[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Bethany 11-17-1988. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby found and declared that abandoned, inoperable and unregistered vehicles upon property within the Town of Bethany are detrimental to the public safety, health and welfare; that they constitute a nuisance and particularly imperil the health and safety of children, constitute a potential source of fire and explosion, are and may become harborages of rodents and breeding places of insects and threaten and depreciate neighboring properties; that the preservation of public health, the elimination of such public peril and the general protection of property and maintenance of property values are proper concerns of the town; and that enactment of this chapter is necessary for the protection and preservation of the public health and safety and property and property values.
When used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- ABANDONED, INOPERABLE AND UNREGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLE
- A motor vehicle which is in such a state that it is rusted, wrecked, discarded or dismantled or is no longer intended for or in condition for legal use on the public highways.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Zoning Enforcement Officer, or his designated agent or deputy.
- INOPERABLE MOTOR VEHICLE
- A motor vehicle which is in such condition that it cannot be safely operated on the roads, such as not being in compliance with C.G.S. § 14-80.
- Any person who has apparent charge, care, control, possession or occupancy of land.
- Any person who:
- UNREGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLE
- A motor vehicle which does not have a valid motor vehicle registration for operation on public roads.
No owner of any parcel of land, wholly or partly within the town, shall deposit, or cause or permit to be deposited, or retain, or cause or permit to be retained, more than one abandoned, inoperable or unregistered motor vehicle on such land, except in a completely enclosed and secured area, concealed from public view.
Subsection A of this section shall not apply to any land actually operated and occupied for the sale, repair, reconditioning or remodeling of or use of motor vehicles for commercial purposes when operated in conformance with zoning regulations of the town and applicable general statutes of the state.
The storage or keeping of an unused, unutilized motor vehicle which is not the subject of repair, restoration or parts use is prohibited under any circumstances.
On information or complaint of any violation of § 190-3A of this chapter, the enforcement officer shall personally inspect the site of the alleged abandoned, inoperable and unregistered motor vehicles and make a specific finding as to whether the motor vehicle in question is in fact in violation of such section.
Upon making a finding that a motor vehicle is in violation of § 190-3A of this chapter, the enforcement officer shall cause to be served a written notice, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, on the owner of the land on which such violation is found or complained of setting forth the violation and ordering its correction.
Notice shall also be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the town. In addition to the notice provided for above, the enforcement officer shall also post a notice on the offending vehicle or property.
Any recipient of a written notice of violation served by the enforcement officer pursuant to this chapter, who wishes to contest the finding of the enforcement officer that the recipient is in violation of § 190-3A of this chapter, may request a hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission. A request for such a hearing must be served upon the enforcement officer, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, within 15 days of the receipt of the notice of violation by the recipient. The enforcement officer shall then inform the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission that a hearing has been requested and ask that a date for this hearing be set and that the hearing date shall be set at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission within 45 days. Request for such a hearing will automatically stay the effect of the notice of violation and order to correct issued by the enforcement officer until such time as the Planning and Zoning Commission has made a final decision based on its hearing.
If a hearing is requested pursuant to § 190-6 of this chapter, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall review the findings of the enforcement officer that a violation exists, shall hear evidence from all concerned parties as to the nature of the violation and shall make a final determination as to whether the motor vehicle in question is in fact abandoned, inoperable and unregistered as defined by this chapter and as to whether the enforcement officer's order to correct such violation is reasonable under the circumstances.
The decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission, after conducting its public hearing, will be final. The Planning and Zoning Commission may uphold the findings and order of the enforcement officer, may amend the findings and order in whole or in part or may overturn the findings and order completely. In its decision, the Planning and Zoning Commission shall specify the action to be taken by the property owner and the time in which the property owner must take such action. The final decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission shall be served upon the property owner, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, within 15 days of its decision, and notice of the decision shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the town. Appeal from the decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission to the courts of the state shall be in accord with the state's statutes governing appeals of municipal boards and commissions.
Upon the failure of any property owner to comply with the provisions of this chapter or upon the failure of any property owner to comply with the final decision of the Planning and Zoning Commission, the enforcement officer and/or his agent may enter upon such land and cause to be removed such abandoned, inoperable and unregistered vehicle. All fines, costs and expenses incurred shall be the responsibility of the property owner.
The owner of property upon which any vehicle found to be in violation of § 190-3A of this chapter is located, where said vehicle has not been removed within 30 days of receipt of notice of violation, shall be subject to a fine of $10 per day and shall be responsible for any costs associated with removal and disposal, including expenses on account of notification pursuant to this chapter regarding any such vehicle. The Town of Bethany shall have a lien upon the property of any person for the total amount of fines, charges and expenses on account of notification regarding and/or removal and disposal of any abandoned, inoperable and unregistered vehicles from such property where fines, charges and expenses remain unpaid for more than 30 days after notice thereof. Said fines, charges and expenses may be collected in the manner provided by law for the collection of delinquent taxes.