[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of Bethany Beach 9-18-1998 by Ord. No. 328 (Ch. 225 of the 1992 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 227.
The Town Council of the Town of Bethany Beach has found and determined that the practice of allowing vehicles, as hereinafter defined, to be left, stored or deposited on public or private property within the Town, under the circumstances or conditions hereinafter described, constitutes a public nuisance in that such abandoned vehicles tend to impede traffic in the streets; interfere with enjoyment of and reduce the value of private property; invite plundering; create fire hazards and other safety and health hazards to children as well as to adults; interfere with the comfort and well-being of the public; and create, extend and aggravate urban blight. It is therefore declared to be the purpose of this chapter to eliminate such abandoned vehicles within the Town of Bethany Beach.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to leave, store or deposit or cause to be left, stored or deposited or, as owner, occupant, lessee, agent, tenant or otherwise of any private or public property within the Town of Bethany Beach, permit the storage of:
Any vehicle that is inoperable, dismantled, wrecked or from which major components have been removed, that is in such a state of disrepair as to be incapable of being operated in the manner for which it was designed and that is situated on private property in such circumstances as to appear to have been abandoned.
Any vehicle which is inoperable, dismantled, wrecked, or which display expired registration plates which are at least 30 days expired, or which display no registration plates, or from which major components have been removed and which shall have been placed upon any public street or property for a period in excess of 12 hours without being removed.
Any vehicle on public or private property for a period in excess of 30 days, whether such vehicle is operable or not, which is not properly licensed; provided, however, that if, in the opinion of the Police Department, such vehicle constitutes a danger to the public or an impediment to the normal flow of traffic, such vehicle may be moved immediately in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 227, Article V.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Every vehicle operated or driven or capable of being driven or operated upon a public highway by any power. For the purposes of this chapter, "vehicles" shall include automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, buses, motor homes, house trailers and agricultural machines.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:
Vehicles and equipment to be used in the construction, operation or maintenance of public utility facilities and which are left in a manner which does not interfere with the normal flow of traffic.
Motor vehicles altered for drag or stock car racing, as long as said motor vehicles are maintained on registered trailers.
Vehicles being held for sale or resale in a commercial zone by a properly licensed retail automobile dealer.
Vehicles which are classified as antiques under state laws.
Any vehicle within a completely enclosed garage or storage area so as not to be visible from adjoining properties or from any street.
On public property. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Town Police Department that any nuisance, as defined in § 316-2 of this chapter, appears to exist on public property, it shall cause a written order to be affixed to the vehicle, declaring the existence of the nuisance and ordering whoever has an interest in the vehicle to comply with this chapter by removing said vehicle within 48 hours of the notice.
On private property. Whenever it comes to the attention of the Town Police Department that any nuisance, as defined in § 316-2, appears to exist on private property, it shall, in addition to affixing an order to the vehicle itself as provided in Subsection A above, mail a copy of the order to the owner of such private property by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall deliver a copy of such order to the occupant of such property. If the property is not occupied or the occupant is not at home, a copy of such order shall be posted on the main entrance to the premises.
Form of order. Any orders required under Subsection A or B above shall contain the following information:
A description of such vehicle, including the make, year, model, color and registration number if known.
The location of such vehicle.
The date and time that the order was affixed to the vehicle.
An order for removal within 48 hours from the time the order was affixed to the vehicle.
That upon failure to comply with the order for removal, the Town Police Department may remove or cause to be removed such vehicle at the expense of the owner of the vehicle and/or the owner or occupant of the property.
That such person may appeal the order for removal to the Town Manager by filing a written notice of appeal at the Town Hall within three business days subsequent to the affixing of the order of removal on the vehicle. Such hearing shall be held as soon as is reasonably possible, but in no event more than four business days after the written notice is received at the Town Manager's Office.
If the violation is not remedied within the time set forth in the order as outlined herein, the Town Police Department is hereby authorized to remove or have removed such vehicle from the premises. Except for the Town Police Department, such vehicles shall be removed only by wreckers or towing services duly licensed by the state. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or refuse to allow the Town Police Department and/or any person acting in concert with or at the direction of the Town Police Department to enter upon private property for the purpose of removing a vehicle under the provisions of this chapter.
Within five days of the removal of such vehicle, the Town Police Department shall give written notice (by certified mail, return receipt requested) to the registered owner of the vehicle, if known, and also to the owner or occupant of the private property from which the vehicle was removed that said vehicle has been impounded and stored for violation of this chapter. This notice shall give the location of where the vehicle is stored.
Any person who tows, removes, stores or keeps a vehicle at the direction of the Town Police Department acting under the provisions of this chapter shall, from the time of taking possession thereof, be entitled to all rights, remedies and authority as provided under the Delaware Garageman's Lien Statute, 25 Del. C., Chapter 39, as it may be amended from time to time hereafter or any future corresponding provision of law. In exercising such rights, remedies and authority, such persons shall be governed, in all respects, by the terms of that statute.
In the event that the Town should become liable for all or any portion of the expenses incurred in the removal and storage of such vehicle, the Town may recover the same from the owner of the vehicle and/or the owner of the private property from which it was removed in an action for debt; or if authorized by law, impose a lien upon the property from which such vehicle was removed.
[Amended 2-17-2006 by Ord. No. 407]
Any person convicted of knowingly causing or permitting a nuisance to exist in violation of this chapter; or interfering with the removal of a vehicle as provided in § 316-6, shall pay such fines as set out in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, Penalties. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation, punishable as such.