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Town cannot reach consensus on inoperable vehicles

Pulaski Town Council has been batting about changes to its Inoperable Vehicle Ordinance for at least a year, but the group still is unable to reach a consensus on what the ordinance should require.
At a Tuesday night work session, council had two options to consider: one proposed by the town staff and another proposed by Councilman Morgan Welker.
Welker said he could not support the staff ordinance because it doesn’t restrict inoperable vehicles at businesses in town.
“I see no point in passing anything if we don’t do something about businesses that are abusing” the current ordinance, he said.
Although many aspects of the two versions are the same, Welker said his version is “a little more aggressive” on town businesses and “easier on citizens.”
In his version of the ordinance, Welker allows for an inoperable vehicle to be on personal property or parked on a town street for 30 days, and on certain licensed business property for 60 days before being in violation of the ordinance. The town’s version does not have a grace period for citizens or businesses.
Welker also proposes including language requiring businesses with inoperable vehicles to be licensed by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Under both proposals, inoperable vehicles are allowed if they are in a fully enclosed building, structure or garage.
Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche asked Welker for direction in enforcing the time limits. He said such an ordinance would require his department to keep a running inventory of vehicles to be able to determine when one has been on a property too long and to prove to the court a violation had occurred.
As an alternative, Town Attorney David Warburton suggested a limit could be placed on the number of vehicles per parcel.
Mayor Jeff Worrell said he would like to see the staff ordinance adopted and then amend it later if further regulation is deemed necessary.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said he agrees with Welker that businesses need to be more strictly addressed. However, he said the staff ordinance “at least” addresses problems with inoperable vehicles collecting on personal property.
“We can work on something for businesses later,” he said.
But Welker said he is concerned that the staff proposal doesn’t allow any leniency for citizens to have an inoperable vehicle on their property temporarily without it being garaged. He suggested the town develop a temporary permit to allow such a vehicle on the property for at least 30 days.
As an example, Welker said he recently purchased a truck, but didn’t want to put tags on it until he was able to “get rid of” his other truck. He said the truck was on his property without tags for three weeks and would have violated the staff ordinance.
“There needs to be some instrument to allow for temporary” storage, he added.
Roche said the ordinance needs to be something that is “relatively simple” to enforce and uphold in court. He noted the purpose of the ordinance is to address the quality of life for town citizens, not to see how many citations can be written.
If someone is found to be in violation, the violator is given a warning and time to comply, the police chief said.
After the discussion, Welker made a motion to adopt his proposal, with the 30-day time frame eliminated.
The motion died for lack of a second.
Burchett then moved to adopt the town’s draft.
That motion, too, died for lack of a second.
Councilman Larry Clevenger said he would like to see an ordinance like the town’s proposal, but including Welker’s requirements for licensing by the DMV.
In response, Burchett noted that not all automobile repair shops are licensed by the state.
Councilman H. M. Kidd commented, “sometimes, if you want these businesses, you have to take what goes with them.”
In the end, Worrell decided to move forward with Tuesday night’s agenda without any action being taken on the proposed ordinance change.

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Town cannot reach consensus on inoperable vehicles

Pulaski Town Council has been batting about changes to its Inoperable Vehicle Ordinance for at least a year, but the group still is unable to reach a consensus on what the ordinance should require.
At a Tuesday night work session, council had two options to consider: one proposed by the town staff and another proposed by Councilman Morgan Welker.
Welker said he could not support the staff ordinance because it doesn’t restrict inoperable vehicles at businesses in town.
“I see no point in passing anything if we don’t do something about businesses that are abusing” the current ordinance, he said.
Although many aspects of the two versions are the same, Welker said his version is “a little more aggressive” on town businesses and “easier on citizens.”
In his version of the ordinance, Welker allows for an inoperable vehicle to be on personal property or parked on a town street for 30 days, and on certain licensed business property for 60 days before being in violation of the ordinance. The town’s version does not have a grace period for citizens or businesses.
Welker also proposes including language requiring businesses with inoperable vehicles to be licensed by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Under both proposals, inoperable vehicles are allowed if they are in a fully enclosed building, structure or garage.
Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche asked Welker for direction in enforcing the time limits. He said such an ordinance would require his department to keep a running inventory of vehicles to be able to determine when one has been on a property too long and to prove to the court a violation had occurred.
As an alternative, Town Attorney David Warburton suggested a limit could be placed on the number of vehicles per parcel.
Mayor Jeff Worrell said he would like to see the staff ordinance adopted and then amend it later if further regulation is deemed necessary.
Councilman Joel Burchett Jr. said he agrees with Welker that businesses need to be more strictly addressed. However, he said the staff ordinance “at least” addresses problems with inoperable vehicles collecting on personal property.
“We can work on something for businesses later,” he said.
But Welker said he is concerned that the staff proposal doesn’t allow any leniency for citizens to have an inoperable vehicle on their property temporarily without it being garaged. He suggested the town develop a temporary permit to allow such a vehicle on the property for at least 30 days.
As an example, Welker said he recently purchased a truck, but didn’t want to put tags on it until he was able to “get rid of” his other truck. He said the truck was on his property without tags for three weeks and would have violated the staff ordinance.
“There needs to be some instrument to allow for temporary” storage, he added.
Roche said the ordinance needs to be something that is “relatively simple” to enforce and uphold in court. He noted the purpose of the ordinance is to address the quality of life for town citizens, not to see how many citations can be written.
If someone is found to be in violation, the violator is given a warning and time to comply, the police chief said.
After the discussion, Welker made a motion to adopt his proposal, with the 30-day time frame eliminated.
The motion died for lack of a second.
Burchett then moved to adopt the town’s draft.
That motion, too, died for lack of a second.
Councilman Larry Clevenger said he would like to see an ordinance like the town’s proposal, but including Welker’s requirements for licensing by the DMV.
In response, Burchett noted that not all automobile repair shops are licensed by the state.
Councilman H. M. Kidd commented, “sometimes, if you want these businesses, you have to take what goes with them.”
In the end, Worrell decided to move forward with Tuesday night’s agenda without any action being taken on the proposed ordinance change.

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