[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Binghamton 11-21-1989 by L.L No. 9-1989 (Ch. 33 of the 1969 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Junk Vehicle Law of the Town of Binghamton."
This chapter is enacted in recognition of the fact that a clean, wholesome, attractive environment is declared to be of importance to the health and safety of the inhabitants and the safeguarding of their material rights against unwarranted invasion, and, in addition, such an environment is deemed essential to the maintenance and continued development of the economy of the Town and the general welfare of its citizens. The unrestrained accumulation of motor vehicles not in operating condition is a hazard to such health, safety and welfare of citizens of the Town, necessitating the regulation, restraint and elimination thereof. This chapter is enacted in recognition of the fact that even a single junk vehicle abandoned or stored on private or public property:
Can constitute both a public and private nuisance.
Is a source of potential hurt to children and others who find them an attractive nuisance.
Is replete with broken glass, sharp, torn metal edges and points, gasoline remaining in tanks of a highly explosive and combustible nature and hurtful acids in batteries, to mention but a few of the more obvious sources of potential physical hurt found in junk vehicles.
Constitutes a blight on the Town of Binghamton landscape.
Destroys the aesthetic qualities of the Town of Binghamton and is generally unsightly.
Tends to depreciate not only the property on which it is located, but also the property of other persons in the neighborhood and the Town of Binghamton generally.
Makes the Town a less safe and less pleasant place in which to live and to do business.
Damages the welfare of the Town of Binghamton as a whole.
Tends to result in uncontrolled grass and the collection of debris.
Tends to be a breeding ground for insects, rodents and similar harmful creatures.
Definitions. For the purpose of this chapter, the terms used herein are defined as follows:
- JUNK VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle, whether automobile, bus, trailer, truck,
tractor, mobile home, motorcycle, motor bicycle, minibicycle, snowmobile
or boat or any other contraption originally intended for travel on
the public highways, which is abandoned, stored, left or located by
its owner or any other person or is permitted or condoned to be abandoned,
stored, left or located by its owner or any other person, on public
or private premises in the Town of Binghamton, outside any establishment
duly licensed by the Town of Binghamton for the storage of junk vehicles
which:[Amended 4-15-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003; 4-21-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
- (1) Is not currently registered or is not in condition for legal use on the public highways. A vehicle which is in a condition such that it would not pass the requirements for New York State motor vehicle inspection shall be deemed to be not in condition for legal use on the public highways;
- (2) Is no longer intended to be used on the public highways, the condition of the vehicle and circumstances surrounding its storage or abandonment being admissible for purposes of determining such intent; or
- (3) Is being held or used for the purpose of resale of used parts therefrom or for the purpose of reclaiming for use some or all of the materials therein or for the purpose of disposing of the same.
- OPEN STORAGE
- Storage other than in a completely enclosed structure, such as a garage or other structure constructed of wood, brick, metal or similar material.
- Includes natural persons, corporations, copartnerships, unincorporated associations or any other organization or combination of two or more persons.
- REPAIR SETTLEMENT
- Determination by whatever means, including settlement of a claim, arbitration or legal action, that any person other than the owner of a vehicle is liable to pay or will pay for the repair of damage to a vehicle.
- Any business operating a vehicle for towing or hauling other motor vehicles.
- TOWING-COMMERCIAL GARAGE
- Any business operating as a towing service and as a commercial garage or any two businesses operating such two businesses from the same parcel of property or any two such businesses having 50% common ownership.
- Includes all areas within the Town of Binghamton, including both public and private areas.
The term "shall" is always mandatory. Words used in the singular shall include the plural and vice versa.
The owner of a junk vehicle, or the person with care, custody or control of a junk vehicle or the owner or tenant of any property on which a junk vehicle is located, shall not permit or allow open storage of one or more junk vehicles on private or public property within the Town of Binghamton except as provided in this chapter.
Notice to owner by Town. The Town shall give written notice of an alleged violation of this chapter by registered or certified mail or personal service on the owner of the junk vehicle or the person with care, custody or control of the junk vehicle or on the owner or the tenant of any property on which a junk vehicle is in open storage.
Contents of notice.
Such notice shall direct the person so served (regardless of the ownership of the junk vehicle if the person with care, custody or control or the property owner or tenant is served) to terminate the violation within 10 days of personal service or within 13 days from posting where service is by registered or certified mail. The notice shall state that if the persons served contend that said vehicle is not a junk vehicle as herein defined that they shall notify the Town Code Enforcement Officer in writing of such contention within 10 days if served personally or within 13 days if served by certified or registered mail (the failure of the person served to so notify the Town Code Enforcement Officer shall not be deemed in any way to be an admission that the vehicle is a junk vehicle and no presumptions shall arise from such failure); and shall allow a representative of the Town and the person served or a representative of the person served, if the latter so desires, to visibly inspect such vehicle within five days of such notification. Within five days after such inspection, the Town shall inform the person served of its findings in writing, by registered or certified mail, or personal service.
If the findings are that one or more of the junk vehicles specified in the original notice are being stored by the person served with the original notice, said person shall terminate the open storage of the junk vehicle(s) within the Town of Binghamton within five days of personal service of such findings or within eight days from posting where service of such findings is by registered or certified mail.
Failure to notify the Town. In the event that the owner of the junk vehicle or the person with care, custody and control of the junk vehicle or the owner or the tenant of any property on which a junk vehicle is located fails to respond to any written notice within the time provided, the Town may proceed and issue its findings.
Application for permit. Upon written application and the deposit of an amount set by resolution of the Town Board, the Town Code Enforcement Officer may issue a permit for the open storage of a vehicle within the definition of a junk vehicle under the terms of this chapter, pending the making of such repairs as are necessary to place said vehicle in a condition for legal operation for use on a public highway or pending use of vehicle for parts to repair another vehicle. A person may have a permit for no more than one vehicle at any time. No permit will be issued for open storage of more than one vehicle on any parcel of land.
Intent to repair. The application shall include a representation by the applicant that the applicant intends, within the permit period, to repair the vehicle so that it will be in condition for legal operation on public highways and that if said repairs have not been made by the end of the permit period, the applicant will terminate open storage of the vehicle within the Town of Binghamton by the end of the permit period.
Application requirements. The applicant shall state whether he is the owner of said vehicle or, if not, the name and address of the owner, together with a complete description of the vehicle; full details of its most recent registration by the State of New York and the most recent inspection; full details of the defects which are to be repaired under the permit, whether the applicant will make the repairs himself or, if not, the person or persons who will make such repairs, the estimated cost of such repairs; the place where the vehicle is presently stored and the place where the repairs will be made; and whether the applicant is the owner or tenant in possession of such premises.
License for inspection and removal. As a part of the application, the applicant shall give the Town and its designees a license to enter such premises for the purpose of inspecting said vehicle and for removing said vehicle from said premises following the expiration of the permit if at such time said vehicle is a junk vehicle, as herein defined. If the applicant is not the owner or tenant in possession of such premises, the application shall include a license from the owner or tenant in possession of said premises to permit such inspection as long as the person or persons are within the boundaries of the Town of Binghamton. Such licenses shall also state that the Town shall have the right to make such inspection and removal from any other premises owned by the applicant or the licenser to which such vehicle may be moved within the Town of Binghamton. Such license shall also state that it is irrevocable for a period of 90 days from the expiration of the permit. A fee as established by resolution of the Town Board shall be charged for the permit, and the applicant shall deposit with the Town an amount as established by resolution of the Town Board, which deposit shall be refunded if within the permit period the vehicle shall cease to be a junk vehicle, as defined herein, or open storage of such vehicle within the Town of Binghamton is terminated; but if neither condition is complied with, such deposit shall be forfeited to the Town of Binghamton.
Permit. A separate permit shall be required for each separate vehicle to be repaired. Such permits shall be issued for not in excess of six months and may be extended once only for up to three months upon the payment of an additional fee as established by resolution of the Town Board. Inspection after the permit period has expired shall be at a time specified in a notice of inspection at least one day following personal service or three days following service by registered or certified mail. The applicant may participate in the inspection. The procedure of the preceding section for service of the determination, time for removal following such service and for stays on appeal shall apply to such post-permit proceedings.
"Open storage" shall mean storage outside a building. The Town Board may license the open storage of junk vehicles and disabled vehicles subject to such conditions as it deems appropriate to protect neighboring private and public property, including public rights-of-way, including:
The junk vehicles and disabled vehicles shall be stored in such part of the premises as reasonably specified in the license, locations to the front of the property and to the front or side of a neighboring residence or other principal building to be avoided where reasonably practical. The Town Board may limit the size of the storage area. The storage area shall be enclosed with a solid fence at least eight feet high on all sides and at least eight feet high above the grade level of the street or streets adjoining the premises on the side adjoining the street or streets; and vehicles stored at said site shall not be visible within 300 yards from the storage area at a height of six feet, or the storage area and vehicles therein shall not be visible from any public road, highway or right-of-way or from any adjoining property at a height of six feet.
All vehicles shall be stored on the ground, and no vehicle shall be piled upon another vehicle.
The minimum size and maximum size of the storage area may be designated by the Town Board, and the area specified shall be fenced off from the remaining area of the lot or otherwise delineated, and storage of junk and disabled cars shall be limited to such delineated areas. However, vehicles awaiting repairs may be stored outside the storage area for up to 10 days.
The license shall be conditioned upon continued maintenance of all requirements of this section and of all additional requirements of the license and shall be revocable by the Town Board if any violations are not cured within five days of personal service or eight days of service by registered mail of notice to cure any violations.
The Town shall have a license to enter the premises and the storage area at any reasonable hour to inspect for violations of the license.
[Amended 11-16-2010 by L.L. No. 18-2015]
The license shall expire upon the removal of all junk and disabled vehicles from the premises licensed or on December 31 of the year in which it is issued. Renewal licenses may be issued by the Town Code Enforcement Officer unless prior to December 1 of any year the Town adopts a resolution to notify the licensee that the license will not be renewed or that an application for renewal must be made to the Town Board.
An annual fee as established by resolution of the Town Board shall be charged for the license.
All persons having an ownership interest in the licensed parcel or having a leasehold interest in such parcel shall be designated as licensees on the license. No license shall be issued which would result in any person being designated as a licensee on licenses for the storage of junk vehicles or disabled vehicles on more than one site.
There shall be no sale of salvaged vehicle parts from any junk or disabled vehicle located on the premises and no installation on the premises into other vehicles of parts taken from junk or disabled vehicles located on the premises.
Inside, adjacent to and continuous with the fence or enclosure, one strip of land at least 10 feet in width which shall be kept free of all dry grass, junk, plant growth, or other combustible material so as to provide a fire lane or break around the entire area where open storage is conducted.
[Added 11-16-2010 by L.L. No. 18-2015]
Each person applying for a license for open storage shall complete an application supplied by the Town and contain the following information:
[Added 11-16-2010 by L.L. No. 18-2015]
A map of the site where the open storage is proposed, including address and real property tax number drawn at a scale of not more than one inch equals 20 feet;
Property lines, including the names of owners of adjacent property;
Streams, lakes, wetlands, flood plains, and other water bodies, including those available for fire-protection purposes;
The topography of the site and any plans for grading the property to be shown at a contour interval of not more than five feet;
The location of all wells and sanitary facilities on the property or within 100 feet of the boundary of the property;
Drainage patterns on the site;
Existing and proposed structures, including fences;
Roads and easements adjacent to, on or through said property;
Existing and proposed junk storage areas, indicating the type of junk or material which will be stored in each area;
Existing and proposed access ways, aisles, parking and loading areas;
The name, residence, address and telephone number of each individual owner, partner, or if a corporation or other organization, each officer and director;
The trade name, address and telephone number of the business;
A statement as to whether or not the applicant has been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor, or violation of any municipal ordinance, or any violation of Article 6 of the General Business Law;
The name and address of the owner of the real property and the nature of the right under which the applicant possess the property; and
Whether the applicant has obtained a valid junk dealer's license under Article 6 of the New York State General Business Law.
To protect the clean, wholesome, safe and attractive environment of the community, the Town Board shall take the following factors into consideration in granting or denying an open storage permit:
[Added 11-16-2010 by L.L. No. 18-2015]
The type of road servicing the open storage facility or from which the open storage facility can be seen;
Natural or artificial barriers protecting the open storage facility from view;
Proximity of the site to established residential or recreational areas or main access routes thereto;
The nature and development of surrounding property;
Whether or not the proposed location will affect the public health and safety by reason of offensive or unhealthy noise, odors or smoke, or of other causes;
The proximity of floodplains, groundwater supplies, and public water supplies;
Local drainage patterns;
The availability of municipal fire protection and the adequacy of the water supply for fire protection purposes;
The comprehensive plan for the Town;
Proximity of the site to established residential or recreational areas;
Availability of other suitable sites for the open storage facility;
The type of vehicles to be stored or deposited in the open storage facility; and
Any record the applicant has of convictions for larceny or receiving stolen property.
No license fee or screening shall be required for up to five vehicles currently being actively used in farming or commercial operations, and no fee shall be required and the license may waive the requirement of screening or fencing for up to two vehicles not being used for farming or commercial purposes if:
The vehicles are being used on private property and are being held for continuing operation on private property and are not being held primarily for nonoperating purposes.
The vehicles, if not in condition for legal operation on public highways, are in a condition so that they can be operated and so that such operation on private property will not be unduly dangerous to the operator, passengers or others.
The vehicles are in such condition that there is no sharp metal, broken glass or other condition which would endanger children who might be attracted to play around the vehicles.
Such waiver of fencing or screening requirements may be revoked at any time that the Town Code Enforcement Officer determines that the vehicles are no longer continuing to be used for operation on private property or that operation would be unduly hazardous or that damage to them make them unduly hazardous to children, each as provided in the preceding subsections. Within 20 days of personal service or 23 days of posting of service by registered or certified mail, screening or fencing shall be provided as specified by the waiver revocation notice, or the licensee shall submit satisfactory proof to the Town Code Enforcement Officer that the vehicle again qualifies for the waiver, or open storage within the Town shall be terminated.
If, within the time period provided for removal following service of a determination that a vehicle is a junk vehicle, including any extension of time resulting from any appeal or stay of execution, the open storage of the junk vehicle within the Town of Binghamton is not terminated, such junk vehicles shall be automatically deemed a public nuisance, and the Town or representatives of the Town shall have the right to enter and remove such vehicle from any premises within the Town where such vehicle may be found and to dispose of such vehicle. Neither the Town nor any person acting on behalf of the Town shall be liable to any person for the disposal or destruction of such junk vehicles. Said right of entry shall not be limited in any way by the existence or lack of existence of a request, authorization, license or other consent or approval of entry, inspection or removal.
Provided that such operations are permitted by all applicable zoning laws and regulations, including rights under any nonconforming uses, and including any limitations, restrictions or conditions established according to law by the Town Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Board or any court of competent jurisdiction and are not in violation of any applicable private restrictive covenant or agreement filed or recorded in the Broome County Clerk's office:
Any towing service may store junk vehicles on one site, but not on more than one site, within the Town, provided that no junk vehicle is so stored within the Town for more than 15 days.
Any commercial garage may store junk vehicles on any one site, but not on more than one site, within the Town, pending and during repair of such vehicles, provided that no junk vehicle is so stored within the Town for more than 60 days, or if a permit for extended storage is issued, for 60 days, plus any extension permitted.
Any towing-commercial garage may store junk vehicles on any one site, but not on more than one site, within the Town, provided that if storage of any junk vehicle exceeds 15 days, that it shall be pending and during repair and shall not exceed an additional 45 days, or if a permit for extended storage is issued, 45 days plus any extensions permitted.
Where a repair settlement is pending, in good faith, the foregoing time periods shall not start to run until either a repair settlement has been made or the junk vehicle has been stored within the Town of Binghamton for four months, whichever is sooner.
For good cause shown, the Code Enforcement Officer may extend by permit any time period for such period of time as he determines is reasonably necessary to permit repair of a junk vehicle. The Code Enforcement Officer may refuse to permit such extended storage if he determines that the applicant has not attempted to complete repairs within the regular time period, is not in good faith, or is in violation of this chapter in any way. A fee established by resolution of the Town Board shall be paid for each permit, and the applicant shall agree that the vehicle will be repaired or removed from the Town at the end of such extension of any subsequent extension.
Towers, commercials garages and towing-commercial garages shall keep records showing the make, model, year, color, license plate number, if any, vehicle owner, vehicle owner's address, purpose for storage, any prior storage within 12 months by them or, if known, by anyone else within the Town, and the starting and ending dates of storage of each junk vehicle. Such records shall be shown to Town officials upon request during business hours. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the statements therein contained but shall be rebuttable. In the absence of such records or other sufficient proof that a junk vehicle has not been stored in violation of this chapter, the operator of such businesses shall terminate storage of the vehicle within the Town within five days of receipt in person or within eight days of the mailing of a notice to terminate such storage unless:
Anything in this chapter notwithstanding, any disabled vehicle may be stored on the premises of any gasoline station for up to seven days. For this purpose, a vehicle shall be deemed disabled if within 24 hours prior to such storage its condition changes so that it becomes a junk vehicle as defined in this chapter of the Code of the Town of Binghamton.
No legal action shall be taken against any person with regard to any violation of this chapter, which violation exists on the date of the enactment of this chapter, provided that such person terminates all violations by him, whether by removal, repair or permit, as herein provided, within the following periods:
If on the enactment date of this chapter said person is in violation with respect to five or less junk vehicles, he terminates all violations by him within 30 days of said enactment date.
If on said enactment date said person is in violation with respect to more than five junk vehicles, he terminates violations with respect to at least five junk vehicles within 30 days and, with respect to the remaining junk vehicles, within 60 days of said enactment date.
If the Town or its agents solicit and receive a license to remove any junk vehicle(s), as to such junk vehicle(s), there shall be no liability for violation of this chapter of the Code of the Town of Binghamton for the period that said license is in effect. The receiving of said license by the Town shall not obligate the Town to remove any junk vehicle(s) nor obligate the Town to share the cost of removing said vehicle(s) and destruction of said vehicle(s). The Town may at any time determine that it will not remove any junk vehicle(s) under any such license. Such vehicle(s) shall be removed from open storage within the Town of Binghamton by the owner of the vehicle(s) or the person having care, custody and control of the vehicle(s) or owner or tenant in possession of the property on which the vehicle(s) is (are) located within 30 days after notice by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the person(s) who gave such license to the Town that the Town does not expect to remove such vehicle(s) pursuant to the license, which notice shall not, however, invalidate such license. No person shall be liable under this chapter of the Code of the Town of Binghamton for openly storing any junk vehicle(s) during the period beginning when the license is issued for removal by the Town and running 30 days after notice by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the person(s) who gave such license to the Town that the Town does not expect to remove such vehicle(s) pursuant to the license.
The provisions of this amnesty provision shall not bar legal action against any person for violations under existing law until its repeal or for violations of this chapter beginning with its effective date unless such person shall expressly comply with the amnesty provisions of this chapter. The sole effect of such amnesty period shall be to provide immunity from fine or punishment; and it shall not be interpreted as making legal for any other purpose the storage of any vehicle; or to create any nonconforming use; or to create any break in time with regard to the length of time that the storage of any vehicle has been illegal.
[Amended 4-15-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003; 4-21-2009 by L.L. No. 2-2009]
A violation of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine up to $1,000 per violation or imprisonment of up to one year, or both. A violation of this chapter shall also subject the violator to a civil penalty of the greater of $250 per separate violation, or the Town's costs of inspection, service of notices, removal, towing and permanently disposing of such vehicles, less any criminal monetary fine which may have been imposed. Each junk vehicle stored in violation of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation. Each week that such separate violation shall continue or be carried on shall constitute an additional separate violation.
In the event that a defendant fails to mail a not guilty plea and/or fails to appear to enter a plea of not guilty to a complaint pursuant to this section, the Court is authorized to enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of the defendant and to set down a trial date. Upon setting a trial date, the Court shall issue a written notice of not less than 10 calendar days to the defendant of the scheduled trial date. In the event that the defendant fails to appear at the scheduled trial date and the Court satisfies itself that proof exists that a notice of the trial was duly issued, the Court may proceed with the trial in absence of the defendant. Upon a conviction, at the Court's discretion, any fine may be ordered to be converted to a civil judgment for filing or the fine may be ordered to be applied to the defendant's real property tax bill, or both. Upon conviction, a violation of this article shall be deemed an offense pursuant to the Penal Law and shall be subject to a fine of not more than $250 per violation, except that where a person was found to have previously violated this article within the preceding two years, the penalty may be not more than $500 per violation, and where a person was found to have committed two or more such violations within the preceding three years, the penalty may be not more than $1,000 per violation. Fines may be paid pursuant to a plea of guilty by mail and shall be $100 per violation, except where a person was found to have previously violated this article within the preceding two years, the fine shall be $250 per violation, and where a person was found to have committed two or more such violations within the preceding three years, the fine shall be $1,000 per violation. At the discretion of the Court, security of $100 shall be posted upon a plea of not guilty made by mail.
The Town Code Enforcement Officer or other Code Enforcement Officer as the Town Board shall designate may make reasonable rulings and may issue reasonable regulations in furtherance of and consistent with this chapter.