Community feeling the burn of car ordinance
An older Callao couple was amazed last week when they learned they were in violation of a Northumberland County ordinance.
They had a van they were no longer using that had an expired license tag and inspection sticker. Since it could be seen from the road, it was in violation of the county’s “inoperable vehicle” ordinance.
The ordinance has been on the books for years but most people are unaware of it until they are cited with its violation.
The ordinance provides that “inoperable vehicles” must be kept in an enclosed structure or otherwise shielded or screened from view. The term inoperable vehicle applies not only to motor vehicles but to motorcycles and trailers.
Vehicles that are not in operating condition for 60 days are deemed inoperable as are those that lack license tags and current inspection stickers. Antique vehicles and racing cars are exempt so long as they are concealed with a vehicle cover.
Fred Paul, a retired Chesterfield police officer, serves as the deputy who deals with the ordinance. “He technically works for my department,” Sheriff C.A. Wilkins said Friday, “but he really works for the county administrator.”
Paul said he finds a number of violations every year.
Wilkins said that sometimes Paul just notices a violation and at other times complaints are called in about vehicles.
When Paul sees a violation, he advises the owner of the property where the vehicle is located that he or she has 30 days to come into compliance.
Wilkins said that the inoperable vehicles are often simply unsightly but sometimes “they end up with some critters in them.”
“Since the price of metal went up there aren’t as many of the vehicles,” Wilkins added.