Hopewell considers change on old cars
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Aug 15, 2014, 09:34
HOPEWELL — Residents in the city could soon see a change to the inoperable vehicles ordinance as early as next month. This change in the ordinance represents council’s continued efforts to beautify the city.
If approved, residents will no longer be allowed to have most inoperable vehicles outside of an enclosed structure, such as a garage or other building.
The change in the ordinance for inoperable vehicles began last year when council petitioned to be added to the list of localities restricting the number of inoperable vehicles that a resident may have at their residence.
Prior to the change in state code 15.2-905, or city code 25-54, it was stated a resident could have an inoperable vehicle parked outside, provided it was shielded with a car cover.
Now, with approval from the General Assembly to be added to the list of localities, the number of inoperable vehicles can be restricted and there is no longer a car cover provision.
The city code defines an inoperable vehicle as “any motor vehicle which is not in operating condition,” and “does not display an inspection decal that is valid or does display an inspection decal that has been expired for more than 60 days.”
City Attorney David Fratarcangelo explained at the meeting on Tuesday that the ordinance allows the city to “bar anyone in the city from having an inoperable vehicle outside of an enclosed structure.”
In addition to that change in the ordinance, the councilors were in agreement that the number of inoperable vehicles needed to be restricted as well.
Another change will be that a resident may own an inoperable vehicle and have it stored outside provided that the resident can give proof that the vehicle is being actively restored.
“It still has to be screened from view at ground level,” Fratarcangelo said. “It doesn’t mean a car cover, it means screened by a fence, hedgerows, or whatever it is that keeps it invisible from ground level.”
The code will also be drafted to state that another inoperable vehicle may be kept at the residence provided it is a car to be used for parts needed to repair the other inoperable vehicle.
Both cars must remain screened from view at ground level.
A resident will now only have 60 days to repair the car after the inspection sticker expires.
“The owners of the property zoned for residential or commercial purposes shall within ten days of notice from council, through its agents or employees, remove therefrom any such motor vehicles as described above that are not kept within a fully enclosed building or structure,” the revised city code states. “The police department, through its agents or employees, may remove such motor vehicles as herein above described, whenever the owner of the premises, after the above notice, has failed to do so.”
Councilor Jackie Shornak said this ordinance was just another step towards making Hopewell a cleaner city.
“I think we’re definitely on the right track,” she said. “We need to make sure that we adhere to these polices and get this passed next time so that we can clean up the city and get rid of these vehicles that nobody’s doing anything with anyway and they’ve been there for years and years.”
Shornak also added that in recent conversations with the police department it was indicated that by year’s end the department is expected to tag over 500 inoperable vehicles.
Council will vote on a draft, which is expected to be finalized, at the meeting in September.