Chapter 10.68
INOPERATIVE VEHICLES

Sections:

10.68.010    Findings and declarations.

10.68.020    Definitions.

10.68.030    Exceptions.

10.68.040    Applicability of other laws.

10.68.050    Administration and enforcement.

10.68.060    Initiation of proceedings.

10.68.070    Notice of vehicle abatement—Service of notice.

10.68.080    Notice of vehicular abatement—Contents.

10.68.090    Hearing and determination.

10.68.100    Vehicle abatement.

10.68.110    Notice to Department of Motor Vehicles.

10.68.120    Collection of removal and administration costs.

10.68.010 Findings and declarations.

In accordance with the determinations 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 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 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 public health, safety and general welfare. Therefore, the presence of such vehicles, or a part thereof, on private or public property, as defined in Section 10.68.020, and except as expressly hereinafter permitted, is declared to constitute a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this chapter as set forth under

Section 38773.5 of the California Government Code. (Prior code § 3218)

10.68.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them:

A. “Code enforcement officer” means and includes, for the purposes of this chapter only, field services technicians as designated by the chief of police, as well as code enforcement officers regularly employed or designated in that capacity by the city.

B. “Highway” means a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and opened to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes streets.

C. “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.

D. “Owner of the vehicle” means the last registered owner and legal owner of record.

E. “Public property” means any property owned by a public agency, but does not include highways.

F. “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, including, but not limited to, autos, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trailers and mobile homes. (Prior code § 3218.1)

10.68.030 Exceptions.

A. This chapter shall not apply to the following as set forth in Section 22661 of the California Vehicle Code:

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;

2. The storage of one vehicle or parts thereof which is located behind a solid fence six feet in height and which is not plainly visible from a street, highway or other property;

3. A vehicle or parts thereof which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property on an approved site in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler, vehicle dealer, junk dealer, a towing service, or an auto repair or body shop, when such storage or parking is necessary to the operation of an otherwise lawfully conducted business or commercial enterprise.

B. Nothing in this section shall authorize the maintenance of a public or private nuisance as prohibited in Chapter 8.24. (Prior code § 3218.2)

10.68.040 Applicability of other laws.

This chapter does not constitute the exclusive procedure for removal of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles within the city, but supplements and is in addition to all other regulatory codes, statutes and ordinances heretofore or hereafter enacted by the city, the county, the state or any other legal entity or agency having jurisdiction, relating thereto. (Prior code § 3218.3)

10.68.050 Administration and enforcement.

Except as otherwise provided herein, the provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the police chief of the city or such other persons as he or she shall designate as enforcing officers. (Prior code § 3218.4)

10.68.060 Initiation of proceedings.

When the enforcing officer has reason to believe or observes that the accumulation and the storage of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof on public or private property constitutes a public nuisance as described in Section 10.68.010, he or she shall immediately investigate the same. In the performance of such investigation the enforcing officer and his or her designees may enter upon private or public property to examine a vehicle or parts thereof and to obtain information as to the identity and the ownership thereof. The police department and health officer of the city shall assist in such investigation and enforcement as needed. (Prior code § 3218.5)

10.68.070 Notice of vehicle abatement—Service of notice.

If the enforcing officer determines from his or her investigation that a public nuisance exists, he or she shall serve or cause to be served, either by personal service or by registered or certified mail, a copy of a notice of vehicle abatement upon every person concerned, including the owner of the property on which the alleged public nuisance exists, as shown on the last equalized assessment roll, and the last known registered and legal owner of the subject vehicle if the identification numbers are available to determine ownership. If a notice sent by registered or certified mail is returned unclaimed, a subsequent notice sent by first class mail, postage prepaid, to the last known address of the party concerned shall be sufficient and such notice shall be effective upon mailing. The failure of any person to receive such notice shall not affect in any manner the validity of the proceedings taken under this chapter. (Prior code § 3218.6)

10.68.080 Notice of vehicular abatement—Contents.

The notice of vehicle abatement served pursuant to Section 10.68.070 shall contain the following information:

A. The findings, in brief, that the vehicles constitute a public nuisance;

B. That it is the intention of the enforcing officer to abate the vehicles on the premises, as both are described, fifteen days from service of notice of vehicular abatement, and that the costs of removal may be assessed against the premises;

C. A common description of the premises by address or assessor’s parcel number and a description of the vehicles, including license numbers or identification numbers if these are available on the vehicles;

D. That the owner of the property or any owner of the vehicles may, within ten days of receipt of the notice, file a written request for a hearing before the council, or such person as they may designate to hear the matter, to show any cause why the vehicles should not be abated by the enforcing officer,

E. That the owner of the property on which the vehicles are located may either appear at a hearing or present a sworn statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicles and giving the reasons for the denial, and that such statement shall be deemed a request for a hearing not requiring the presence of the requestor. (Prior code § 3218.7)

10.68.090 Hearing and determination.

A. All hearings under this chapter shall be held before the council, or any person they may designate to hear the matter, who may hear all the relevant evidence pertaining to the alleged public nuisance, including testimony on the condition of the vehicle or parts thereof, the circumstances concerning its location on the private or public property, and the costs of removal and disposal.

B. The hearing need not be conducted according to technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses. The hearing shall commence within twenty days of the filing of the written request, and it may be continued from time to time. Any person affected may be present at such hearing, may be represented by counsel, may present testimony, and may cross-examine witnesses. The owner of the land on which the vehicle is located may appear in person at the hearing or present a sworn written statement in time for consideration at the hearing denying responsibility for such denial.

C. After the conclusion of the hearing, the council or hearing officer may:

1. Impose such conditions and take such other action as it deems appropriate under the circumstances to carry out the purposes of this chapter,

2. Delay the time for removal of the vehicle or parts thereof if, in its opinion, the circumstances justify it; or

3. Find that the 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 -hereinafter provided in Section 10.68.100; and determine the administrative costs and the cost of removal and charge the same against the owner or other person in possession of the parcel of land on which the vehicle or parts thereof is located, or against the owner of the vehicles, or against them jointly. Any such order requiring removal shall include a description of the vehicle or parts thereof, and the correct identification number and license number of the vehicles 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 landowner and that he or she has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, the city shall not charge the costs of administration or of removal of the vehicle against the property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect such costs from such landowner.

E. If an interested party makes a written presentation to the council, but does not appear, he or she shall be notified in writing of the decision. (Prior code § 3218.8)

10.68.100 Vehicle abatement.

After a finding has been made by the enforcing officer that any vehicle or parts thereof is a public nuisance under this chapter and if no hearing has been requested pursuant to subsections D and E of Section 10.68.080, or if the council after a hearing so orders, the vehicle or parts may be disposed of by removal to a scrapyard or automobile dismantler’s yard, or to any suitable site operated by a local agency for processing as scrap or other final disposition consistent with this section. The party removing the vehicle or parts thereof may in so doing enter upon the private or public property on which it is located. Except as provided in the Vehicle Code, after removal a vehicle shall not be reconstructed or made operative. (Ord. 973 § 1, 1983: prior code § 3218.9)

10.68.110 Notice to Department of Motor Vehicles.

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 certificate, certificate of title, and license plates. (Prior code § 3218.10)

10.68.120 Collection of removal and administration costs.

The council may, from time to time, determine and set an amount to be assessed as administrative costs under this chapter. If no hearing is requested and held by the council, the enforcing officer shall determine the cost of removal and charge the same against the owner or other person in possession of the parcel of land on which the vehicle or parts thereof are located or against the owner of the vehicle, or against them jointly. If the administrative costs and the cost of removal which are charged against the owner of a parcel of land, pursuant to this section or to Section 10.68.090 are not paid within thirty days of the date of the order, such costs shall be assessed against the parcel of land pursuant to Section 25845 of the Government Code and shall be transmitted to the tax collector for collection. The assessment shall have the same priority as other county and city taxes. (Prior code § 3218.12)