April 9, 2014

New abandoned vehicles rules OK'd

Cars being worked on restricted to driveways

by Mitchell Kirk Staff reporter

---- — Logansport City Council recently passed stricter rules regarding abandoned vehicles, including one that limits the location of vehicles being worked on to residents’ driveways.

Included in the ordinance’s definition of abandoned vehicles are those that are left on public property for three days, dismantled vehicles on public or private property and vehicles that are mechanically inoperable and left on private property continuously in a location visible from public or private property for more than 20 days.

The ordinance does allow for several exceptions, including the permission of one vehicle on private property per residence falling within the aforementioned definitions if it is owned by and is being worked on by the resident of the property.

As the ordinance was presented Monday night, vehicles falling under this definition would have had to be parked beside the home or rental property, in the driveway or behind the property.

Logansport City Councilman Chuck LaDow offered an amendment restricting the location of such a vehicle solely to a resident’s driveway.

“I don’t think we want people putting their car up on jacks between houses that have 15 feet between the doors and leaving them in the yard while they’re working on them,” LaDow said.

The amendment passed 5-2, with council members Bob Bishop and Joe Buck dissenting.

“We had worked for months just getting it to the place where you could work on your own vehicle,” Bishop said of the ordinance. “When they altered it again I just decided it was enough for me not to support. I do agree we don’t want junkyards on people’s property. That’s what we have to do — determine where that line’s at. I just don’t want to take away a person’s right to work on their own vehicle.”

Buck shared a similar sentiment.

“I thought the ordinance was written quite effectively,” he said. “I didn’t see a problem with it the way it was written.”

Because Buck supported all of the other elements of the ordinance, he voted in favor of it when it came time to vote on the measure as a whole. The ordinance passed 6-1, with Bishop dissenting.

Other exceptions permit the leaving of vehicles for members of the U.S. military away on active duty and college students away at school. Vehicles for sale on properly zoned sales lots, left on the lots of legally licensed service facilities and scrap yards and legally defined antique motor vehicles are excluded from the rules as well.

The fines that were proposed last year to be a part of the rules are not included in the new ordinance. Violators will be responsible for all costs incident to the removal and/or disposal of their vehicle, however.

Automobiles, motorcycles, truck trailers, semi-trailers, tractors, buses, recreational vehicles, motorized bicycles, mopeds, utility trailers “or any other mechanical conveyance allowed to operate on public streets...” are named in the ordinance.

The rules will be enforced by the city’s board of public works and safety, police department, community development director, building commissioner and code enforcement officer. Vehicles in violation will be tagged and if no action is taken they will be towed after 72 hours.

The second and final vote on the measure will take place at city council’s next meeting at 5 p.m. May 5 in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 601 E. Broadway.

Reach Mitchell Kirk at or 574-732-5130