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Allen County to crack down on abandoned vehicles

8/15/2017 11:25:08 AM

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 12:01 am

Owners of derelict vehicles may no longer be able to escape their clean-up responsibilities simply because they live outside the city limits.

Allen County Council Thursday is expected to consider an ordinance that would give the county Building Department the authority to remove, store and dispose of vehicles "under circumstances which would reasonably make such a vehicle appear  to have been abandoned."

"We've found a proliferation (of abandoned vehicles) in unincorporated areas, and people have been yelling at us to clean this (problem) up," Commissioner Nelson Peters said, noting that the county's proposal is based upon city ordinance enforced by the Neighborhood Code Enforcement Department.

The ordinance states that "No person shall leave any partially dismantled, non-operating wrecked or junked vehicle on any public or private premises." However, if enforcement officers find that complaints constitute harassment and the vehicle in question is operable, they are " not required to respond to every complaint."

The building department can enforce the ordinance itself or hire private contractors to remove, store and dispose of vehicles. The proposal gives the department authority to dispose of a vehicle or parts valued at $500 or less. Funds generated through disposal will help pay for enforcement. Owners of junk vehicles may also voluntarily request removal.

Owners of such vehicles may be charged for towing and storage,  and council must establish those fees.

Similar to Neighborhood Code, the Building Department has had the authority make certain "all exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition" since 2015 — more than 10 years after it was first proposed.

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