Vehicles that have been serving as a nuisance may soon be disappearing from streets, driveways and yards across Clinton, with extra enforcement authority given to the Clinton Police Department to remove and dispose of those vehicles.
The issue was talked about briefly last month, with city manager John Connet announcing a citywide effort to curb nuisance vehicles starting in March. The City Council assisted in moving forward with that effort by amending the City Code this week.
“In an effort to strengthen the city’s ability to enforce the nuisance vehicle ordinance,” said Connet, “we’re requesting that you amend the City Code to allow the Clinton Police Department to assist the code enforcement officer in enforcing the nuisance vehicle ordinance on private property.”
The Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday night.
The City Code, regarding “Removal and disposition of abandoned and nuisance motor vehicles,” has previously held the enforcement officer responsible for administering such action for those vehicles located on private property.
With the Council’s approval, the amended ordinance now reads, in part, “The police department and the code enforcement officer of the city shall be responsible for administering the removal and disposition of vehicles determined to be ‘abandoned’ on the public streets and highways within the city, of abandoned and nuisance vehicles on private property and on any other property owned or operated by the city.”
Representatives with the Clinton Police Department, the Clinton-Sampson Planning and Zoning Department and city managerial staff met last month to discuss dealing with nuisance and unregistered vehicles. The vehicles pose not only an eyesore, but serve as a safety hazard against city ordinances, officials said.
“In the month of March, we will be undertaking what we’re calling a ‘nuisance vehicle blitz,’ where we will be going to all areas of the city and enforcing all of our nuisance vehicle (ordinances),” Connet has said. “There are a lot of vehicles that we’ve noticed that are unregistered, nuisances, inoperable and don’t have tags on them.”
Connet said the city will be organizing a “blitz team,” made up of personnel with the Clinton Police Department and the Clinton-Sampson Planning and Zoning Department to identify such nuisance vehicles and get rid of them.
The blitz will not only be about enforcement, but about educating citizens. Letting people know what they need to do to get their vehicles registered or get them removed will be part of that effort.
“Once we start, we will tag the vehicles and give them seven days to remove them,” said Connet. “If they don’t remove them, then we will have them towed and they will have to either pay the towing fee or the vehicles will become the property of the towing service.”
Mayor Lew Starling said safety issues were prevalent, and the enforcement of ordinance was not meant to harass, but rather for the greater good of the community. With the approval of the amended ordinance, police officers will be leading the way in getting nuisance vehicles off the road, and everywhere else for that matter.
“Because of the additional personnel we’ll have in the neighborhoods with the police department,” said Connet, “we feel like this will be effective.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.