City considers tighter restrictions on ‘unsightly’ vehicles

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 11, 2022

Amid mounting complaints from city residents over unsightly vehicles in yards and streets around Brookhaven, aldermen are considering an expanded ordinance to confront the issue.

“Several aldermen have asked about trailers in driveways, 18 wheelers and motor homes parked in yards and streets,” City Inspector David Fearn said. “They’ve had complaints from residents.”

A smaller committee of aldermen has worked with Fearn and City Attorney Bobby Moak since August as a study group to craft an updated ordinance to more directly deal with resolving the issues.

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The Board of Aldermen voted in its most recent meeting to table approval of an expanded ordinance until each member could read through and review it.

The current Code of Ordinances for the City of Brookhaven prohibits leaving unattended vehicles on the streets for an extended period.

Section 42 specifies it is unlawful to leave “any motor vehicle, boat and/or trailer unattended on the streets of the city for a period of not more than two weeks” after having been notified by the police department. If the vehicle is not removed, an officer is authorized to have the vehicle removed, and the owner will be guilty of a misdemeanor with a fine of at least $25 and a wrecker fee up to $50.

Just putting a vehicle or trailer in one’s yard may not solve the problem.

Property owners cannot have vehicles, boats, trailers or other equipment in the yard of any property — occupied or not — “which creates an unsightly condition” (Sec. 30-1). Property owners and occupants are to keep the property clean, the ordinance states.

If these conditions are not met, the city can notify the owner in writing to remedy the situation within 10 days. If the situation is not corrected within the allotted time, “the city may do such work or make such improvements as are necessary to correct, remedy or remove such conditions … and charge the expenses incurred thereby to the owner of (the) lot.”

The city doing the work does not relieve the owner from prosecution for failure to comply, however.

The proposed ordinance is about twice as long as the original, Fearn said. The new ordinance would include details to clarify several points, possibly adding tighter restrictions or stronger legal consequences. A vote is anticipated for the upcoming March 15 regular board meeting.