[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Meriden 2-2-1998; amended in its entirety 2-22-2000. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Solid waste, recycling and littering — See Ch. 176.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 180.
Tow trucks and towing — See Ch. 191.
Trailers and trailer camps — See Ch. 194.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 200.
Zoning — See Ch. 213.
Abandoned or unregistered motor vehicles — See C.G.S. § 14-150 et seq.
Editor's Note: This resolution also repealed former Ch. 198, adopted 7-3-1978, as amended.
This chapter is enacted pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 14-150a, as amended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Any vehicle as defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 14-1, as amended, and shall include any part of a motor vehicle so defined.
Any unregistered motor vehicle must be registered on the tax rolls of the City of Meriden as provided by Connecticut General Statutes.
It shall be unlawful to deposit, park, place, permit to remain, store or have any abandoned or inoperable or unregistered motor vehicle or any part thereof on any property located within the City of Meriden.
Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 14-150(b), as amended, any sworn City of Meriden police officer shall take into custody and store any motor vehicle which is a menace to traffic, a menace to public health or a menace to safety. The vehicle shall be disposed of as described in the procedures set forth in Connecticut General Statutes § 14-150, as amended.
Whenever any motor vehicle which appears to be abandoned, inoperable or unregistered is found on private property, any sworn City of Meriden police officer shall take the following steps:
Cause a general notice to be placed in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the City of Meriden specifying the make, model, year and color of the motor vehicle; the license plate number of the vehicle, if available, or, if not, the VIN number, if available; the name of the last registered owner of the motor vehicle, if known or ascertainable; the location of the motor vehicle; and that the vehicle is under investigation as being abandoned, inoperable or unregistered. The notice shall also state that the City of Meriden will remove and dispose of the motor vehicle unless it is removed and properly disposed of within 30 days of the publication of the notice.
At the same time, send by first-class mail or by hand delivery written notice to the owner of the property upon which the motor vehicle is found, with a copy to the last registered owner of the motor vehicle, if known, at that owner's last known address, requesting that the motor vehicle be removed within 30 days from the date of the publication of the notice as provided in Subsection A(1) above and describing the procedure for an appeal to a hearing officer. If the motor vehicle remains unmoved after the expiration of the 30 days, the vehicle shall be caused to be removed by the Chief of Police or his authorized agent.
The Chief of Police shall be responsible for notifying the owner of the property, causing publication of the general notice and for removal and disposition of such motor vehicle by an authorized agent.
The owner of the property upon which the motor vehicle is found, or the last registered owner of the vehicle, has the right to contest the determination that said motor vehicle is abandoned, inoperable or unregistered by making a written application for a hearing to the City Manager, which application must be received by the City Manager before the expiration of the thirty-day period. Said application will stay proceedings under this chapter pending a decision by the hearing officer. The City Manager shall appoint one or more hearing officers to hear these appeals. Upon receipt of an application for hearing pursuant to this subsection, the City Manager shall notify the Chief of Police and the hearing officer, which hearing officer shall promptly schedule a hearing. Any party may for good cause request a continuance of a hearing, but the decision to allow such continuance will be at the reasonable discretion of the hearing officer. At the hearing, the owner of the motor vehicle may produce any relevant evidence to show that the motor vehicle is not in violation of this chapter. At the hearing, the authority which made the decision to tow the motor vehicle may produce any relevant evidence to show that the motor vehicle is not in compliance with this chapter. The hearing officer shall proceed with reasonable dispatch to conclude any matter pending before him and render a decision. The hearing officer shall provide both parties with written notice of his decision, which shall state the reason for his determination. If the hearing officer determines that the motor vehicle is in violation of this chapter, said motor vehicle must be removed within the thirty-day period or within five days from the issuance of the hearing officer's decision, whichever is later.
In the event that a motor vehicle is not removed prior to the expiration of the thirty-day period and is therefore removed by the Chief of Police or an authorized agent, the last registered owner of the motor vehicle and the owner of the property from which the motor vehicle was removed shall be jointly and severally liable for all costs of such removal, storage or sale of said motor vehicle, and a lien for such cost shall be placed on the real property from which the motor vehicle was removed. Notwithstanding the above, if the owner of the property upon which the motor vehicle is found notifies the Chief of Police, in writing, that said motor vehicle was abandoned and that the owner of said property is not the owner of said motor vehicle and consents to its removal prior to the expiration of the thirty-day period, the owner of said property shall not be liable for any costs associated with removal, storage or sale of said vehicle.
At the expiration of the thirty-day period, if the motor vehicle has not been removed or brought into compliance with this chapter, the vehicle shall be caused to be removed and stored by an authorized agent of the Chief of Police. Within 48 hours of the time that a motor vehicle is taken into custody and stored pursuant to this subsection, the Police Department shall give written notice by certified mail to the owner of such motor vehicle, if known, which notice shall state that the motor vehicle has been taken into custody and stored, the location of storage of the motor vehicle, and that such motor vehicle may be sold and/or destroyed after 15 days if the market value of such motor vehicle does not exceed $500 or after 90 days if the value of such motor vehicle exceeds $500. The owner of the motor vehicle shall also be informed of the right to pay all associated costs, and thereby retrieve the motor vehicle, and of the right to appeal the sale of the motor vehicle to the hearing officer, utilizing the procedure set forth in Subsection C above.
The following shall be exempted from proceedings under this section:
Any and all motor vehicles owned by the City of Meriden.
Motor vehicles being held, retained, repaired or offered for sale, lease or rental by a licensed car dealer, licensed auto body shop, licensed repair garage and facilities, or licensed junkyards.
Motor vehicles that would otherwise fall within the provisions of this chapter but are kept in a wholly enclosed garage.
A limit of one motor vehicle that is owned by the owner and occupant of the property that would otherwise fall within the provisions of this chapter but is kept under a secured cover manufactured, marketed and sold specifically and solely as an automobile cover and is stored in the rear of the property, if possible.
A limit of one motor vehicle at any one time, and not more than three motor vehicles in a span of 12 months, that would otherwise fall within the provisions of this chapter, to be offered for sale by the owner. Said motor vehicle shall be on the premises and offered for sale for 30 days at which time it shall be removed. If the same motor vehicle is again offered for sale on the premises after the 30 days or after its removal, said motor vehicle shall constitute an additional motor vehicle.
When a sworn City of Meriden police officer discovers a motor vehicle on public property, including any City or state road, which appears abandoned, or is without proper registration, said officer shall follow the procedures set forth in Connecticut General Statutes § 14-150(c), (d) and (e), as amended, in order to properly dispose of said motor vehicle.
A fee of $0 shall be charged for the towing of each motor vehicle towed pursuant to this chapter. The fee will be adjusted in the future should there be a cost for the service provided by the vendor.