No junk cars allowed, says Paradise
PARADISE -- Property owners storing unregistered or junk cars on their land better be willing to remove them or pay the consequences.
The Town Council is looking to crack down on the cars being stored by residents, and has even taken the first steps. Although the town is rewriting its ordinances and will have guidelines specifically dealing with this problem, there are rules in place that cover the situation.
Town Recorder Amy Winn said there is an ordinance that prohibits junk and cars from being stored in a yard, and despite the lack of enforcement guidelines, she said there is a law the town can use if punishment becomes necessary.
Winn said Utah has a law that prohibits keeping vehicles that have not had property taxes paid on them. Under that law, Paradise is free to cite those storing unregistered or junk cars.
The first step in the process, Winn said, was putting a notice on the water bills to inform residents of the ordinance. The notice also listed places to contact to get rid of junk cars. She said this notice was sent so both the owners and their neighbors were aware of the law.
Winn said the council is hoping that by informing the public, people will complain, and once a complaint has been made the town can act by sending a letter to the property owner violating the ordinance.
"We feel like we can't do a whole lot unless we have a complaint," Winn said. "We have to be careful we don't target people."
Once a letter has been sent, if the owner does not comply with the ordinance, Winn said the sheriff's office can be called out and a citation issued.
At Wednesday's council meeting, the issue was brought up by resident Gary Bowlen. He said he has noticed a lot of junk cars throughout town and is worried about the health issue of mice and rats moving in.
"They're a hazard," Bowlen said about the cars.
Both Bowlen and Winn also said also part of the issue is aesthetics.
Town Councilwoman Margaret Obray said the town will work on identifying the problem and ensure residents comply with the existing ordinance until a new ordinance is in place.
Under the future ordinance, Winn said, the punishment for violation could be a class B misdemeanor and a large fine.
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