[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Highlands 9-9-2002 by L.L. No. 5-2002; amended in its entirety 10-26-2009 by L.L. No. 3-2009. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of the Town of Highlands hereby finds that the outdoor storage or presence of abandoned, junked or inoperative motor vehicles on private property creates a public nuisance and is harmful to the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Town. Many such vehicles present a risk of serious injury, particularly to children, and seriously harm the aesthetic qualities of the Town and tend to depreciate the value of properties in the neighborhood and in the Town. The Board finds that the problems can be diminished by regulating the storage of such vehicles.
The following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A. Any motor vehicle, as defined in the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York, that is:
- (1) Unlicensed, wrecked, stored, discarded, dismantled or partly dismantled and which is not intended or in any condition for legal use upon the public highway;
- (2) Being held or used for the purpose of resale of used parts therefrom or for the purpose of reclaiming for use some or all of the materials therein for the purpose of disposing of the same;
- (3) Left unattended for more than 96 hours on property of another without permission.
- B. With respect to any motor vehicle not licensed or not usually used on public highways, the fact that such motor vehicle has remained unused for more than six months and cannot be removed under its own power shall be presumptive evidence that such motor vehicle is an abandoned, junked or inoperative motor vehicle.
- C. The fact that a motor vehicle does not display a current motor vehicle registration or license plate shall be presumptive evidence that such motor vehicle cannot be legally used on the public highways.
- ANTIQUE VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle, as defined in the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York, that was manufactured a minimum of 25 years prior to the current calendar year, or has verifiable documentation as a special-interest vehicle due to limited production or other unusual qualities.
- AUTOMOTIVE-RELATED BUSINESS
- Any legal business involved in automotive-type activities including, but not limited to, the sales, service, repair, modifying, painting, polishing, washing, towing, storing, dismantling, inspecting, and testing of motor vehicles.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
- Any officer of the Town Police Department or Building Department, Code Enforcement Officer, or any person authorized to issue appearance tickets in the Town pursuant to the laws of the State of New York.
- MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER
- Any person engaged in the business of selling motor vehicles at wholesale or retail who is legally registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
- MOTOR VEHICLE JUNKYARD
- Any place of storage or deposit, whether in connection with another business or not, where two or more unregistered, old, or secondhand motor vehicles, no longer intended or in condition for legal use on the public highways, are held, whether for the purpose of resale of used parts therefrom, for the purpose of reclaiming for use some or all of the materials therein, whether metal, glass, fabric or otherwise, for the purpose of disposing of the same or for any other purposes; such term shall include any place of storage or deposit for any such purposes of used parts or waste materials from motor vehicles which, taken together, equal in bulk two or more such vehicles.
- OWNER OF PRIVATE PROPERTY
- Any person, firm, partnership or corporation, whether business membership, religious, charitable or otherwise, or any association or any other unit or entity owning real property in the Town of Highlands.
- The Town outside the Village of Highland Falls.
It shall be unlawful for any person within the Town to store or deposit or cause, suffer or permit to be stored or deposited any abandoned motor vehicle or part or piece thereof on any private property within the Town, subject to the following exceptions:
Abandoned motor vehicle storage within approved structures or other approved enclosures is not restricted. Any such structures and/or enclosures must be satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer.
Nothing contained herein shall prohibit the temporary parking of not more than one abandoned motor vehicle on residential property for the purpose of making repairs to the body or mechanical parts of the vehicle so that it can be licensed for use on a public highway, provided that any such motor vehicle is stored in a manner satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer. If the vehicle is not repaired so that it can be operated on a public highway within six months, it shall be deemed inoperable and abandoned.
Residential and commercial properties that are not registered motor vehicle dealers shall be allowed to display for sale not more than one abandoned vehicle for a period not to exceed 60 days, provided that any such motor vehicle is stored/displayed in a manner satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer. In no case shall such motor vehicle be displayed on the same property for more than 120 days within one calendar year.
Public emergency response agencies (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) involved in the training of employees or volunteers may store not more than three abandoned motor vehicles for purposes of conducting fire and rescue training exercises on the premises, provided that any such motor vehicles are stored in a manner satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer.
In certain special cases, granting of a permit for reasonable outdoor storage of abandoned motor vehicles may be considered by the Building Department. Special cases will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis when an application is received. The applicant will be charged an annual permit fee at the same rate as other operational permits, and the property will be subject to periodic inspection to verify compliance with the permit and its conditions. Any such permit issued is subject to any conditions imposed by the Code Enforcement Officer and failure, by the applicant, to continuously meet the conditions of permit approval may result in permit revocation. The following special cases will be considered:
Owners of commercial or residential property may apply for a permit to allow outdoor storage of not more than one abandoned antique motor vehicle, provided that any such antique motor vehicle is stored in a manner satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer.
Owners of residential property may apply for a permit to allow temporary outdoor storage of not more than one abandoned motor vehicle, provided that such motor vehicle is stored in a manner satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer. Special hardship cases will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and applicants must present a justifiable reason for the necessity of the permit. A hardship permit will not exceed six months and may be extended for good cause for one additional period of six months.
Owners of commercial property, legally occupied by automotive-related businesses, may apply for a permit to allow reasonable outdoor storage of abandoned motor vehicles. No permit will be granted until the site of such storage meets the approval of the Code Enforcement Officer. In certain circumstances, the Code Enforcement Officer may in his discretion refer review and approval of such permits to the Town of Highlands Planning Board.
Motor vehicle junkyards are subject to regulation and licensing per New York State General Municipal Law § 136 and all other applicable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations.
The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to order in writing the remedying of any condition on or about any private property in violation of this chapter. Upon finding that any such condition or activity exists, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a compliance order. The compliance order shall:
Be in writing;
Be dated and signed by the Officer;
Specify the condition or activity that violates this chapter;
Specify the provision or provisions of this chapter which is/are violated by the specified condition or activity;
Specify the period of time which the Officer deems to be reasonably necessary for achieving compliance;
Direct that compliance be achieved within the specified period of time; and
State that an action or proceeding to compel compliance may be instituted if compliance is not achieved within the specified period of time.
The issuing Officer shall cause the compliance order, or a copy thereof, to be served on the owner of the affected property personally or by certified mail. The issuing Officer shall be permitted, but not required, to cause the compliance order, or a copy thereof, to be served on any agents, or any other person taking part or assisting in work being performed at the affected property personally or by certified mail; provided, however, that failure to serve any person mentioned in this sentence shall not affect the efficacy of the compliance order.
Appearance tickets. Each Code Enforcement Officer and police officer are authorized to issue appearance tickets for any violation of this chapter.
Civil penalties. In addition to those penalties proscribed by state law, any person who violates any provision of this chapter, or any term or condition of any permit or certificate or other notice or order issued by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to any provision of this chapter, shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $250 for each day or part thereof during which such violation continues. The civil penalties provided by this subsection shall be recoverable in an action instituted in the name of this Town.
Injunctive relief. Upon authorization by the Town Board, an action or proceeding may be instituted in the name of this Town, in a court of competent jurisdiction, to prevent, restrain, enjoin, correct, or abate any violation of, or to enforce, any provision of this chapter, or any term or condition of any permit or certificate or other notice or order issued by the Code Enforcement Officer.
Remedies not exclusive. No remedy or penalty specified in this section shall be the exclusive remedy or penalty available to address any violation described in this section, and each remedy or penalty specified in this section shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for or limitation of, the other remedies or penalties specified in this section, or in any other applicable law. Any remedy or penalty specified in this section may be pursued at any time, whether prior to, simultaneously with, or after the pursuit of any other remedy or penalty specified in this section.