Ordinance would prohibit junked vehicles placed in view of public
The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would prohibit the placement of junked motor vehicles in public view.
Board members took the action during their April 18 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Karl Chambless and seconded by Alderman John Troncone.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing and final reading at the board’s May 16 meeting. It would amend Title 13 of the Municipal Code to add a chapter pertaining to junked motor vehicles.
It defines “vehicle” as any machine propelled by power other than human power that is designed to travel along the ground by the use of wheels, treads, self-laying tracks, runners, slides or skids.
It would include, but not be limited to automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, motor scooters, go-carts, campers, tractors, trailers, tractor-trailers, buggies, wagons and earth-moving equipment, or any part of those.
A “junked vehicle” is defined as a vehicle of any age that is damaged or defective in any way that makes it immediately inoperable, or would prevent it from being operated in a “reasonably safe manner” on the public streets and highways under its own power, if self-propelled, or while being towed or pushed if not self-propelled.
The definition of “damaged or defective” would include, but not be limited to one or more of the following:
(1) flat, missing, partially or totally disassembled tires and wheels;
(2) missing, partially or totally disassembled essential parts of the vehicle’s:
(a) drive train, such as the engine, transmission, transaxle, drive shaft, differential or axle;
(b) body, such as the fenders, doors, engine hood, bumpers, windshield or windows;
(c) interior, such as the driver’s seat, steering wheel, instrument panel, clutch, brake or gear shift lever;
(3) missing, partially or totally disassembled parts essential to the starting or running of the vehicle under its own power, such as the starter, generator, alternator, battery, distributor, gasoline tank, carburetor, fuel injection system, spark plugs or radiator;
(4) interior containing metal, glass, paper, rags or other cloth, wood, auto parts, machinery, waste or discarded materials in such quantity, quality and arrangement that a driver could not be properly seated in the vehicle;
(5) vehicle lying on the ground upside down, on its side or at any other extreme angle, sitting on blocks or suspended in the air by any other method;
(6) accumulation of garbage or debris around the vehicle, vegetation growing up around, in or through it or the collection of pools of water in it.
In addition to any natural “person,” the proposed ordinance defines the word as any “firm, partnership, association, corporation or other organization” of any kind and description.
The ordinance would make it unlawful for any person to park or place and leave a junked vehicle unattended on the traveled portion of any public street or highway for any period of time, and on the untraveled portion or on any other public property for more than 48 continuous hours, even if the owner or operator did not intend to permanently “desert or forsake” it.
A person would be permitted to park, store, keep and maintain a junked vehicle on private property if the following conditions were met:
(1) It is completely enclosed within a building where no part of the vehicle is visible from the street or from any other abutting property.
(2) It is parked or stored on property that is lawfully zoned for a business engaged in wrecking, junking or repairing vehicles.
But these exceptions would not exempt the owner, person in possession of the property or operator of the business from complying with any zoning, building, housing or fencing, property maintenance or other regulations governing the building in which the vehicle is enclosed or the business engaged in wrecking, junking or repairing vehicles.
No person would be permitted to park, store, keep and maintain a junked vehicle on private property for any period of time if it posed an “immediate threat” to the health and safety of the town’s residents.
Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-63-101, Oakland Building Official Walter Owen – acting either in response to a resident’s complaint or on his own information – would be authorized to issue a summons to the property owner for violation of the ordinance on private property.
The owner or “person apparently in lawful possession” of the property would be given notice to answer the charges against him. If the suspected offender refused to sign an agreement to answer the charges, Owen could request a summons from City Judge Craig Hall or ask an Oakland police officer to witness the violation.
The officer could issue the suspected offender a citation in lieu of arrest and arrest him if he refused to sign the citation.
Pursuant to T.C.A. Section 55-5-122, Hall could also issue an order to remove junked vehicles from private property.
Any person who violated the ordinance would be subject to a civil penalty of $50 plus court costs for each separate violation. And each day the violation continued would be considered a separate violation.
About Graham Sweeney
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