Beatrice City Council to Act on Revised Junked Vehicle Ordinance

BEATRICE – Beatrice City Council members will soon consider a revised junked vehicle ordinance, aimed at removing ways to get around the current ordinance.

The city council discussed the revisions during a work session Monday night. They’ll be on the council’s agenda in two weeks, for action.

:21                  “old definition”

Junked vehicles would be described as incapable of being driven under their own power, not licensed, or not legally operable on a city street.

City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the notice period for removal of a junked vehicle increases from 21 days, to 30 days under the revisions.  That’s the normal time frame for registering a vehicle. There is also a seven-day notice for noncompliance, then a seven-day appeal period.  After the 30-days, the city would have three options…file a criminal complaint, tow the vehicle, or both. People would still be able to store a junked vehicle in an enclosed structure and up to two junked vehicles inside an enclosed privacy fence.  A tarp wouldn’t qualify as an enclosure.

Businesses like car dealerships, auto repair shops and towing companies are completely exempt from the new ordinance.

The new ordinance provides some exemptions, by permit.

:21                  “with their business”

Persons could also apply for exemptions under a hobbyist provision and a race car provision.   A person could have permits for up to two vehicles they are working on.

:15                  “applicant lives”

The race car exemption permit would allow up to two vehicles, for one year. Elected officials are leaning toward a standardized permit fee, of $50, for the exemptions.  Tempelmeyer says the city has created a simple application form.

One of the loopholes under the current ordinance has been the ability for junked vehicle owners to just keep licensing the vehicle, but never doing anything with it.

:17                  “that opportunity”

Tempelmeyer talked about some of the things that could be considered junked.

:14                  “jet skis”

Although the city has had the ability to tow a vehicle from private property, Tempelmeyer estimates the city hasn’t done so, for a dozen years.

According to the Code Enforcement Office of Beatrice City Inspection, there were 302 junked vehicle complaint cases handled, in 2017.

The revised ordinance and a fee resolution will be on the city council’s agenda for their first meeting in April.

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