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 CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 21

Meeting Date: June 13, 2006

Subject/Title: Introduce and waive the first reading of an ordinance to regulate abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof, replacing Chapter 10.20 Abandoned Vehicles of the Brentwood Municipal Code in its entirety.

Prepared by: Berenice Arteaga, Senior Code Enforcement Officer

Submitted by: Howard Sword, Community Development Director

RECOMMENDATION
That City Council introduce and waive the first reading of an ordinance to regulate abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof by replacing Chapter 10.20 Abandoned Vehicles in its entirety.

PREVIOUS ACTION
None.

BACKGROUND
Code Enforcement frequently receives complaints regarding abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles. Chapter 10.20 Abandoned Vehicles provides a procedure for the regulation of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof as public nuisances. The purpose of the code modification is three fold. First, it will improve clarity by adding needed definitions. Secondly, it will clarify the enforcement authority. Offending vehicles in the right-of-way will continue to be the responsibility of the Chief of Police. On private property, the enforcement authority will be the Chief Building Official’s designee, which is Code Enforcement. The third purpose is to make the abatement process consistent with the Administrative Citation process. This takes the appeals burden from Council and makes the Hearing Officer presiding over the hearing responsible for that function.

FISCAL IMPACT
There would be no fiscal impact to the City. This action involves only the replacement of the existing Brentwood Municipal Code Chapter 10.20 Abandoned Vehicles.

Attachment:
Ordinance replacing Chapter 10.20 Abandoned Vehicles in its entirety.

ORDINANCE NO.

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD AMENDING THE BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE TO REPLACE CHAPTER 10.20 ABANDONED VEHICLES IN ITS ENTIRETY.

WHEREAS, the City Council finds the accumulation and storage of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof on private property or public property creates a condition tending to reduce the value of private property, to promote blight and deterioration, to invite plundering, to create fire hazards, to constitute an attractive nuisance creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, to create a harborage for rodents, and insects and to be injurious to the health, safety and general welfare.

WHEREAS, the State of California authorizes the removal of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof under Vehicle Code Section 22660 as a public nuisance abatement.

The City Council of the City of Brentwood does hereby ordain:

1. That Chapter 10.20 of the Brentwood Municipal Code is amended in its entirety as follows:

Chapter 10.20 Abandoned Vehicles

10.20.010 Findings and Declarations.

In addition to and in accordance with the determination made and the authority granted by the State of California under Section 22660 of the Vehicle Code to remove abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof as public nuisances, the City Council hereby makes the following findings, declarations and adopts this Chapter 10.20.
10.20.020 Declaration of nuisance--Abatement authorization.

The accumulation and storage of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles or parts thereof on private or public property not including highways is found to create a condition tending to reduce the value of private property, to promote blight and deterioration, to invite plundering, to create fire hazards, to constitute an attractive nuisance creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, to create a harborage for rodents, and insects and to be injurious to the health, safety and general welfare. Therefore, the vehicle or parts thereof, on private or public property not including highways, except as expressly permitted in this chapter, are a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

10.20.030 Provisions not exclusive regulation.

This chapter is not the exclusive regulation of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles within the city. It shall supplement and be in addition to the other regulatory codes, statutes and ordinances heretofore or hereafter enacted by the city, the state or any other legal entity or agency having jurisdiction.
10.20.040 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meaning set forth herein:

Abandoned vehicle: “Abandoned vehicle” shall mean any vehicle which has been left on private property or public property other than highways in such inoperable or neglected condition that the owner’s intention to relinquish all further rights or interests in it may be reasonably concluded.

Dismantled vehicle: “Dismantled vehicle” shall mean a vehicle which has been partially or wholly disassembled.

Enforcement Officer: “Enforcement Officer” shall mean the Chief Building Official or the Chief of Police and shall include any official or officials in the City duly appointed by the Chief Building Official or Chief of Police, including, but not limited to, Code Enforcement Officers, to administer the provisions hereof.

Hearing Officer: “Hearing Officer” shall mean the designated management level employee designated by the City Manager to hear all of the facts and testimony pertaining to the case and make an order at the conclusion of the hearing. The Hearing Officer shall not be a police or code enforcement management level employee.

Highway: “Highway” shall mean a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for the purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.
Inoperative vehicle: “Inoperative vehicle” shall mean a vehicle which cannot be moved under its own power. The vehicle must be able to start with a key, idle, move forward and reverse and stop under its own power.

Owner of the land: “Owner of the land” shall mean the owner of the land on which the vehicle, or parts thereof, is located, as shown on the last equalized assessment roll.

Owner of the vehicle: “Owner of the vehicle” shall mean the registered owner of record.
Private property: “Private property” shall mean property that belongs absolutely to an individual and that person has the exclusive right of disposition. Property of a specific, fixed, and tangible nature, capable of being possessed and transmitted to another.

Public property: “Public property” shall be a designation of those things which are considered owner by ‘the public’, the state or community, and not restricted to dominion of a private person. It may apply to any property owned by a state, nation, or municipality.

Vehicle: “Vehicle” shall mean a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, except a device moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. The term “vehicle” as used in this chapter shall include any passenger vehicle or truck, recreational vehicle, trailer, boat mounted on trailer, motorcycle, motor scooter, golf cart, or other similar self-propelled vehicle, special interest vehicle, or other vehicle referenced in California Vehicle Code 5051, and other vehicles of similar kind and use.

Wrecked vehicle: “Wrecked vehicle” shall mean a vehicle which is damaged to such an extent that it cannot be operated upon the highway. A vehicle which has been wrecked in a traffic accident and it is an inoperative vehicle and/or cannot be legally driven on the street due to the damage and/or missing parts.

10.20.050 Administration and Enforcement.

Except as otherwise provided, this chapter shall be administered and enforced by the Enforcement Officer. In enforcing of these provisions the Enforcement Officer and his/her deputies may enter upon private or public property to examine a vehicle or parts thereof, or obtain information as to the identity of a vehicle declared to be a nuisance pursuant to this chapter.

10.20.060 Administration--Authorization for removal.
When the City has contracted with or granted a franchise to any person or persons, such person or persons shall be authorized to enter upon private property or public property to remove or cause the removal of a vehicle or parts thereof declared to be a nuisance pursuant to this chapter.

10.20.070 Administration--Cost assessment.

The City Council shall from time to time determine and fix an amount to be assessed as administrative costs (excluding the actual cost of removal of any vehicle or parts thereof) under this chapter.

10.20.080 Authority to abate.

Upon discovering the existence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle, or parts thereof, on private or public property within the city, the Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to cause the abatement and removal thereof in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this chapter.

10.20.090 Procedure--Notices of intention to abate.

A ten (10) day notice of intention to abate and remove the vehicle, or parts thereof, as a public nuisance shall be mailed by registered or certified mail and regular mail to the owner of the land and to the owner of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership. The notices of intention shall be in substantially the following forms:

“NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ABATE AND REMOVE AN ABANDONED, WRECKED, DISMANTLED, OR INOPERATIVE VEHICLE OR PARTS THEREOF AS A PUBLIC NUISANCE

(Name and address of owner of the land)

As owner shown on the last equalized assessment roll of the land located at (address), you are hereby notified that the undersigned pursuant to Section 10.20.060 of the City of Brentwood Municipal Code has determined that there exists upon said land an (or parts of an) abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle(s) registered to ________________, license number ___________________, which constitutes a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 10.20 of the City of Brentwood Municipal Code.

You are hereby notified to abate said nuisance by the removal of said vehicle(s) (or said parts of a vehicle) within ten (10)-days from the date of mailing of this notice, and upon your failure to do so the same will be abated and removed by the City and the costs thereof, together with administrative costs, assessed to you as owner of the land on which said vehicle(s) (or said parts of a vehicle) is located.

As owner of the land on which said vehicle(s) (or said parts of a vehicle) is located, you are hereby notified that you may, within ten (10) days after the mailing of this notice of intention, request a public hearing and if such a request is not received by the City Clerk of the City of Brentwood within such ten (10) day period, the Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to abate and remove said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) as a public nuisance and assess the cost as aforesaid without a public hearing. You may submit a sworn written statement within such ten (10) day period denying responsibility for the presence of said vehicle(s) (or said parts of a vehicle) on said land, with your reasons for denial, and such statement shall be construed as a request for hearing at which your presence is not required. You may appear in person at any hearing requested by you or the owner of the vehicle or, in lieu thereof, may present a sworn written statement as aforesaid in time for consideration at such hearing.”

Notice Mailed _____________ s/___________________
(date) (Enforcement Officer)

“NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ABATE AND REMOVE AN ABANDONED, WRECKED, DISMANTLED OR INOPERATIVE VEHICLE OR PARTS THEREOF AS A PUBLIC NUISANCE

(Name and address of last registered and/or legal owner of record of vehicle-notice should be given to both if different)

As last registered (and/or legal) owner of record of (description of vehicle - make, model, license, etc.) you are hereby notified that the undersigned pursuant to Section 10.20.060 of the City of Brentwood Municipal Code has determined that said vehicle (or parts of a vehicle) exists as an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle at (describe location on public or private property) and constitutes a public nuisance pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 10.20 of the City of Brentwood Municipal Code.

You are hereby notified to abate said nuisance by the removal of said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) within 10 days from the date of mailing of this notice.

As registered (and/or legal) owner of record of said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle), you are hereby notified that you may, within 10 days after the mailing of this notice of intention, request a public hearing, and if such a request is not received by the City Clerk of the City of Brentwood within such 10-day period, the Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to abate and remove said vehicle (or said parts of a vehicle) without a hearing.”

Notice Mailed _____________ s/___________________
(date) (Enforcement Officer)

10.20.100 Request for Hearing.

A. Upon request by the owner of the vehicle or owner of the land received by the City Clerk within ten (10) days after the mailing of the notices of intention to abate and remove, a public hearing shall be held by the City on the question of abatement and removal of the vehicle or parts thereof as an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle, and the assessment of the administrative costs and the cost of removal of the vehicle or parts thereof against the property on which it is located.

B. If the owner of the land submits a sworn written statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on his/her land within such ten (10)-day period, such statement shall be construed as a request for a hearing which does not require his/her presence. Notice of the hearing shall be mailed, by registered or certified mail and regular mail, at least ten (10) days before the hearing, to the owner of the land and to the owner of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

C. If a request for a hearing is not received within ten (10) days after mailing the notice of intention to abate and remove, the city shall have the authority to abate and remove the vehicle or parts thereof as a public nuisance without holding a public hearing.
10.20.110 Hearing Procedure.

A. All hearings under this chapter shall be held before a City Hearing Officer who shall hear all facts and testimony he/she deems pertinent. Facts and testimony may include testimony on the conditions of the vehicle or parts thereof and the circumstances concerning its location on the private or public property. The Hearing Officer shall not be limited by the technical rules of evidence. The owner of the land may appear in person at the hearing or present a sworn written statement in time for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land, with his/her reasons for such denial.

B. The Hearing Officer may impose such conditions and take such other action as he/she deems appropriate under the circumstances to carry out the purpose of this chapter. The Hearing Officer may delay the time for removal of the vehicle or parts thereof if, in his/her opinion, the circumstances justify it. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the Hearing Officer may find that a vehicle, or parts thereof, has been abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or is inoperative on private or public property, order the same removed from the property as a public nuisance and disposed of as hereinafter provided, and determine the administrative costs and the cost of removal to be charged against the owner of the land. The order requiring removal shall include a description of the vehicle or parts thereof and the correct identification number and license number of the vehicle, if available at the site.

C. If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the owner of the land and that he/she has not subsequently acquiesced to its presence, the Hearing Officer shall not assess the costs of administration or removal of the vehicle against the property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect such costs from such owner of the land.

D. If the owner of the land submits a sworn written statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on his/her land but does not appear, or if an interested party makes a written presentation to the Hearing Officer but does not appear, he/she shall be notified in writing of the decision.

E. After considering all of the testimony and evidence submitted at the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall issue a written decision as to whether or not the vehicle shall be removed from the property; and whether or not to assess the costs of administration or removal of the vehicle against the owner of the land upon which the vehicle is located. For the purposes of administrative remedies, the decision of the Hearing Officer shall be final, with no right of appeal to any city employee, official, or legislative body.

10.20.120 Procedure--Removal of vehicle.

Ten (10) days after mailing the notice of intention to abate and remove, if a hearing is not requested; or five (5) days after adoption of the order declaring the vehicle or parts thereof to be a public nuisance, five days from the date of mailing the notice of the decision if such notice is required by Section 10.20.110, the vehicle or parts thereof may be disposed of by removal to a scrap yard or automobile dismantler's yard. After a vehicle has been removed it shall not thereafter be reconstructed or made operable, unless it is a vehicle which qualifies for either horseless carriage license plates or historical vehicle license plates pursuant to Vehicle Code section 5004, in which case the vehicle may be reconstructed or made operable.

10.20.130 Procedure--Notice to Department of Motor Vehicles.

Within five (5) days after the date of removal of the vehicle or parts thereof, notice shall be given to the Department of Motor Vehicles identifying the vehicle or parts thereof removed. At the same time there shall be transmitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles any evidence of registration available, including registration certificates, certificates of title and license plates.

10.20.140 Procedure--Payment or assessment of costs.

If the administrative costs and the cost of removal which are charged against the owner of a parcel of land pursuant to Section 10.20.110 are not paid within thirty (30) days of the date of the order or the final disposition of an appeal there from, such costs shall be assessed against the parcel of land pursuant to Section 38773.5 of the Government Code and shall be transmitted to the tax collector for collection. The assessment shall have the same priority as other taxes.

10.20.150 Exceptions.

A. This chapter shall not apply to:

1. A vehicle, or parts thereof, which is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property: or

2. A vehicle, or parts thereof, which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler, licensed vehicle dealer, a junk dealer, or when such storage or parking is necessary to the operation of a lawfully conducted business or commercial enterprise.

B. Nothing in this section shall authorize the maintenance of a public or private nuisance as defined under provisions of law other than Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 22650) of Division 11 of the Vehicle Code and this chapter.
10.20.160 Abandonment unlawful--Exceptions.

It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to abandon, park, store or leave, or permit the abandonment, parking, storing, or leaving, of any licensed or unlicensed vehicle, or parts thereof, which is in an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative condition upon any private or public property not including highways within the city for a period in excess of ten (10) days unless such vehicle, or parts thereof, is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not plainly visible from the street or other public or private property, or unless such vehicle is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler, licensed vehicle dealer or a junkyard.
10.20.170 Failure to remove after notice unlawful.

It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to fail or refuse to remove any abandoned, wrecked, or dismantled or inoperative vehicle, or parts thereof, or to refuse to abate such nuisance when ordered to do so in accordance with the abatement provisions of this chapter or of state law where such state law is applicable.

THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waived at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 13th day of June, 2006, by the following vote:
 

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