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Valley gets update on junk vehicle ordinance

VALLEY — The City of Valley is getting significant results from its new junk vehicle ordinance. The ordinance replaces one that was thrown out in court several years ago. It was approved by the city council in February and went into effect on May 10.

At a recent council work session, Sgt. M.J. Jones gave a progress report on what’s been done in the first two months with the new ordinance. Jones is an officer with the Valley Police Department assigned to assist the city’s code enforcement department.

Through last Thursday, a total of 85 vehicles had been tagged, and 56 of them have been moved.

“I have had to tow rows of them,” Jones said, noting that 16 of the vehicles were in one yard alone. “There are some people who aren’t happy with me right now, but most people have been nice about it.”

Those who want to see unsightly vehicles moved from their neighborhoods are no doubt pleased with what’s being done.

There have been some situations where people were given some extra time to have the vehicles removed. In some cases, the ground needed to dry out after a period of heavy rain.

Jones said he started with the removals in the Todd Addition neighborhood in Shawmut and has worked his way south.

“I appreciate what you did on 30th Street,” said Council Member Randall Maddux.

“You are doing a great job, M.J.,” said Council Member Jim Jones.

The ordinance is designed to limit the outdoor storage of junked or inoperable vehicles for the purpose of protecting property values and the general appearance of residential neighborhoods in the city. According to the ordinance, junked or inoperable vehicles can include automobiles, trucks, buses, RVs, campers, travel trailers, boat trailers, utility trailers or any other vehicle that can move or be moved on a public right of way.

When a vehicle is tagged, the owner is notified that the vehicle has been determined to be a public nuisance and the owner has five days to remove it or have it stored in a completely enclosed building. The owner is responsible for all expenses incurred in having the vehicle removed.

During the five-day period, the owner can request in writing a hearing before the city council to discuss why their vehicle is not a public nuisance.

Any person who has not removed a tagged vehicle within five days can be charged with a misdemeanor.

The ordinance does allow for some exemptions. Collectors of antique, vintage, historic, classic, muscle cars and special interest vehicles that are being restored are permitted to have them provided they are kept in areas not readily visible to the public.