Chapter 10.35
ABANDONED VEHICLES*

Sections:

10.35.010    Definitions.

10.35.020    City may take into custody – Indemnity of city when vehicle removed from private property.

10.35.030    Notice of removal.

10.35.040    Sale.

10.35.050    Vehicles abandoned in garages.

10.35.060    Disposition of inoperable vehicles.

10.35.070    Chapter does not affect rights granted to private property owners by state law.

*State law reference – Authority of city to adopt ordinance similar to this chapter, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1201. See also, §§ 46.2-1213, 46.2-1217.

10.35.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them by this section:

“Abandoned motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer or any part thereof that:

(1) Is inoperable and is left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours;

(2) Has remained illegally on public property for a period of more than 48 hours; or

(3) Has remained, without consent, on private property, including, but not limited to, any commercial parking place, motor vehicle storage facility or establishment for the service, repair, maintenance or sale of motor vehicles, whether or not such vehicle was brought onto or left at such property with or without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property, for more than 48 hours.

“Demolisher” means any person whose business is to convert a motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer into processed scrap or scrap metal or otherwise to wreck or dismantle such vehicles.

“Traffic hazard” means any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer found on the public streets or grounds of the city, unattended by the owner or operator and constituting a hazard to traffic, or which is parked in such a manner as to be in violation of law. (Code 1964, § 15-290; Code 1985, § 16-183).

State law reference – Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1200.

10.35.020 City may take into custody – Indemnity of city when vehicle removed from private property.

(1) The city may remove and take into custody any abandoned motor vehicle or any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer which is a traffic hazard. In this connection, the city may employ its own personnel, equipment and facilities or hire persons, equipment or facilities or firms or corporations who may be independent contractors for the purpose of removing, preserving and storing such vehicles.

(2) In the event an abandoned motor vehicle is on private property, the vehicle shall not be removed under this section, without the written request of the owner, lessee or occupant of such property. The person requesting the removal of such vehicle shall indemnify the city against any loss or expense incurred by reason of the removal, storage or sale of the vehicle. (Code 1964, § 15-291; Code 1985, § 16-184).

State law reference – Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, §§ 46.2-1213, 46.2-1217, 46.2-1201.

10.35.030 Notice of removal.

(1) When the city removes and takes into custody a vehicle pursuant to this chapter, it shall notify, within 15 days thereof, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, the owner of record of the vehicle and all persons having security interests therein of record, that the vehicle has been taken into custody. The notice shall set forth the year, make, model and serial number of the vehicle and the location of the facility where the vehicle is being held, inform the owner and any persons having security interests of their right to reclaim the vehicle within three weeks after the date of the notice, upon payment of all towing, preservation and storage charges resulting from placing the vehicle in custody, and state that the failure of the owner or persons having security interests to exercise their right to reclaim the vehicle within the time provided shall be deemed a waiver by the owner and all persons having security interests of all right, title and interest in the vehicle, and consent to the sale of the vehicle at public auction.

(2) If records of the state division of motor vehicles contain no address for the owner or no address of any person shown by such records to have a security interest, or if the identity and addresses of the owner and all persons having security interests cannot be determined with reasonable certainty, notice by publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the vehicle was found shall be sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this section as to any person who cannot be notified pursuant to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section. Such notice by publication may contain multiple listings of motor vehicles removed under this chapter. Any such notice shall be within the time requirements prescribed for notice by mail and shall have the same contents required for a notice by mail.

(3) The consequences and the fact of failure to reclaim a motor vehicle shall be as set forth in a notice given in accordance with and pursuant to this section. (Code 1964, § 15-292; Code 1985, § 16-185).

State law reference – Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1202.

10.35.040 Sale.

(1) If a vehicle has not been reclaimed as provided for in SCC 10.35.030, the city or its authorized agent shall, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 46.2-617 of the Code of Virginia, sell the vehicle at public auction. The purchaser of the vehicle shall take title to the vehicle free and clear of all liens and claims of ownership of others, shall receive a sales receipt at the auction and shall be entitled to, upon application therefor, pursuant to Section 46.2-603 of the Code of Virginia, a certificate of title and registration card therefor. The sales receipt at such a sale shall be sufficient title only for purposes of transferring the vehicle to a demolisher for demolition, wrecking or dismantling and, in such case, no further titling of the vehicle shall be necessary.

(2) From the proceeds of the sale of a vehicle under this section, the city or its authorized agent shall reimburse itself for the expenses of the auction, the cost of towing, preserving and storing the vehicle, which resulted from placing the vehicle in custody, and all notice and publication costs incurred pursuant to SCC 10.35.030. Any remainder from the proceeds of sale shall be held for the owner of the vehicle or any persons having security interests therein, as their interests may appear, for 90 days, and then shall be deposited into the treasury of the city. (Code 1964, § 15-293; Code 1985, § 16-186).

State law reference – Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1203.

10.35.050 Vehicles abandoned in garages.

(1) Any motor vehicle, trailer, semitrailer or part thereof left for more than 10 days in a garage operated for commercial purposes after notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner to pick up the vehicle, or for more than 10 days after the period when, pursuant to contract, the vehicle was to remain on the premises, shall be deemed an abandoned motor vehicle and may be reported by the garage keeper to the city. All abandoned motor vehicles left in garages may be taken into custody by the city in accordance with SCC 10.35.020 and shall be subject to the notice and sale provisions contained in SCC 10.35.030 and 10.35.040; provided, that if such vehicle is reclaimed in accordance with SCC 10.35.030, the person reclaiming such vehicle shall, in addition to the other charges required to be paid, pay the charges of the garage keeper, if any; and provided, further, that if such vehicle is sold pursuant to SCC 10.35.040, the garage keeper’s charges, if any, shall be paid from, and to the extent of, the excess of the proceeds of sale after paying the expenses of the auction and the costs of towing, preserving and storing such vehicle, which resulted from placing such vehicle in custody, and all notice and publication costs incurred pursuant to SCC 10.35.030.

(2) For the purposes of this section, “garage keeper” means any operator of a parking place, motor vehicle storage facility or establishment for the servicing, repair or maintenance of motor vehicles. (Code 1985, § 16-187).

State law reference – Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1204.

10.35.060 Disposition of inoperable vehicles.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, or the provisions of Section 46.2-617 of the Code of Virginia, any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer, or part thereof, which is removed by the city under this chapter and which is inoperable, and which, by virtue of its condition, cannot be feasibly restored to operable condition, may be disposed of to a demolisher, without title and without following the notification procedures prescribed by this chapter. The demolisher, upon taking custody of such motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer, shall notify the state division of motor vehicles, on forms and in the manner prescribed by the commissioner of such division, and notwithstanding any other provision of law, no other report or notice shall be required in such instance. Such demolisher, in disposing of such vehicle, shall follow the provisions of Section 46.2-1206 of the Code of Virginia. (Code 1964, §§ 15-294, 15-295; Code 1985, § 16-188).

State law reference – Similar provisions, Code of Virginia, § 46.2-1205.

10.35.070 Chapter does not affect rights granted to private property owners by state law.

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to affect the rights granted by Section 46.2-1208 of the Code of Virginia to the owner or person in control of any private property upon which a motor vehicle is abandoned. (Code 1985, § 16-189).