_City News

Posted on: October 27, 2017

Council tightens rules on junk cars; residents have until Jan. 1 to comply

junker

Oct. 25, 2017 - Backyard mechanics have about two months to get inoperable cars fixed, screened or at least start working on them.

In response to public complaints, City Council tightened restrictions on junk cars in residential areas. The new rules, which go into effect Jan. 1, 2018, are more in line with neighboring jurisdictions.

The changes:

  • Change the definition of inoperable vehicles to require a vehicle owner to have both a valid license plate and a valid inspection;
  • Shorten the notice period for an inoperable vehicle notice of violation; and 
  • Limit the instances when inoperable vehicles are allowed to be screened from view.

The city's 311 staff tallied 442 complaints from citizens about junk cars in the past year. In addition, city inspectors generated almost another 1,000 notices of violations. 

The amendments would largely require that inoperable vehicles be kept in an enclosed building. However, to accommodate backyard mechanics and car restoration buffs, residents are allowed to keep a vehicle being actively worked on, plus a second vehicle for parts, if they are shielded or screened from view.

Property maintenance supervisor Phil Russell noted that the city has some flexibility in working with people who call the office when they get a violation and explain their circumstances. People who are truly working toward a solution can get extra time, he said.

Other measures were approved that related to the purchase of the Boo Williams Sportsplex. One amended the capital budget and authorized a $9.25 million bond anticipation note; the other approves the agreement between the city and the Economic Development Authority, which will leasing the building to the non-profit Boo Williams Summer League. The league is expected to pay rent that will cover the bond payments without additional city money. The facility generates significant tourism and economic activity with tournaments throughout the year.

In other matters, Council:

  • Approved a measure designed to allow an Aberdeen Road entrance to the former Virginia School. That portion of Aberdeen is currently considered a limited access road, and the measure would ask the state to drop that designation. The site is expected to be redeveloped in the future.
  • Agreed to change the name of the Youth Violence Prevention Office to the Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities. The city believes that providing opportunities that positively affect the lives and direction of young people will reduce violence, and that focus will remain a component of the work. However, some people and affiliated programs believe that shifting the focus to the positive outcome, rather then the negative, would increase participation of families and non-profits who work with or receive funds through the office.

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