[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Pine Plains 5-20-1985 by L.L. No. 5-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is enacted in recognition of the fact that the outdoor storage of abandoned motor vehicles, junk cars, and appliances on private property can constitute both a public and private nuisance, and it is hereby declared that such outdoor storage within the Town is a matter affecting the public interest. Such outdoor storage constitutes a nuisance, an unsightly condition and a source of vexation and annoyance not only to the owners and occupants of adjoining lands but also to the general public. Said abandoned motor vehicles, junk cars and appliances are a source of potential hurt to children and others who may find them an attractive nuisance. They may be replete with broken glass, sharp, torn metal edges and points, gasoline remaining in tanks of a highly explosive and combustible nature and hurtful acid in batteries. Their existence destroys not only the property of other persons in the neighborhood but the Town generally. The preservation of peace and good order, the safeguarding of the health, safety and general welfare, and the protection of private property compel the Town Board to legislate upon said subject matter.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings set forth herein:
- ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle situated on private property other than that of the owner, which has not been moved or used for seven consecutive days or more and is apparently deserted; any vehicle in whatever condition which has not been registered and/or licensed in the State of New York or issued a valid New York State vehicle inspection sticker by a motor vehicle inspection station licensed by the State of New York, no more than 365 days preceding, and counting from, the date of detection by the enforcement officer; and junk cars.
- ANTIQUE MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle more than 25 years old.
- Any stove, range, washing machine, dryer, freezer, refrigerator, food or drink cooler, hot water heater, air conditioner, water softener, television, radio, antenna or other household or commercial device or equipment abandoned, junked, discarded, wholly or partially dismantled, no longer intended or in condition for ordinary use for the purpose for which it was designated originally.
- CLASSIC MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle more than 15 years old.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Building Inspector of the Town, the Chief of Police of the Town or his assistant or agents, and any other person designated by resolution of the Town Board as an enforcement officer.
- JUNK CAR
- Any motor vehicle in such condition or state of repair which renders the vehicle incapable of being lawfully driven or operated upon the public highway in its condition, immediately without repairs; any motor vehicle which has been abandoned, junked, discarded or dismantled, wholly or partially. The absence of a current inspection sticker shall be prima facie evidence that said vehicle is incapable of being lawfully operated on a public highway. An antique or classic motor vehicle shall be exempt from said definition if the owner can establish that he is engaged in a program of rehabilitation of said vehicle.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any automobile, bus, tractor, truck, trailer, mobile home or any other contraption propelled or drawn by power other than human muscular power, originally intended or generally used for travel on public highways.
- OUTDOOR STORAGE
- The placing, maintaining or keeping in a place other than a structure having a roof and fully enclosed permanent sides in a state of good repair, and capable of being secured.
- The person having legal title to property; the person shown as the owner of real property on the current assessment rolls of the Town.
- Any natural person, male or female; any association, partnership, firm or corporation, trust, estate, foundation or fund, charitable or otherwise; any municipality or municipal corporation; or any other unit or entity owning real property or abandoned motor vehicles, junk cars or appliances in the Town.
- PRIVATE PROPERTY
- Any real estate or part thereof, yard or driveway, other than that used as a public place, road, street or highway, situated in the Town, excluding, however, such real estate situated in any incorporated village within the Town.
- The unincorporated area of the Town of Pine Plains.
It shall be unlawful for any person, as owner, occupant, lessee, agent or in any capacity, to store, deposit, place, maintain or cause or permit to be stored, deposited, placed or maintained in outdoor storage any abandoned motor vehicle, junk car or appliance, as defined herein, upon any public or private property within the Town.
Any person who shall willfully and intentionally place any abandoned motor vehicle, junk car or appliance, as defined herein, upon any property not owned, leased or lawfully occupied by said person shall be deemed to have violated this chapter and shall be subject to all the penalties herein provided.
Whenever it appears that the provisions of this chapter are violated, except as covered under Section 5, the enforcement officer shall make an inspection of the property and shall prepare a written report of the conditions found, which report shall be filed with the Town Clerk.
Editor's Note: So in original.
If conditions existing on property violate the provisions of this chapter, the enforcement officer shall serve, or cause to be served, a written notice, either personally or by certified mail and regular mail, upon the lessee and/or occupant of said premises, if the identity of same can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, at the address of the owner as indicated by the last assessment roll.
Said notice shall contain substantially the following: the name of the owner, lessee or occupant of the premises; the address or location of the premises; the identification of the premises as the same appears on the current assessment roll of the Town; a statement of the condition of the premises as found on the inspection; a demand that the abandoned motor vehicle, junk car or appliance be removed from the premises on or before 15 calendar days after the service or mailing of the notice; a statement that if the person receiving said notice is not the owner of the abandoned motor vehicle, junk car or appliance and certification is made of such fact to the enforcement officer and a release signed giving the enforcement officer full permission and authority, as much as may be legally given, to enter upon the premises and remove same, then such person will be thereby relieved from further compliance with any of the other provisions of the notice; a statement that failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this chapter and the notice given pursuant thereto within the time specified will constitute a violation of this chapter and each succeeding day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct violation.
A notice mailed to an owner under this section shall be mailed to his last known address as shown on the latest completed assessment roll of the Town. If there is more than one owner, personal service on or a certified mailing of the notice to any one of such owners shall be deemed to be service upon all. In the case of premises upon which there is more than one lessee and/or occupant (i.e., shopping center, apartment project, etc.), personal service on or a certified mailing of the notice to the owner and a posting of a copy of same on the vehicle or appliance shall be deemed sufficient and proper service within the requirements of this chapter. In the case of a corporation or other legal entity, a certified mailing to the address as shown on the latest completed assessment roll of the Town shall be deemed sufficient and proper service within the requirements of this chapter.
The enforcement officer may issue a special permit for a maximum of 90 days temporarily relieving a person from the requirements of § 255-7 if, in his opinion, immediate enforcement of the requirements of § 255-7 would cause undue hardship on that person. To receive said special permit, the person seeking relief must apply in writing to the enforcement officer within five days of the service or mailing of the notice specified in § 255-7, stating the reasons for requesting said special permit. The decision of the enforcement officer will be final and should said special permit be denied, all other provisions of the notice specified in § 255-7 must be complied with within five days of the date of written denial.
It shall be unlawful for any person or his agent or employee to leave, or suffer or permit to be left, any motor vehicle, as defined herein, or other property upon any public highway, including but not limited to public parking areas, beyond the period such vehicle or property may lawfully be left parked, standing or left thereon or upon such place or in such position thereon as shall unlawfully obstruct or impede vehicular or pedestrian traffic or in such position as shall prohibit or prevent the use of a private driveway by the owner of said driveway or the lessee of the property upon which said driveway or the lessee of the property upon which said driveway is located or constitute a condition dangerous to such traffic, public welfare, safety or convenience.
In the event any motor vehicle or property left in violation of § 255-9 shall unlawfully obstruct or impede traffic, prevent or preclude the use of a private driveway by the owner of said driveway or the lessee of the property upon which the driveway is located, or remain on a public highway, street, lane, sidewalk or other municipal property for a continuous period exceeding 12 hours beyond the lawful period permitting continuous use of any such location, such motor vehicle or property shall be deemed to have been abandoned and the motor vehicle or property may be removed and stored in the manner set forth in § 255-11 of this chapter.
When a motor vehicle or other property has been abandoned, impounded or seized, the Chief of Police shall mail, after the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles has been notified when it is required by § 424 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, and before or after the Commissioner has waived or refused custody, a notice of any such removal and of the storage place of such motor vehicle or property to the owner and any other person known to have an interest therein, if ascertainable with reasonable diligence, or to the registered owner of a motor vehicle according to the state motor vehicle registration records, at his last known residence or business address, if the name and residence or business address of any such person can be ascertained with reasonable diligence.
The Chief of Police shall require in such notice that said motor vehicle or property be claimed and taken from storage within 30 days after the mailing of such notice, and that all charges for removal and storage be paid upon the claiming and taking thereof from storage, as well as any and all lawful fines, and all costs incurred by the Town of Pine Plains for said removal, storage and notification.
If any motor vehicle or other property removed as provided in this chapter by the Chief of Police or any police officer shall not be claimed and taken by its owner or other interested person or agent within 30 days after the notice of removal provided for in § 255-12 and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles has waived or refused custody of the motor vehicle after having been duly notified, when required, and if the Chief of Police, in his discretion, shall determine that the sale thereof is advisable, he shall mail written notice of sale by public auction with or without reserve to the owner or other known interested persons, if their names and residences or business addresses can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, at least six days before such sale date, and shall publish in a newspaper circulated within the Town notice of sale once, at least six days before the day of such sale, and shall post said notice conspicuously in at least one public place within the Town at least six days before the date of sale. The Chief of Police may, in his discretion, give additional publicity of such sale or delay the sale in the interest of justice.
Such notice of sale shall specify the date, time and place of sale, and shall contain a general description of the motor vehicle or property to be sold.
Notice of an adjourned sale need not be mailed, published or posted if announced at the time and place initially fixed for the sale.
A sale conducted under the provisions of this chapter shall be held at the time and place specified in the notice of sale, or on any adjourned date or time or place of which oral or written notice is given or announced at the time and place set for the sale.
The proceeds of any sale conducted under the provisions of this chapter shall be transmitted by the Chief of Police to the chief fiscal officer of the Town, together with a statement identifying the property sold and the sum received for each article, or lot of articles, sold, together with a statement of the costs and expenses to be paid or incurred in the removal, storage and sale of such articles or lots of articles sold.
Such proceeds shall be deposited in a special trust account by the chief fiscal officer. The chief fiscal officer shall pay all such costs and expenses out of the proceeds of such sale. In the event no lawful owner or entitled claimant shall have claimed the remainder of the proceeds of sale, without interest, within six months after date of sale, such remainder of proceeds shall be paid into the general fund of the Town and there shall be no further obligation to the owner of any other person on the part of the Town.
The lawful owner of the property sold or other claimant shall be entitled to receive such net remainder of the sale price only after he has furnished satisfactory proof of ownership or entitlement to the Town prior to transmission of the net sale proceeds to the general fund. Any payment by the Town made for expenses of storage, sale, etc., or of any net remainder of monies realized on such sale, to an owner or person apparently entitled thereto shall be a good and absolute defense in favor of the Town and its officers and employees against any other person claiming ownership or entitlement to such payment.
Any person who shall violate this chapter or any of the provisions hereof, or who shall fail or refuse to comply with the provisions of any written notice herein provided for or who shall refuse to remove any abandoned motor vehicle, junk car or appliance as directed by this chapter, or who shall resist or obstruct the duly authorized officer, agent or employees of the Town in the removal or disposition thereof shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not to exceed $250 or a jail sentence of not more than 15 days, or both, for each violation, and each 24 hours during which said violation shall continue shall constitute a separate and distinct violation within the meaning of this chapter.
Excepted from this chapter and exempted from its requirements are:
Motor vehicles stored in duly licensed and operating junkyards.
Motor vehicles keep on premises primarily used for and stored by commercial establishments on their own property for the purpose of removing parts therefrom for use in vehicles used in their regular course of business.
Motor vehicles kept and stored by duly licensed and operating vehicle repair shops and garages, upon the premises where said business is conducted and which are currently being repaired for the purpose of placing same back into legal operation upon the public highways.
An unlicensed and inoperable antique automobile, as defined by the applicable provisions of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Insurance Law; provided that, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, such automobile is stored and kept under conditions not constituting a public nuisance or an attractive nuisance.
Any motor vehicle owned by a person currently on active duty in any of the Armed Forces of the United States or the State of New York, provided said motor vehicle is kept and stored on property owned by said person or his or his wife's immediate family and such storage does not constitute, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, a public or attractive nuisance.
The placing of an abandoned vehicle, junk car or appliance in an area designated for its disposal by the Town of Pine Plains.