The City of Longview continues to receive a large number of complaints about inoperable, wrecked, abandoned, and junk vehicles and their negative effects on our business districts and neighborhoods. In addition to being eyesores, abandoned vehicles can encourage vandalism and arson, promote blight and deterioration, invite plundering, create a haven for rodents and insects, and can injure the health, safety and general welfare of a neighborhood. These vehicles can also be an alluring danger for curious children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), two or more children on average die each year from exposure related to being trapped in such a vehicle or trunk. Code violations involving inoperable, abandoned, wrecked and junk vehicles can incur a fine in the minimum amount of $500.
“Many neighborhood organizations are working together to try to clean up their community,” says Code Compliance Manager Gregory Hannon. ‘Junk’ vehicles detract from a commercial district or residential neighborhoods overall appearance and are considered a nuisance. These vehicles create more than just an eyesore for the community. They can affect neighboring property values and be a hazard in other ways. We’ve all seen them: old wrecked, inoperable cars and trucks sitting in our neighbor’s yard, parked out on the street, or in an alley. If you have seen these types of vehicles, or if you happen to own one, then you know firsthand what we’re talking about.”
To be considered operable, a vehicle must:
- Be fully operational under its own power, have all operational and safety-related components maintained in a manner that makes it legal and safe to operate on a public street
- Be currently licensed
“The City is not against the idea of someone fixing or restoring an old vehicle,” stated Hannon. “In fact, the City recently relaxed existing regulations allowing for inoperable vehicles to be parked and repaired outside of a structure as long as the vehicle is properly “screened” from public view.” The requirements for “proper screening” include:
- Storing or parking an inoperable vehicle within an enclosed garage or structure;
- Parking or storing the vehicle on an approved surface behind a six-foot solid fence or continuous evergreen vegetative planting.
“We are encouraging our residents to respect their neighbors and assist in maintaining a good quality of life throughout our community,” said Hannon. “The Code Compliance Division hopes that education will help reduce the number of these violations. Questions about inoperable, wrecked, abandoned, and junk vehicles may be directed to the Code Compliance Division at 360-442-5093 Monday through Thursday between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.