A major part of urban blight and poor sanitation involves problems with discarded, abandoned or neglected personal property such as old cars. Many of these cars, ignored by their owners are left to decay and pose a health and safety risk. They become a target of vandals, dangerous to children and a home to rodents, stray animals and illegal activity. They usually have some amounts of old gasoline and oil, often leaking on the ground contaminating ground water. They also pose a risk of fire or explosion if accidentally exposed to flame.
Most people are well meaning and plan to “get around to” fixing or registering their vehicles. Others simply store their cars wherever they can. These never-ending repair or restoration projects cannot stay in a yard. Cars that people can’t drive go neglected and unregistered. Some of the parked cars we notice for abatement have been motionless and a hazard for years.
Vehicles parked on public property, like streets, highways or public parking lots, can be removed by any Deputy or Code Enforcement Officer after placing a notice on the vehicle. If the vehicle is clearly a safety hazard or blocking traffic, it can be removed immediately without any notice.
Concern that such cars and other objects would pose a risk to their adjoining properties; citizens requested the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office to make a special effort to clean up the unincorporated areas of the county.
The Code Enforcement Officer or Sheriff’s Deputies check vehicles parked within the unincorporated areas of the county to see if any of the following apply:
1. ABANDONED, WRECKED, DISMANTLED, INOPERATIVE or UNREGISTERED VEHICLES:
All vehicles parked or stopped on the street, or any public or private parking area, must be in running condition and have current vehicle registration. Vehicles cannot block a street, driveway, sidewalk, other vehicle or any public right-of-way, per 22651 (b)(d), (j), (r) CVC. If not able to drive safely or if not in running condition (Example: missing wheels, windshield, windows, engine, lights or other parts, no proof of current registration, etc.), they can be towed away by officers immediately, any time, per 22669(d) CVC.
Any vehicles parked or left on any public street may be marked by officers as possibly abandoned. Owners then have 72 hours (3 days) from the time it is marked to remove the vehicle before it is considered to be an abandoned vehicle and may towed away, per 22651(k) CVC..
2. IMPROPER STORAGE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY:
Including Motor vehicles, Campers, RV’s, Boats & Trailers – You may not use your residence or yards to store abandoned, wrecked or neglected motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts, Trailers, Campers, Boats, RVs – (Recreational Vehicles), and any parts thereof.
Also, it is illegal to occupy, use, rent or live in any trailer, camper, RV or boat as a dwelling or temporary “guest room” while parked or stored on private property – even for a short time. Vehicles and items used as living spaces are subject to abatement and owners subject to citation.
3. VEHICLES ON PRIVATE PROPERTY MUST BE STORED IN FULLY ENCLOSED STRUCTURES:
Wrecked or dismantled vehicles cannot be parked or stored on private property unless totally enclosed within a legal structure, like a garage. Cloth car covers, portable picnic shades or tent covers are not considered a structure.
4. REPAIRING VEHICLES ON STREETS AND PRIVATE PROPERTY:
The repair of automobiles is prohibited on the public right-of-way (streets) except in the case of an emergency, and then for only as long as it takes to move the car. MCC 12.08.030
You may do minor repairs on your own car, or those of immediate family members to vehicles registered to that address (Example: Change oil, tires, headlights, etc.). Repairs must be made in your driveway or garage only.
Doing major vehicle repairs at your home is prohibited (Examples: Removing or replacing an engine, head gaskets, timing chains, transmission, suspension, or replacing or doing any exterior or interior body work). Repairing or selling cars, as a business or for a profit, is prohibited.