Written by Larry Limpf
Sunday, 02 November 2008 11:24
Although Lake Township now has a resolution in place authorizing the removal of junk vehicles from private and public property, township trustees say they aren’t planning an aggressive enforcement effort.
The trustees said action will be taken after complaints about the vehicles are filed, but they won’t be scouring the township for alleged violations.
They approved the resolution last month after its third reading.
“I want to assure everybody we’re not on a witch hunt,” said Trustee Ron Sims after the second reading of the resolution. “It’s a tool we can use.”
Changes to the Ohio Revised Code that went into effect earlier this year allow townships more authority for addressing the problem of junk vehicles.
Mr. Sims said he heard from concerned car collectors while the trustees were considering the resolution and told them their vehicles wouldn’t be targeted.
“I’m one (collector) myself,” he said, adding that collectors’ vehicles would have to meet the criteria spelled out in the resolution for what constitutes a junk vehicle to be subject to enforcement.
Richard Welling, a trustee, said the key to the resolution is its focus on extensively damaged vehicles.
The resolution follows the definition listed in state law, which considers a motor vehicle as junk if it is at least three model years old, apparently inoperable, and extensively damaged, including missing wheels, tires, engine, or transmission.
A junked vehicle on public property may be removed immediately.
For vehicles on private property the township will follow a procedure that starts with the township issuing a written notice to the property owner of the township’s intent to remove the vehicle. The notice will include a description of the vehicle and the time, date, and place the trustees will formally review the information that contends the vehicle meets the criteria for being considered junk.
The owner will be allowed to present evidence at the hearing during which the board of trustees will decide whether or not to issue an order for removing the vehicle.
Owners will have 14 days from the date of the hearing to remove vehicles if the removal notice isn’t reversed.
If the township removes the vehicles any expenses it incurs will be placed as a lien against the property owner’s taxes. The resolution doesn’t apply to vehicles at a scrap metal processing facility, a motor vehicle salvage dealer, salvage vehicle auction or motor vehicle pool, or towing service as long as they’re licensed.
Although townships were authorized by the ORC to regulate the storage of junk motor vehicles within their unincorporated territories, they weren’t authorized to remove junk vehicles from within the territory until House Bill 50 went into effect in March.