Chapter 8.08
ABANDONED VEHICLES

Sections:

8.08.010    Public nuisance policy—Statutory authority.

8.08.020    Definitions.

8.08.030    Chapter provisions not exclusive.

8.08.040    Administration and enforcement—Right of entry.

8.08.050    Right of entry—Franchised personnel.

8.08.060    Abatement—Police Chief authority.

8.08.070    Abatement—Notice of intention.

8.08.080    Abatement—Public hearing.

8.08.090    Public hearing procedures.

8.08.100    Appeals.

8.08.110    Vehicle removal—Authorized when.

8.08.120    Vehicle removal—Notice to State.

8.08.130    Abatement—Administrative expenses.

8.08.140    Abatement—Cost assessment.

8.08.150    Exceptions to chapter applicability.

8.08.160    Limitation of filing judicial action.

8.08.010 Public nuisance policy—Statutory authority.

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 hereinafter permitted, is declared to constitute a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

“Abandoned vehicle” means a vehicle which has been abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or is inoperative, or parts thereof, on private or public property, not including highways.

“Administrative expenses” means the actual expenses and costs of the city in enforcement of this chapter including, but not limited to, preparing notices, specifications and contracts, in conducting inspections, legal fees, and other related costs.

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

“Inoperative vehicle” means a vehicle(s) where one or more of the following findings can be made: (1) the vehicle is unable to drive both forward and backward approximately two hundred fifty feet on the public roadway under the vehicles own power; (2) the vehicle is unable to conduct a “three point turn” in the driveway; (3) the tires and brakes of the vehicle are not in proper and operating condition to the satisfaction of the Police Chief.

“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.

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

“Public hearing” means the publication of a notice in a local newspaper of general circulation published in the City of San Carlos and the mailing of the same notice to those property owners immediately adjacent and across the street from the subject property as measured by vertical lines extended from the front, rear and side property lines.

“Public property” does not include “highway.”

“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. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.030 Chapter provisions not exclusive.

This chapter is not the exclusive regulation of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles, or parts thereof, within the City. It shall supplement and be in addition to the other regulatory codes, statutes and ordinances heretofore or hereafter enacted by the City or the State, or any other legal entity or agency having jurisdiction. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.040 Administration and enforcement—Right of entry.

Except as otherwise provided herein, the provisions of this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Chief of Police. 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, obtain information as to the identity of a vehicle declared to be a nuisance pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.050 Right of entry—Franchised personnel.

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. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.060 Abatement—Police Chief authority.

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 Chief of Police shall have the authority to cause the abatement and removal thereof and cause the assessment of administrative expenses and costs of removal against the land in accordance with the procedures prescribed in this chapter. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.070 Abatement—Notice of intention.

A. A ten-day notice of intention to abate and remove the vehicle, or parts thereof, as a public nuisance shall be mailed by certified mail 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. 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 AND ASSESS ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES AND COSTS OF REMOVAL

(Name and Address
of Owner of the Land)

As owner shown on the last equalized assessment roll of the land located at (address), you are hereby notified that the undersigned pursuant to Section 8.08.010 of the ordinance code has determined that there exists upon said land an (or parts of an) abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle registered to license number which constitutes a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 8.08 of the ordinance code.

You are hereby notified 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 upon your failure to do so the same will be abated and removed by the City and the costs thereof, together with Administrative expenses, assessed to you as owner of the land on which said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) is located.

As owner of the land on which said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) is located, you are hereby notified that you may, within 10 days after the mailing of this notice of intention, request a public hearing and if such request is not received by the Police Chief of the City of San Carlos at City Hall, 666 Elm Street, San Carlos California 94070 within such 10-day period, the Chief of Police shall have the authority to abate and remove said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) as a public nuisance and assess the costs as aforesaid without a public hearing. You may submit a sworn written statement within such 10-day period denying responsibility for the presence of said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) on said land, with your reasons for denial, and such statement shall be construed as a request for hearing at which your presence is not required. You may appear in person at any hearing requested by you or the owner of the vehicle, or, in lieu thereof, may present a sworn written statement as aforesaid in time for consideration at such hearing.

Notice mailed _________________

    (date)

_________________

    (Chief of Police)

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

As 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 Section 8.08.010 has determined that said vehicle (or parts of a vehicle) exists as an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle at (describe location on public or private property) and constitutes a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 8.08 of the ordinance code.

You are hereby notified 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.

As registered (and/or legal) owner of record of said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle), you are hereby notified that you may, within 10 days after the mailing of this notice of intention, request a public hearing and if such a request is not received by the Police Chief within such 10-day period, the Chief of Police shall have the authority to abate and remove said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) without a hearing.

Notice mailed _________________

    (date)

_________________

    (Chief of Police)

B. Notice of intention as set forth in this chapter shall not be required if the property owner and the owner of the vehicle have signed releases waiving any further interest in the vehicle or part thereof.

C. Notice of intention as set forth in this chapter is not required for removal of a vehicle (or a part thereof) if it is inoperable due to absence of a motor, transmission or wheels and is incapable of being towed, and is valued at less than two hundred dollars, and is determined to be a public nuisance by the Police Chief presenting an immediate threat to public safety provided the property owner has signed a release authorizing removal. Notice of removal shall also be provided to the vehicle’s legal and registered owners, if readily ascertainable. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.080 Abatement—Public hearing.

A. Upon request by the owner of the vehicle or owner of the land received by the Chief of Police within ten days after the mailing of the notice of intention to abate and remove, a public hearing as defined in Section 8.08.020 of this chapter shall be held by the Zoning Administrator 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 expenses 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 the owner’s land within such ten-day period, such statement shall be construed as a request for a hearing which does not require the owner’s presence. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed, by certified mail, at least ten 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 ten 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. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.090 Public hearing procedures.

A. All hearings under this chapter shall be held before the Zoning Administrator, who shall hear all facts and testimony the Zoning Administrator deems pertinent. Such facts and testimony may include testimony on the condition of the vehicle or parts thereof, and the circumstances concerning its location on such private property or public property. The Zoning Administrator 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 their reasons for such denial.

B. The Zoning Administrator may impose such conditions and take such other action as deemed appropriate under the circumstances to carry out the purpose of this chapter. The Zoning Administrator may delay the time for removal of the vehicle or parts thereof if, in the Zoning Administrator’s opinion, the circumstances justify the delay. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Zoning Administrator shall make findings as to whether 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, and determine the administrative expenses 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. Assessment fees and costs of removal shall be determined by the Zoning Administrator.

C. 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 the owner has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, the Zoning Administrator 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 such owner of the land.

D. If the owner of the land submits a sworn statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the owner’s land but does not appear, or if an interested party makes a written presentation to the Zoning Administrator but does not appear, he shall be notified in writing of the decision. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.100 Appeals.

A. Any interested party may appeal the decision of the Zoning Administrator to the City Council by filing a written notice of appeal with the City Clerk within five days after the Zoning Administrator’s decision.

B. Such appeal shall be heard by the City Council, which may affirm, amend or reverse the order, or take other action deemed appropriate.

C. The City Clerk shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to the appellant and those persons specified in Section 8.08.070. In conducting the hearing, the City Council shall not be limited by the technical rules of evidence. The City Council shall review the matter de novo. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.110 Vehicle removal—Authorized when.

Ten days after mailing the notice of intention to abate where no request for a public hearing is filed, or ten days from the date of mailing of notice of decision if such notice is required by Section 8.08.090 of this chapter, or ten days after such action of the governing body authorizing removal following appeal, the vehicle or parts thereof may be disposed of by removal to a scrapyard or automobile dismantler’s yard. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.120 Vehicle removal—Notice to State.

Within five days after the date of removal of the vehicle or parts thereof, notice shall be given to the State 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. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.130 Abatement—Administrative expenses.

The City Council shall, from time to time, determine and fix by resolution an amount to be assessed as administrative expenses, legal fees, public hearing fees and abatement costs. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.140 Abatement—Cost assessment.

If the administrative expenses and the cost of removal which are charged against the owner of a parcel of land pursuant to this chapter are not paid within thirty 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. Such assessment shall have the same priority as other City taxes. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.150 Exceptions to chapter applicability.

A. This chapter shall not apply to 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

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 II of the Vehicle Code, and this chapter. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)

8.08.160 Limitation of filing judicial action.

Any person aggrieved by any action of the City Council in affirming, reversing or modifying in whole or in part either the order finding and ordering the abatement of an abandoned vehicle or the order determining the cost and fees of abatement of an abandoned vehicle must bring judicial action to contest such decision within ninety days after the date of such decision of the City Council. Otherwise, all objections to such decision shall be deemed waived. (Ord. 1145 § 1 (part), 1994)