INOPERABLE/ABANDONED VEHICLE REGULATIONS:
The goal of the City in the compliance of this code is to ensure that the health, safety and/or welfare of the community is not being compromised. Ordinance #1335 passed in 2004 requires that all vehicles within the City of Andrews be legally operable or stored safely as to prevent them from becoming rodent or pest habitats, and ensuring that abandoned or inoperable vehicles do not become death traps to curious children. This ordinance also requires that the vehicles either be made legally operable, garaged, or removed from the city limits. Although these are not the primary concerns of the ordinance, this ordinance prevents inoperable vehicles from becoming permanent fixtures in a neighborhood, residential junkyards, or creating an aesthetic nuisance of which all diminish the integrity, development, and value of the neighborhood. The majority of communities around us and throughout the country have similar rule or are enforced by state law. It is not the intention of the City of Andrews to be heavy handed in enforcing this ordinance rather to take a customer friendly approach to ensure that everyone is being treated fairly and reaching a higher level of compliance.
The Texas Transportation Code Chapter 683, sets guidelines passed by the State Legislature. Local ordinance #1335 uses the guidelines set by the state in the Texas Transportation Code (TTC) to ensure that all vehicles are legally operable and not abandoned.
The city will send or post at least one notice of violation per property having an abandoned or inoperable vehicle according to TTC 683.075 and Andrews Code of Ordinance Section 18.
WHY WE POST OR MAIL CERTIFIED NOTICES:
In the City of Andrews, we are served by only one State Registered Code Enforcement Officer (a.k.a Code Compliance Inspector) and inspections for a town of over 10,000 are time consuming and can render it impossible to have one-on-one contact with everyone. The code compliance inspector handles a multitude of codes and violations other than inoperable and abandoned vehicles, and although we would love to make personal contact with everyone for every violation, it can become very time consuming and detrimental to ensuring the highest level of compliance.
The state law prescribes that a city must notify the owner by mail or by a notice attached to the vehicle and although we are generally received well in personal contact we would have no recourse if an owner decides not to comply with the personal contact. Most people will receive a notice either by a notice attached to a vehicle or by certified mail notice that is worded in a legal and generally direct manner to ensure that if the City has to take recourse to remedy the violation that the City has fairly, properly and legally notified the owner as required. We pride ourselves in the fairness and customer service we provide, and will be fair to everyone. We ask that if you receive a notice and have any questions or feel that it was received in error that you please make contact with the code compliance inspector.
HOW INSPECTIONS ARE CONDUCTED:
Code Compliance Inspections are generally conducted in a non-discriminate “sweep” manner on a block-by-block basis or by received complaint. Violations are handled as prescribed by law and further action on the part of the city generally takes a little bit longer and will cost the owner. We try to address the most severe issues in a manner of what is most detrimental to the public, rather than received complaints, but all complaints will be addressed and dealt with accordingly.
Common misconception #1:
A property owner receives a notice and complies but a neighbor has yet to comply. Did the code compliance inspector not take note of the neighbor’s inoperable vehicle/s or send them a notice?
The neighbor more than likely was sent notice and either did not receive it or has just neglected to comply. When this happens the inspector has to place the property on a schedule for city remediation and/or court action and is awaiting further action by a towing contractor and/or municipal court. When the city is required to take further action the due process is not always expedient considering the load on the towing contractors and the court.
Common misconception #2:
If a person does not accept the Certified Mail or removes the posted Notice can they neglect to comply without consequence?
No. The Inspector documents all notices sent or posted and keep such records for further action. It is common in practice that if notice is disregarded the city will continue with further action as instructed by law.
Common misconception #3:
I was given three days to remove the vehicle from the street or make it operable. If I move it onto the property does the city have to start the process over?
No. Moving the vehicle onto the property will only increase the amount of days you have to correct the violation all notices state that a vehicle on the street will have 3 days to correct and 10 days on private property. If the vehicle is moved onto the property on the 3rd day they will only have 7 days remaining to comply. Likewise if the vehicle is removed from the property and placed on the street the city can take sooner action.
Common misconception #4:
If it’s not my vehicle, can I be held responsible for the vehicle?
Yes. If the vehicle is on your property, you are by law responsible for your property and anything on it. If you receive notice and the city is not notified of abandonment. The city may take action against you and to have the vehicle removed at your expense. It is your responsibility to contact the owner and have the vehicle removed, if the owner fails to do so you may take civil action against the owner to have it removed.
Common misconception #5:
Contacting a supervisor will cause quicker action.
This statement is incorrect because all complaints will be handled in the manner received and addressed by severity. The law still regulates and trumps any action that an inspector or city official can take as remedy. This ordinance requires notice be given with a definite time period of due process. Even after the legal time to comply expires there are numerous vehicles that must either be filed in court or placed on the schedule with a towing contractor, once the action is taken we are left at the mercy of the court or the contractor neither of which is under our control.
Refer to Junked Vehicle Ordinance for more information.
Code Compliance Officer