CLAYTON — City staff has reviewed the Clayton Codified Ordinances and recommended an addition of a new Section 351.14 entitled, “Parking Inoperable Motor Vehicles on Private Property” in order to allow the City of Clayton the ability to more effectively address the parking of inoperable vehicles on private property.
City Council voted to adopt the ordinance under emergency status to update its codified ordinances to allow immediate enforcement.
The update includes the following specifications:
(a) For purposes of this section, “inoperable motor vehicle” shall be defined as any motor vehicle exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics:
(1) The motor vehicle is without substantial components, including but not limited to, window, windshield, door, motor, transmission, or other similar major part;
(2) The motor vehicle lacks the required safety equipment;
(3) The motor vehicle is without a valid license plate, or the motor vehicle’s license plate has been expired for more than thirty (30) days;
(4) The motor vehicle is apparently unsafe or hazardous to persons inside or outside of the motor vehicle;
(5) The motor vehicle is apparently inoperable;
(6) The motor vehicle is without fully inflated tires and/or has any type of support under it;
(7) The motor vehicle is damaged beyond economical repair;
(b) No inoperable motor vehicle shall remain parked in the open on any property located within the City for more than thirty (30) days.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the open storage or keeping of an historic motor vehicle or a collector’s vehicles as defined by Ohio R.C. 4501.01, except that an unlicensed collector’s vehicle or an unlicensed historic motor vehicle shall be concealed from off-premises viewing by means of a building, fencing, vegetation, terrain or other suitable obstruction.
(d) Any motor vehicle found in violation of this section may be impounded by order of the Chief of Police; provided that prior thereto written notice is sent to the person having the right to possession of the property on which the inoperable motor vehicle is found requiring that the inoperable motor vehicle either be repaired, placed within a structure, or removed from the property within ten (10) days and noting that failure to do so shall result in the inoperable motor vehicle being impounded. Such notice shall be either personally served or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The ten (10) day period shall be calculated from the date of personal service or if sent by certified mail, then the date of mailing of the certified mail.
(e) Any unclaimed inoperable motor vehicle impounded pursuant to this section shall be disposed of in accordance with Ohio law.
(f) Whoever violates this Section 351.14 is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted or pleaded guilty to a violation of Section 351.14, whoever violates Section 351.14 hereof is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more violations of Section 351.14, whoever violates Section 351.14 is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
“This is another ordinance to allow us to abate nuisances where there is parking of inoperable motor vehicles are parked in a yard or anywhere around the property,” said Mayor Joyce Deitering.
“How are defining the motor vehicle as apparently inoperable? If someone’s battery is dead that would be apparently inoperable?” asked Councilman Dennis Lieberman.
“We are defining inoperable motor vehicles as vehicles without substantial components, including, but not limited to, windows, windshields, doors, motors, transmissions, or other similar major parts. I think that addresses what you are asking,” said Police Chief Matt Hamlin. “If it lacks the required safety equipment, a valid license plate where the license plate has been expired for more than thirty days or the motor vehicle is apparently unsafe or hazardous to persons inside or outside, then the motor vehicle is apparently inoperable.”
Lieberman responded that his reading of the statute was that if one or more of those characteristics could fall under the statute, so that ‘apparently inoperable’ falls into question.
“Are we defining that in conjunction with items one through seven?” Lieberman asked. Hamlin said that he believed that to be true.
“If a vehicle hasn’t moved in so many days because there is debris, leaves and trees growing underneath it, the tires are all deflated or missing a major component and it’s just sitting there. It’s discretionary but I would say common sense would come into play there,” Hamlin noted.
“I’m OK with all that,” Lieberman responded. “I just didn’t want to see us inadvertently legislate against someone with a dead battery.”
Hamlin said when that situation is encountered a warning is issued advising the owner that a vehicle needs to be moved.
City Manager Rick Rose also pointed out that if someone was involved in a traffic accident and had their vehicle towed to their driveway with the intention of getting it fixed, if gives that person some leeway.
“The intent of this legislation is to address problematic vehicles that sit forever and ever in people’s driveways,” Rose said.
Council unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance as an emergency.