Chapter 8.20
ABANDONED, WRECKED, DISMANTLED OR INOPERATIVE VEHICLES

Sections:

8.20.010    Findings and declarations.

8.20.020    Definitions.

8.20.030    Exemptions.

8.20.040    Removal from private property.

8.20.050    Administrative costs.

8.20.060    Abatement – Authorized.

8.20.070    Abatement – Notice.

8.20.080    Abatement – Hearing – Authorized.

8.20.090    Abatement – Hearing – Procedure.

8.20.100    Disposal.

8.20.110    Notice to state.

8.20.120    Cost assessment.

8.20.130    Abandonment unlawful.

8.20.140    Refusal to remove abandoned vehicle.

8.20.150    Provisions supplemental.

8.20.160    Administration.

8.20.170    Penalty for violation.

8.20.010 Findings and declarations.

In addition to and in accordance with the determination made and the authority granted by the state under Section 22660 of the Vehicle Code to remove abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof as public nuisances, the City Council makes the following findings and declarations:

The accumulation and storage of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof on private or public property not including highways is found to create a condition tending to reduce the value of private property, to promote blight and deterioration, to invite plundering, to create fire hazards, to constitute an attractive nuisance creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, to create a harborage for rodents and insects and to be injurious to the health, safety and general welfare. Therefore, the presence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle or parts thereof, on private or public property not including highways, except as expressly permitted in this chapter, is declared to constitute a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 372 § 1, 1979)

8.20.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A) The term “highway” means a way or place or whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.

(B) The term “owner of the land” means the owner of the land on which the vehicle, or parts thereof, is located, as shown on the last equalized assessment roll.

(C) The term “owner of the vehicle” means the last registered owner and legal owner of record.

(D) The term “public property” does not include “highway.”

(E) The term “vehicle” means a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, except a device moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. (Ord. 372 § 1, 1979)

8.20.030 Exemptions.

(A) This chapter shall not apply to:

(1) A vehicle, or parts thereof, which is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

(2) A vehicle, or parts thereof, which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler, licensed vehicle dealer, a junk dealer, or when the storage or parking is necessary to the operation of a lawfully conducted business or commercial enterprise; or

(3) A vehicle or parts thereof, which is located behind a solid fence six feet in height or which is not plainly visible from a highway.

(B) Nothing in this section shall authorize the maintenance of a public or private nuisance as defined under provisions of law other than Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of Division 11 of the Vehicle Code and this chapter. (Ord. 372 § 2, 1979)

8.20.040 Removal from private property.

When the City Council has contracted with or granted a franchise to any person or persons, such person or persons shall be authorized to enter upon private property or public property to remove or cause the removal of a vehicle or parts thereof declared to be a nuisance pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 372 § 5, 1979)

8.20.050 Administrative costs.

The City Council shall from time to time determine and fix an amount to be assessed as administrative costs (excluding the actual cost of removal of any vehicle or parts thereof) under this chapter. (Ord. 372 § 6, 1979)

8.20.060 Abatement – Authorized.

Upon discovering the existence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle, or parts thereof, on private property or public property within the City, the City Manager shall have the authority to cause the abatement and removal thereof in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this chapter. (Ord. 372 § 7, 1979)

8.20.070 Abatement – Notice.

A 10-day notice of intention to abate and remove the vehicle, or parts thereof, as a public nuisance shall be mailed by certified or registered mail to the owner of the land as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the last registered and legal owners of record of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine the ownership. The notices of intention shall be in substantially the following forms:

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ABATE AND REMOVE AN ABANDONED, WRECKED, DISMANTLED OR INOPERATIVE VEHICLE OR PARTS THEREOF AS A PUBLIC NUISANCE

(Name and address of owner of the land)

(Name and address of last registered and/or legal owner of record of vehicle – notice should be given to both if different)

As owner shown on the last equalized assessment roll of the land located at (address), and as the last registered (and/or legal) owner of record of (description of vehicle, make, model, license, etc.,) you are hereby notified that the undersigned pursuant to Chapter 8.20 of the Palmdale Municipal Code, the City of Palmdale has determined that there exists upon said land an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle (or parts thereof) registered to ________________, license number ________________, which constitutes a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of (municipal code chapter number). You and each of you are hereby ordered to abate said nuisance by the removal of said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) within 10 days from the date of mailing of this notice, and are notified that upon your failure to do so the same will be abated and removed by the City of Palmdale and the costs hereof, together with administrative costs, assessed to each of you.

You may request an administrative hearing to contest this Order and Notice by filing a Request for Hearing with the City Clerk of the City of Palmdale at 38300 Sierra Highway, Palmdale, California 95350, within 10 days after the date of this Notice of Intention to Abate and Remove. If the property or vehicle owner requests a hearing, said owner may appear in person at the hearing or may submit a sworn written statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land, explaining the reasons for the denial, in lieu of appearing. The submission of such a sworn statement within the required time shall be considered a request for a hearing that does not require the presence of the owner submitting the statement. Any person who does not file a request for a hearing in the office of the City Clerk within the required time, shall have waived the right to a hearing and admitted that the vehicle or parts thereof do not constitute a public nuisance, agreed that the City has the right to and may abate the nuisance and admitted liability for the abatement costs incurred by the City.

Notice Mailed _______________
    (date)

s/ ______________
(locally designated officer)

(Ord. 1323 § 1, 2007; Ord. 526 § 1, 1984; Ord. 372 § 8, 1979)

8.20.080 Abatement – Hearing – Authorized.

(A) Upon request by the owner of the vehicle or owner of the land received by the City Clerk within 10 days after the mailing of the notice of intention to abate and remove, a public hearing shall be held by the administrative hearing officer appointed by the City Manager, on the question of abatement and removal of the vehicle or parts thereof as an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle, and the assessment of the administrative costs and the cost of removal of the vehicle or parts thereof against the property on which it is located.

(B) If the owner of the land submits a sworn written statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on his land within the 10-day period, the statement shall be construed as a request for a hearing which does not require his presence. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed, by registered mail or certified mail, at least 10 days before the hearing to the owner of the land and to the owner of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership. If such a request for hearing is not received within said 10 days after mailing of the notice of intention to abate and remove, the City shall have the authority to abate and remove the vehicle or parts thereof as a public nuisance without holding a public hearing. (Ord. 1323 § 2, 2007; Ord. 372 § 9, 1979)

8.20.090 Abatement – Hearing – Procedure.

(A) All hearings under this chapter shall be held before the administrative hearing officer appointed by the City Manager, who shall hear all facts and testimony he or she deems pertinent. The facts and testimony may include testimony on the condition of the vehicle or parts thereof and the circumstances concerning its location on the private property or public property.

(B) The hearing officer shall not be limited by the technical rules of evidence. The owner of the land may appear in person at the hearing or present a sworn written statement in time for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land, with his or her reasons for the denial.

(C) The hearing officer may impose conditions and take such other actions as deemed appropriate under the circumstances to carry out the purposes of this chapter. The hearing officer may delay the time for removal of the vehicle or parts thereof if the circumstances justify it. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer may find that a vehicle or parts thereof has been abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or is inoperative on private or public property and order the same removed from the property as a public nuisance and disposed of as provided in this chapter and determine the administrative costs and the cost of removal to be charged against the owner of the land. The order requiring removal shall include a description of the vehicle or parts thereof and the correct identification number and license number of the vehicle, if available at the site.

(D) If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the owner of the land and that he has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, the hearing officer shall not assess the costs of administration or removal of the vehicle against the property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect such costs from the owner of the land.

(E) If the owner of the land submits a sworn written statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on his land but does not appear, or if an interested party makes a written presentation to the hearing officer but does not appear, they shall be notified in writing of the decision. (Ord. 1323 § 3, 2007; Ord. 372 § 10, 1979)

8.20.100 Disposal.

Five days after adoption of the order declaring the vehicle or parts thereof to be a public nuisance, or five days from the date of mailing of notice of the decision if the notice is required by PMC 8.20.090, or 15 days after the decision of the hearing officer authorizing removal following appeal, the vehicle or parts thereof may be disposed of by removal to a scrapyard or automobile dismantler’s yard. After a vehicle has been removed it shall not thereafter be reconstructed or made operable. (Ord. 1323 § 4, 2007; Ord. 372 § 11, 1979)

8.20.110 Notice to state.

Within five days after the date of removal of the vehicle or parts thereof, notice shall be given to the Department of Motor Vehicles identifying the vehicle or parts thereof removed. At the same time there shall be transmitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles any evidence of registration available, including registration certificates, certificates of title and license plates. (Ord. 372 § 12, 1979)

8.20.120 Cost assessment.

If the administrative costs and the cost of removal which are charged against the owner of a parcel of land pursuant to PMC 8.20.090 are not paid within 30 days of the date of the order, or the final disposition of an appeal therefrom, such costs shall be assessed against the parcel of land pursuant to Section 38773.5 of the Government Code and shall be transmitted to the tax collector for collection. The assessment shall have the same priority as other City taxes. (Ord. 372 § 13, 1979)

8.20.130 Abandonment unlawful.

It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to abandon, park, store, or leave or permit the abandonment, parking, storing or leaving of any licensed or unlicensed vehicle or parts thereof which is in an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative condition upon any private property or public property not including highways within the City for a period in excess of five days unless the vehicle or parts thereof is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not plainly visible from the street or other public or private property, or unless the vehicle is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler, licensed vehicle dealer or a junkyard. (Ord. 372 § 14, 1979)

8.20.140 Refusal to remove abandoned vehicle.

It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to fail or refuse to remove an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle or parts thereof or refuse to abate the nuisance when ordered to do so in accordance with the abatement provisions of this chapter or state law where the state law is applicable. (Ord. 372 § 15, 1979)

8.20.150 Provisions supplemental.

This chapter is not the exclusive regulation of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles within the City. It shall supplement and be in addition to the other regulatory codes, statutes, and ordinances heretofore or hereafter enacted by this City, the state, or any other legal entity or agency having jurisdiction. (Ord. 372 § 3, 1979)

8.20.160 Administration.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the City Manager. In the enforcement of this chapter such officer and his deputies may enter upon private or public property to examine a vehicle or parts thereof, or obtain information as to the identity of a vehicle and to remove or cause to be removed any vehicle or parts thereof declared to be a nuisance pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 372 § 4, 1979)

8.20.170 Penalty for violation.

Upon conviction of a violation of this chapter any person so convicted shall be subject to a fine of not more than $500.00. Each act in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a separate offense. (Ord. 372 § 15, 1979)