in the continued use of
any alarm system. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.090. False alarm fees.
(a) The council finds and determines that repeated responses to false alarms by the
city may result in a significant expenditure of department of public safety time and
resources and increased costs to the public. The council, therefore, finds that it is
necessary and appropriate for the city to seek to recover the costs of repeated
responses to false alarms from the persons responsible for such alarms through the
imposition of false alarm fees. Fees shall be as established by resolution of the
council.
(b) In addition to any other remedies available to the city pursuant to this code or
state law, the director of public safety may, pursuant to the procedure set forth in this
chapter, impose false alarm fees to recover the costs of department of public safety
responses to multiple false alarms, which resulted from causes other than violent acts
of nature, within a three-hundred-sixty-five-day period.
Such false alarm fees shall be in the amounts established by resolution of the city
council, and may be progressively higher for each false alarm which occurs during a
three-hundred-sixty-five-day period.
(c) The director of public safety may impose fees for the third and subsequent
false police alarm within any three hundred sixty-five-day period; and also for the
third and subsequent false fire alarm within any three hundred sixty-five-day period.
Police and fire false alarm fees are imposed separately and a property may
accumulate false alarm fees for both types of false alarms.
After the first false alarm for police assistance or the first false alarm for fire
assistance in any three hundred sixty-five-day period, the public safety department
shall deliver a warning notice to the business, dwelling or person responsible for the
alarm. The notice shall state the date, time and type of false alarm (police or fire).
The notice shall also state that the third and subsequent false alarm within any three
hundred sixty-five-day period may result in the imposition of false alarm fees
pursuant to this section, and the fee for each false alarm. (Ord. 2772-05, § 1; Ord.
2728-03 § 5; Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.100. False alarms exempt from false alarm fees.
False alarms reported to the department of public safety shall not be counted for
the imposition of false alarm fees under the following conditions:
(a) The alarm system is entirely new and was installed within the past thirty days.
Proof of installation date is required.
(b) The alarm system has undergone a major modification within the past thirty
days that significantly alters the operation of the system. Proof of modification is
required. The granting of this exemption is up to the discretion of the director of
public safety.
(c) The occupants of the premises took control over the alarm system within the
past thirty days and are utilizing an alarm system which does not qualify for
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exemption under another provision of this section.
(d) The director of public safety has granted an exemption, based upon verifiable
proof that the alarm user is taking all reasonable measures to eliminate the cause of
false alarms. A request for exemption must be made in writing and will be
determined on a case-by-case basis.
(e) False alarms reported to the department of public safety but subsequently
cancelled prior to department units starting actual response. If at the discretion of the
department a response is continued after a valid cancellation is received prior to
commencement of a response, the response will not be counted as a false alarm for
the purpose of imposing a false alarm fee. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.110. Procedure for imposition of false alarm fees.
(a) Notice of Imposition. The director of public safety shall deliver to the alarm
user at the address where the false alarms originate a notice of the imposition of false
alarm fees. The notice shall specify the date, time and nature of the events which are
the basis for the imposition of false alarm fees. The notice shall state that the alarm
user has the right to request a hearing before the director by submitting a written
request to the director within ten days of the date of the notice.
(b) Hearing on Imposition. Upon the receipt of a timely written request from the
alarm user for a hearing, the matter shall be set for a hearing before the director of
public safety on a date which is at least one week from the date of receipt of the
request for a hearing. At the hearing, the alarm user may present relevant evidence
regarding the alleged grounds for the imposition of false alarm fees.
(c) Decision. The director of public safety shall notify the alarm user of his/her
decision in writing by certified mail by no later than two weeks after the hearing. The
decision of the director shall be final.
(d) Collection of Fees. In the event of the failure of any person to pay the fees
assessed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the city may institute an action in
any court of competent jurisdiction to collect any charges, together with interest,
which may be due and payable and all administrative costs of collection in the same
manner as any other debt owing to the city may be collected. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1
(part)).
9.90.120. Nuisance alarm systems.
(a) An alarm system may be declared a nuisance alarm system by the director of
public safety under any one of the following:
(1) More than ten false alarms not exempt under this chapter were generated and
not canceled in a false alarm period.
(2) Audible alarm devices do not meet the standards contained in this chapter and
any complaint of a noise disturbance is received by public safety.
(3) Audible alarm devices meet the standards contained in this chapter and more
than three complaints of noise disturbance are received in any false alarm period and
the activation of the audible devices were the result of false alarms.
(b) The director of public safety shall notify the alarm user, in the same manner as
for the imposition of false alarm fees, of the determination that the alarm system is a
nuisance alarm system.
(c) It shall be unlawful to continue the operation of a nuisance alarm system after
the receipt of the notice.
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(d) Audible alarm devices which fall under the definition of a nuisance and are
causing an ongoing disturbance due to noise may be disabled by the department of
public safety or a third party under contract with the department. The alarm user shall
be held responsible for any costs incurred or damage caused in eliminating the cause
of the disturbance. No prior notice to the alarm user will be required to abate an
ongoing noise disturbance caused by an alarm system. No liability will be assumed
by the city or any of its agents in eliminating noise disturbance caused by false
alarms.
(e) A hearing before the director of public safety on whether the alarm system is a
nuisance may be held in the same manner as for the imposition of false alarm fees.
(f) The director of public safety shall notify the alarm user of his/her decision in
writing by certified mail by no later than two weeks after the hearing. The decision of
the director shall be final.
(g) The determination that an alarm system is a nuisance may be revoked by the
director of public safety upon finding proof that the cause of the excessive false
alarms or audible disturbance has been remedied. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.130. Automatic communication with public safety.
(a) No automatic telephone dialer alarm device shall be programmed to call 911
or any telephone number of the department of public safety. Alarm devices which
transmit to the department live voices and provide two-way communication are
excluded from this prohibition.
(b) No alarm device shall automatically communicate with the department of
public safety, whether by direct connection, telephone line, radio, or any other means.
Alarm devices which transmit to the department live voices and are capable of
providing two-way communication are excluded from this prohibition.
(c) The provisions of this section are not applicable to alarm systems operated by
the city. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.140. Confidentiality and statistics.
All information submitted in compliance with this chapter shall be held in the
strictest confidence and shall be deemed a public record exempt from disclosure
pursuant to state statutes, and any violation of confidentiality shall be deemed a
violation of this chapter. The director of public safety shall be charged with the
responsibility for the maintenance of all records kept pursuant to this chapter. (Ord.
2839-07 § 4: Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.150. Intentional falsification.
It shall be unlawful for any person to activate an alarm system for the purpose of
summoning assistance from the department when the person knows an emergency
does not exist. (Ord. 2728-03 § 6: Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.160. Violation of standards and regulations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any of the standards and regulations
adopted by the director of public safety pursuant to this chapter regarding the
construction and maintenance of alarm systems installed. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
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9.90.170. Maintenance of nuisance alarm system.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use or maintain in operation any alarm
system or device which has been determined to be a public nuisance. Violation of this
section shall be a misdemeanor. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
9.90.180. Violation.
It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with the provisions of this
chapter. Each day on which the violation continues constitutes a separate punishable
offense. (Ord. 2506-95 § 1 (part)).
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