[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Avalon as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Removal of Junked and Abandoned Vehicles
Article II Storage of Junked and Abandoned Vehicles
[Adopted 8-17-1977 by Ord. No. 1109]
[Amended 8-17-1993 by Ord. No. 1207]
The purpose of this article is to protect the health, safety, morals and welfare of the citizens of the Borough by causing the removal of abandoned, illegally parked, stored, wrecked, junked and stripped vehicles from both public and private property and to abate public nuisance caused by the storage of, parking of and accumulation of such vehicles which are detrimental to the health, safety, morals and welfare of the citizens of the Borough and which constitute a peril to highway and traffic safety.
"Vehicle" is defined to include any automobile, truck, truck camper, trailer, boat, bus, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, motorized pedalcycle, and any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.
Authority to impound vehicles. Employees of the Police Department, assisted by private towing service operators, are hereby authorized to remove a vehicle, boat and/or boat carrier from a street or highway to the lot designated or maintained by the Borough when such vehicle is parked on any of the streets, highways, alleys or public property of the Borough in violation of any provisions of law or of any ordinance of the Borough, provided no vehicle shall be removed or impounded except in strict adherence to the following subsections of this section.
Approved storage lot. The Borough Council shall designate one lot as approved storage lot for the storage of impounded vehicles, said lot to be located on New Brighton Road, Avalon, Pennsylvania, and designated as "Avalon Borough Pound."
Storage lot to post bond. The Borough shall post a bond in the amount of $10,000, to be filed with the Borough Secretary-Manager for the indemnification of the owner of any such impounded vehicle against the loss thereof or injury or damages thereto while in the custody of said designated storage lot in the Borough.
Towing and storage charges fixed.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
The following are hereby fixed and established as the charges that shall be made for the towing and storage of any vehicle removed and impounded under the authority of this article:
Towed by an Avalon Borough contracted towing company. All towing fees, service charges, daily storage fees, miscellaneous fees are set by towing company.
All accumulated charges shall be paid in cash and a proper receipt issued, before any towed or impounded vehicle is released. Proof of ownership of vehicle shall be required in addition to payment.
All accumulated charges shall be paid in cash and a proper receipt issued, before any towed or impounded vehicle is released. Proof of ownership of vehicle shall be required in addition to payment.
Notice of intended removal and impounding. In any case where the violation is not causing immediate harm, and in the discretion of the Police Department, the Police Department shall give five days' notice of the intended removal and impounding, either by certified mail or by affixing a notice to the vehicle if it has no identifiable license plate.
Police to notify owners of impounded vehicles. Within 12 hours from the time of removal of any vehicle under authority granted by this section, notice of the fact that such vehicle has been impounded shall be sent by the Police Department to the owner of record of such vehicle. Such notice shall designate the place from which said vehicle was removed, the reason for its removal and impounding, and the lot in which it shall have been impounded.
Effect of payment of towing and impounding charges without protest. The payment of any towing and impounding charges authorized by this article shall, unless such payment shall have been made "under protest," be final and conclusive, and shall constitute a waiver of any right to recover the money so paid.
Effect of payment of charges under protest. In the event that any towing and impounding charges so imposed shall be paid "under protest," the offender shall be entitled to a hearing before a Magisterial District Judge or court of record having jurisdiction, in which case such defendant shall be proceeded against and shall receive such notice as is provided by the Vehicle Code in other cases of summary offenses, and shall have the same rights as to appeal and waiver of hearing.
Records of vehicles removed and impounded. The Police Department shall keep a record of all vehicles impounded and shall be able at all times to furnish the owners or agents of the owners thereof with information as to the place of storage of such vehicles.
Owner or operator of vehicle remains liable for fine or penalty. The payment of towing and storage charges shall not operate to relieve the owner or operator of any vehicle from liability for any fine or penalty for the violation of any law or ordinance on account of which said vehicle was removed and impounded.
Restrictions upon removal of vehicles. No vehicle shall be removed under the authority of this article if, at the time of the intended removal thereof, the owner or person for the time being in charge of such vehicle is present and expresses a willingness and intention to remove such vehicle immediately.
[Amended 8-17-1993 by Ord. No. 1207]
"Abandoned vehicle" is defined as follows:
The vehicle is physically inoperable and is left unattended on private property for more than 48 hours; and/or
The vehicle does not bear all of the following:
It shall be unlawful to park, store or leave any vehicle of any kind in a wrecked, junked, stripped or abandoned condition, or any vehicle whether occupied or not, in a place where its presence constitutes a hazard on private property, or for the owner of such vehicle, or the owner or occupant of any property to allow, permit or suffer the same to be left upon any privately owned property unless the same be authorized in conjunction with a business properly operated, pursuant to the zoning laws, when adopted, and other laws of the Borough. Such business, however, shall not park, store or leave any kind of wrecked, junked, stripped or abandoned vehicle on any street, highway, alley or public property without being subject to the provisions of § 390-2 of this article.
Abandoned or junked conditions include vehicles with holes in the body or floorboards, broken glass, windshields and lights, flat tires or missing wheels, garbage, debris or litter inside, or the vehicle is up on blocks or jacks for a period of time in excess of 48 hours.
Notice to owners. If the Police Department or the Borough Secretary-Manager, or any of their authorized agents, find that a violation of this section exists, the Police Department or the Borough Secretary-Manager shall notify, by certified mail or by affixing a notice to the vehicle, the owner of the property on which the vehicle is stored or parked, or the owner of the vehicle, or both, of the violation and order either or both of the said owners to remove said vehicle or vehicles within five days thereof.
Method of notice. Notice shall be given by personal service or certified mail to the last known address of the violator. In the event that, on diligent search, the address of either the property owner or vehicle owner cannot be ascertained, the posting of the said notice or copies thereof, on the real property, vehicle, structure or area immediately adjacent thereto shall constitute sufficient notice.
Owner may request hearing. Within five days after notice, the party or parties affected may request a hearing by filing a written request with the Borough Secretary-Manager as to why the vehicle shall not be removed.
Failure to request hearing. If a hearing is not requested within the five-day period, the said notice shall become an order and the parties affected shall proceed to remove or have removed the vehicle or vehicles in question from the property in question in accordance with the notice and order.
Notice of hearing. On proper request, a hearing on the matter shall be given forthwith and, where more than one party is involved, it shall be the duty of the party requesting the said hearing to notify all other parties affected or interested of the time and place of the impending hearing. If the request is denied after hearing, the party or parties involved shall be given an additional 48 hours to arrange for its removal.
Failure to act; imposition of costs. If the violation complained of shall not have been remedied within the period as required by the order, the Borough of Avalon shall, through its own agents, contractors and/or employees, remedy the violations and charge the costs thereof to the real property owner on whose property the vehicles are located. Said costs shall, after a proper demand and refusal or a failure to pay after 30 days, constitute a lien on the said realty, which shall be filed by the Solicitor on receipt of all information.
Emergency powers. Nothing in this section shall prevent duly authorized police officials from removing from private property, without notice, any attended or unattended automobile or vehicle, the presence of which constitutes a hazard or threat to the life, health, safety, welfare and morals of the citizens of the Borough of Avalon and which is imminently dangerous and, in the opinion of the authorized police officials, constitutes a nuisance which gives rise to the existence of emergency conditions.
Applicability of § 390-2. The provisions of § 390-2, concerning the place of storage, towing and charges therefor, and the bonding provisions and the recording of any removal and impounding, shall be followed in any procedure under this section where the same do not conflict with any provisions of this section.
Before any salvors may be ordered to remove any abandoned vehicle, police officials must certify that they have complied with the notification requirements as set forth in this article and as required by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
If an impounded vehicle is unclaimed within seven days of notice to owner, as provided in § 390-2F, it shall be disposed of by the Borough of Avalon in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
[Amended 8-17-1993 by Ord. No. 1207; at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this article shall, upon being found liable therefor, pay a fine of not more than $600, plus court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings. If the penalty is not paid, the Borough shall initiate a civil action for collection in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense, and each section of this article that is violated shall also constitute a separate offense. In addition to or in lieu of enforcement under this section, the Borough may enforce this article in equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.
[Adopted 8-20-2002 by Ord. No. 1274]
This article shall be known as the "Avalon Borough Abandoned and Junked Vehicle Ordinance."
All ordinances or parts of ordinances are repealed insofar as they conflict with the provisions of this article; however, such repeal shall not affect any act done or any liability or violation accrued under any such prior ordinance herein repealed or superseded, and all such liabilities or violations shall continue and may be enforced in the same manner as if such repeal or supersession had not been made; and any offense or violation committed and any penalty or forfeiture incurred under any such ordinance herein repealed or superseded may be prosecuted in the same manner as if this article had not been approved.
In the construction of this article, the rules and definitions contained in this section shall be observed and applied, except when the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Words used in the singular shall include the plural, and the plural the singular.
Words used in the past or present tense shall include the future tense.
Words used in the masculine gender shall include the feminine and neuter.
The word "shall" is always mandatory and is not discretionary.
The word "may" is permissive.
The Borough intends to favor the public interest as against any private interest.
The headings prefixed to sections and other divisions of this article shall not be considered to control but may be used to aid in the construction thereof.
General words shall be construed to take their meanings and be restricted by preceding particular words.
For the purpose of this article, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:
- ABANDONED OR JUNKED VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle, boat (registered or abandoned), or parts
thereof, as defined in the Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is inoperable as defined herein, and which is stored
or kept outside of a fully enclosed building.[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
- The Borough of Avalon.
- DISMANTLED OR PARTIALLY DISMANTLED VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle or part thereof, as defined in the Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which has been rendered inoperable because a part or parts has or have been removed therefrom.
- As applied to motor vehicles under this chapter:
- A. A motor vehicle that does not have a current registration plate or a current inspection sticker; or
- B. A motor vehicle that does not have the required number of wheels or tires, does not have one or more of its doors or windows, does not have an engine or does not have a battery or lacks any part which is necessary to self-propel it.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- A vehicle which is self-propelled except one which is propelled solely by human power or by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails.
- OR PARTS THEREOF
- When used in the clause with "abandoned or junked vehicles" or "dismantled or partially dismantled vehicles," the term shall mean a component of a vehicle, including but not limited to bumpers, doors, fenders, tires, windows or windshields, motors, transmissions, axles or suspension frames, chassis, or any other component of a vehicle which is either wrecked, discarded, dismantled, partially dismantled or inoperative as well as including pieces or portions thereof.
- Includes both natural and artificial persons, associations, partnerships, firms or corporations. When used in the clause imposing a fine or imprisonment, the term "person" as applied to a partnership or association shall mean any member thereof, and as applied to a corporation shall mean the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer or other high managerial agent thereof. The term shall also include all owners of the property on which a violation occurs, including co-owners, a husband and wife, as well as joint owners. Both an owner and a tenant are jointly responsible for compliance with the terms of this article if the owner knowingly allows the premises to be used for a prohibited purpose.
- PRIVATE PROPERTY
- Real property which belongs to or is owned, controlled or used by any person, association, partnership, firm or corporation, whether owned or leased and not constituting public property. For purposes of this article, the term shall also include that portion of any public right-of-way adjacent to the property line which is not improved with a cartway for public travel.
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- Real property which is owned by a municipal or governmental entity, though not necessarily a place devoted solely to the uses of the public, but shall include any public street, private street, highway, road, alley, bridge, park, playground, vacant lot, stream, creek, public building or similar place within the Borough of Avalon which is open to the public or to which the public or a substantial group has access.
- A person engaged in the business of acquiring abandoned vehicles for the purpose of taking apart, recycling, selling, rebuilding or exchanging the vehicle or parts thereof.
- When used within this article, the use of any natural objects, plantings, embankments, fencing, walls or structures or a combination of any of these, which will effectively hide any junked or abandoned vehicle, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or parts thereof, so as not to be visible from the highway or abutting properties at all times of the year or by an occupant of a motor vehicle viewing from a height of 4 1/2 feet above the pavement.
- VALUELESS EXCEPT FOR SALVAGE
- A vehicle which is inoperable or unable to meet the vehicle equipment and inspection standards under Part IV (relating to vehicle characteristics) of the Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 4101 et seq., to the extent that the cost of repairs would exceed the value of the required vehicle. The term does not include a vehicle which would qualify as an antique or classic vehicle under the Vehicle Code except for its lack of restoration or maintenance. A vehicle which is inoperable or unable to meet the vehicle equipment and inspection standards of Part IV (relating to vehicle characteristics) to the extent that the cost of repairs would exceed the value of the required vehicle shall be presumed to be valueless except of salvage but the presumption is rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence.
- Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon rails or tracks. The term does not include a self-propelled wheel chair or an electrical mobility device operated by and designed for the exclusive use of a person with a mobility related disability.
- VEHICLE SALVAGE YARD
- Any land or structure which a salvor uses for a salvaging operation of two or more unlicensed, inoperative vehicles. Salvaging includes the storage and sale of vehicular parts or vehicles.
- VEHICULAR FLUIDS
- A substance or liquid used frequently in motor vehicles, such as gas, oil or antifreeze.
Editor's Note: See 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
A vehicle shall be presumed to be abandoned under any of the following circumstances, but the presumption is rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence:
The vehicle is physically inoperable and is left unattended on a highway or other public property for more than 48 hours.
The vehicle has remained illegally on a highway or other public property for a period of more than 48 hours.
The vehicle has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property for more than 48 hours.
Vehicles and equipment used or to be used in construction or in the operation or maintenance of highways or public utility facilities which are left in a manner which do not interfere with the normal movement of traffic shall not be considered to be abandoned.
It shall be unlawful for any person, owner or lessee to store, maintain, accumulate or keep any abandoned or junked vehicle, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or a vehicle valueless except for salvage, or parts thereof, in violation of this article and the same is hereby declared to be a nuisance and is prohibited.
No person shall keep, maintain or store and no person in charge of or in control of any premises or private property, whether as owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or otherwise, shall allow any abandoned or junked vehicle, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or wrecked, junked, discarded or otherwise inoperable motor vehicle, or a vehicle valueless except for salvage, or parts thereof, to remain outside an enclosed structure on public or private property in any residential district longer than 10 days.
No person shall keep, maintain or store any motor vehicle which is leaking any vehicular fluids outside an enclosed structure in any residential district.
Commercial and industrial districts.
No person shall keep, maintain or store and no person in charge of or in control of any premises or private property, whether as owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or otherwise, shall allow any abandoned or junked vehicle, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or wrecked, junked, discarded or otherwise inoperable motor vehicle, or a vehicle valueless except for salvage, or parts thereof, to remain on public or private property in a commercial or industrial district longer than 10 days unless screened so as not to be visible from the highway or abutting properties at all times of the year.
No person shall keep, maintain or store any motor vehicle which is leaking any vehicular fluids outside an enclosed structure in any commercial or industrial district.
An abandoned or junked vehicle, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or wrecked, junked, discarded or otherwise inoperable motor vehicle, or a vehicle valueless except for salvage, or parts thereof, held or stored upon the property of a salvor in a vehicle salvage yard or by a person engaged in the business of servicing, repairing, storing or disposing of such motor vehicles, in conformity with the Zoning Laws of the Borough of Avalon, shall not be a violation of this article if and only if:
Such business is in full compliance with the Act of June 17, 1976, P.L. 162, No. 81, § 1, et seq., as amended, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301 (relating to salvors) as well as Chapter 253 of the Pennsylvania Code, 67 Pa. Code § 253.1 et seq., which establishes rules governing the qualifications and duties of salvors.
Each year upon renewal, such business shall provide the Borough Building Inspector a valid copy of its license or certificate of authorization from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The certificate of authorization is displayed in its place of business.
All such vehicles or parts thereof in the salvage yard are screened so as not to be visible from the highway or abutting properties at all times of the year.
After a warning is issued or a citation filed, it shall be unlawful for any person to relocate an abandoned or junked vehicle, dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or a vehicle valueless except for salvage, or parts thereof, to another location in Avalon Borough unless in full compliance with this article.
The Borough Manager, or his or her designee, and Avalon Borough police officers are hereby authorized and directed to give notice, by personal service or United States mail, to the owner or occupant, as the case may be, of any premises or location where violations of this article exist, directing and requiring such owner or occupant to remove or eliminate such violation within 10 days after the issuance of the notice. If any person shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with such notice within the period stated therein, such person shall be subject to the penalties provided in this article for the violations hereof, and, in addition, the proper officers of the Borough may remove such violation of this article; and the costs thereof together with any additional payment authorized by law, may be collected by the Borough from such person in the manner provided by law and upon the neglect, failure or refusal to pay the costs of removal, the proper officers of the Borough may cause a lien to be filed against the property.
Covering or draping a tarpaulin, car cover or other covering over an abandoned or junked vehicle, a dismantled or partially dismantled vehicle, or a vehicle valueless except for salvage, or parts thereof, is not an abatement of a violation of this article and does not constitute compliance with § 390-14 of this article.
Any person who shall violate any section of this article or knowingly permit his or her property to be used in violation of any provision of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000 and costs of prosecution, per day for each and every offense, and, in default of payment of any fines or costs imposed, may be sentenced to a period of incarceration not exceeding 10 days in the Allegheny County Jail. Whenever such person shall have been notified that he or she is committing such a violation of this article, each day that he or she shall continue such violation after such notification shall constitute a separate offense punishable by a like fine or penalty.
If the Borough shall deem it necessary to abate a nuisance or nuisances under this article, nothing herein shall prevent the Borough of Avalon from instituting proceedings and seeking relief in the courts of equity to abate said nuisance or nuisances,
The provisions of this article shall be severable. If any provision, section, clause, sentence, phrase or word of this article is for any reason held unconstitutional, invalid or illegal by any court of competent jurisdiction, said holding shall not affect the validity of any other portion of this article. It is hereby declared as legislative intent that this article would have been enacted had such unconstitutional, invalid or illegal portion not been included. The Borough of Avalon does not intend to violate the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the Constitution of the United States of America.