Chapter 10.24
JUNKED OR ABANDONED VEHICLES

Sections:

10.24.010    Definitions.

10.24.020    Accumulation or storage—Permit required.

10.24.030    Adoption of state law.

10.24.040    Nuisance declared.

10.24.050    Towing—Notice—Hearing.

10.24.060    Removal by city.

10.24.070    Disposal of impounded vehicles.

10.24.080    Violations—Penalties.

10.24.090    Election not to be governed by state statutes.

10.24.010 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

“Abandoned vehicle” means any vehicle that has been allowed to remain on any alley, street, highway, public place, or private property in the city without the owner’s permission for more than forty-eight (48) hours.

“Highway” means all public ways and thoroughfares and bridges on the same. It includes the entire width between the boundary lines of every way open to the use of the public as a matter of right for the purposes of vehicular travel, including roads in county or municipal parks and roads upon the grounds of public schools.

“Inoperable” means any vehicle that is incapable of being propelled under its own power, including but not limited to a vehicle that is missing an engine, battery, transmission, wheel, or tire; is elevated on blocks or other objects; has a deflated tire.

“Junked vehicle” means any vehicle that is partially or fully dismantled, inoperable, unlicensed contrary to state law, unregistered contrary to state law, or incapable of being operated upon the public streets or highways; or any vehicle that is in such condition or parked in such a way to render such vehicle a health and safety hazard. A vehicle shall not be considered junked when it is out of ordinary public view, in an enclosed building, a vehicle in an appropriate storage place or depository maintained in a lawful place and manner by the city, a vehicle on the premises of a business enterprise operated in a lawful place and manner when necessary to the operation of such business enterprise and the keeping of such vehicles is in an orderly and safe manner as approved by the plan commission, or is stored on the premises of a person, firm, or corporation who holds a valid permit issued under Section 10.24.020.

“Vehicle” means and includes any motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer, or mobilehome as defined in Section 340.01, Wisconsin Statutes. Additionally, “vehicle” means any automobile, automobile part, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, motorhome, bus, motorcycle, van or other device designed for travel. (Ord. 2561-19 § 1, 2019; Ord. 1545 § 1 (part), 1996: prior code 9.39(1))

10.24.020 Accumulation or storage—Permit required.

No person, firm, partnership, or corporation owning or having custody of an abandoned vehicle shall allow such vehicle to remain on any public or private property within the city. No person, firm, partnership, or corporation owning or having custody of a junked vehicle shall allow such vehicle to remain on any public or private property within the city without having a permit issued by the city pursuant to Section 175.25, Wisconsin Statutes. (Ord. 2561-19 § 2, 2019: Ord. 1545 § 1 (part), 1996: prior code 9.39(2))

10.24.030 Adoption of state law.

Section 175.25, Wisconsin Statutes, as it may be amended from time to time, is hereby adopted in its entirety in this chapter as if fully set forth herein. (Ord. 2561-19 § 3, 2019)

10.24.040 Nuisance declared.

Any vehicle which is abandoned or junked as defined by this chapter is declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated as hereinafter provided. (Ord. 1545 § 1 (part), 1996: prior code 9.39(4))

10.24.050 Towing—Notice—Hearing.

A.    Any vehicle parked on a highway in violation of this chapter that is a hazard to other vehicles or pedestrians may be towed.

B.    Any vehicle parked on a highway or other public property in violation of this chapter that is not a hazard to other vehicles or pedestrians shall have placed upon it a placard or other similar emblem that warns the vehicle owner that the vehicle will be towed within forty-eight (48) hours if not removed. Said placard shall be at least five inches by seven inches, bright orange in color, and contain a warning that the vehicle will be towed. An officer shall make reasonable attempts to call, notify in writing, or otherwise contact the registered owner at his or her last known address or phone number to inform the owner that the vehicle is in violation, has been placarded, and must be removed by a date and time certain that coincides with the date and time on the placard or the vehicle will be towed at the owner’s expense.

C.    For vehicles parked on private property in violation of this chapter, an officer or building inspector shall mail or cause to be mailed, by first class mail, a notice of condemnation to the owner of the property on which the vehicle is located and, if the vehicle is owned by someone other than the property owner, to the last registered owner of the vehicle at his or her last known address. The notice shall include a description of the vehicle(s) and premise(s), an explanation for the issuance, a statement concerning the time period by which the vehicle(s) must be removed or its condition(s) corrected, a statement of the consequences if the city removes the vehicle(s), an explanation of the right to petition the administrative appeals board for a hearing within seven days, and a statement that any vehicle owner or property owner who does not file a petition for a hearing waives the right to assert that the vehicle did not meet the criteria for a vehicle that is subject to removal under this chapter and informing the property and or registered owner that the vehicle must be brought into compliance within seven days. Additionally, the officer or building inspector shall place a placard on the vehicle(s) that states the vehicle is believed to be abandoned or junked at any time after the officer or building inspector declares the vehicle(s) a nuisance if the vehicle is accessible and placarding the vehicle is feasible. If the vehicle is inaccessible or placarding the vehicle is not feasible, the building inspector or officer shall place the placard at a location on the property that will reasonably give notice of the placard’s existence.

1.    A property owner or motor vehicle owner may request a hearing before the administrative appeals board within seven days of receiving the mailed condemnation notice. Any request shall be written, explain why the vehicle should not be removed from the premises, and be filed in compliance with Section 2.08.080(E).

2.    Upon receipt of a valid hearing request, the condemnation of the vehicle shall be stayed, pending the decision of the administrative appeals board.

3.    If the administrative appeals board upholds the condemnation of the vehicle, the property owner or vehicle owner may appeal the decision within twenty (20) days to the circuit court.

4.    If a property owner or vehicle owner does not file a valid written request for a hearing with the administrative appeals board, s/he waives the right to assert that the vehicle did not meet the criteria for a vehicle that is subject to removal under this chapter.

5.    Within seven days of the date the vehicle was placarded, if the property owner or vehicle owner has not filed a petition, removed the vehicle, or corrected its condition, an officer or building inspector may have the vehicle removed and impounded or destroyed. If the violation is not timely corrected, the officer or building inspector may issue a citation to the vehicle owner, the property owner, or property occupant alleging a violation of this chapter from the date the vehicle was to have been brought into compliance after notice.

6.    If, within one year of receiving notice pursuant to this section, the same vehicle is determined to be in violation of this chapter for the same reason as written in said notice issued within the past year, the officer or building inspector may immediately remove the vehicle, impound or destroy it, and issue a citation for the violation. (Ord. 2561-19 § 4, 2019)

10.24.060 Removal by city.

Pursuant to Section 349.13(3), Wisconsin Statutes, the chief of police or his/her designee is hereby authorized to remove or have removed any vehicle left on any public or private property within the city which reasonably appears to be in violation of Section 10.24.040; lost, stolen, or unclaimed; or a hazard to other vehicles or pedestrians. Such vehicles shall be impounded, as hereinafter provided, until lawfully claimed or disposed of in accordance with Section 342.40, Wisconsin Statutes. The chief of police may establish a fee for the storage of impounded vehicles on city property. (Ord. 2561-19 §§ 5, 6, 2019: Ord. 1545 § 1 (part), 1996: prior code 9.39(6, 7))

10.24.070 Disposal of impounded vehicles.

A.    Any vehicle impounded under this chapter shall be disposed of by sealed bid or auction sale as deemed appropriate in the given instance by the chief of police or his designee, which individual shall act as the duly authorized representative of the city for statutory purposes. Such sale shall conform to the provisions of Section 342.40, Wisconsin Statutes.

B.    Except for substantially complete vehicles in excess of nineteen (19) model years of age, if the chief of police or his/her designee determines that the cost and towing charges for the impoundment would exceed the value of the vehicle, the vehicle may be junked, donated to a nonprofit organization, or sold to a licensed dealer prior to the expiration of the impoundment period, upon determination that the vehicle is not stolen or otherwise wanted for evidence or other reason.

C.    Any vehicle which is impounded and not disposed of under subsection (B) of this section shall be retained in storage for a minimum period of ten days after certified mail notice has been sent to the owner and lienholders of record to permit reclamation of the vehicle after payment of accrued charges, such charges to include but not be limited to towing, storage, and notice charges. Such notice shall set forth the year, make, model and serial number of the vehicle, if possible; the place where the vehicle is being held; and shall inform the owner and lienholders of their right to reclaim the vehicle. The notice shall state that the failure of the owner or lienholders to exercise their rights to reclaim their vehicle under this section shall be deemed a waiver of all right, title and interest in the vehicle and a consent to the sale or donation of the vehicle. Each vehicle not reclaimed by the owner or lienholder may be sold or donated to a nonprofit organization.

D.    The owner of any abandoned vehicle or junked vehicle and, in the case of any such vehicle parked on private property in violation of this chapter, the owner or occupant of the property is responsible for all costs of removing, impounding, and disposing of the vehicle. Such costs shall be in addition to the forfeiture provided for violation of this chapter and may be charged against the property owner and assessed as a special charge. The city may recover costs not recovered by the sale of the vehicle or special charge in a civil action.

E.    Within five days after the sale or disposal of a vehicle the city shall advise the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of Motor Vehicles, of such sale or disposition of a form supplied by the Division. A copy of such form shall also be given to the purchaser of the vehicle. (Ord. 2561-19 §§ 7, 8, 9, 2019; Ord. 1545 § 1 (part), 1996: prior code 9.39(8))

10.24.080 Violations—Penalties.

Any person, firm, partnership, or corporation who violates any part of this chapter shall be subject to the penalty and enforcement provisions in Chapter 1.12. (Ord. 2561-19 § 10, 2019: amended during 8-98 supplement; Ord. 1545 § 1 (part), 1996: prior code 9.39(9))

10.24.090 Election not to be governed by state statutes.

For the purposes of this chapter, pursuant to Section 68.16, Wisconsin Statutes, the city of Brookfield is specifically electing not to be governed by Chapter 68, Wisconsin Statutes. (Ord. 2561-19 § 11, 2019)