[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wallkill 10-24-1985 by L.L. No. 5-1985. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The need for this legislation is indicated by the ever-increasing number of abandoned cars in the Town of Wallkill. The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the disposition of said vehicles and to control the aforesaid problem.
It shall be unlawful for any person, his agent or employee to abandon or to suffer, permit or cause to be left any motor vehicle, whether or not owned by him, upon any public street or in any public place or on private property not owned by him or on his own property in violation of the provisions of this chapter or any other local law of the Town of Wallkill.
This chapter shall not prohibit a person from keeping one unregistered motor vehicle on his own property under the following conditions:
[Amended 4-28-2011 by L.L. No. 5-2011]
The property owner must fill out an unregistered vehicle application form and submit same to the Town Building Inspector. The application form shall contain the following information:
Property owner’s name and address;
Name of title owner of vehicle;
Relationship of property owner to vehicle owner;
Make, year, model and color of vehicle;
Reason for maintaining unregistered vehicle on property. Examples of acceptable reasons shall include, but not be limited to: vehicle owner/operator being ill; actively engaged in military service; attending an educational institution; or unable to insure the vehicle for financial reasons.
The Building Inspector shall either approve or deny the application, subject to appeal to the Town Board should an applicant be aggrieved by the Building Inspector’s decision. Any approval granted by either the Building Inspector or the Town Board, as applicable, shall be for a period of one year. At the expiration of said period, a new application must be submitted to the Building Inspector or the unregistered vehicle removed from the property.
A motor vehicle shall be deemed to be abandoned if it is present:
With no number plates affixed thereto or in an inoperable condition for more than six hours on any highway or in any other public place.
Whether licensed or not, for more than 24 hours on any highway or in any other public place, except a portion of a highway or public place on which parking is legally permitted.
For more than 48 hours, after the parking of such vehicle shall have become illegal, on a portion of a highway or public place on which parking is legally permitted.
For more than seven days on property of another without permission of the owner.
On private lands not duly licensed as a junkyard or occupied by a garage, repair shop or other facility in accordance with the Zoning Law of the Town of Wallkill, whether said vehicle is owned by the owner of said lands or is there with the knowledge and consent of the owner of said lands, if it:
Is not currently registered to be operated on the public highways of the State of New York, provided that a registration is required.
Is inoperable or has been substantially dismantled or has been permitted to deteriorate and has been permitted to continue in that state for a period of time long enough to raise the presumption that there is no intent to make it usable. A period of three months shall be deemed such a period.
Is being dismantled for the purpose of using its parts in the repair of other vehicles or otherwise disposing of the same.
The existence of any two or more of the foregoing conditions shall raise a presumption of abandonment.
Nothing herein contained is intended to prevent the storing of any such vehicle in a wholly enclosed area, completely hidden from view from any street or public place or from adjoining or other private property, provided that the vehicle is otherwise lawfully on the premises.
If an abandoned vehicle, as hereinbefore defined, at the time of abandonment has no number plates affixed and is of a value of $400 or less, title shall immediately vest in said town. The aforesaid value shall be determined by any duly authorized agent or employee of the town.
For vehicles having a value of over $400, the Police Department of the Town of Wallkill shall make an inquiry concerning the last registered owner of such vehicle with the jurisdiction which issued the plates thereon or with the Department of Motor Vehicles where no plates were affixed.
Such Police Department shall notify the last owner, if any, that the vehicle in question has been recovered as an abandoned vehicle and that, if unclaimed, it will be sold at public auction after 10 days from the date such notice was mailed. If the agency described in Subsection A also notifies such local authority that a lien or mortgage exists, such notice shall also be sent to the lien holder or mortgagee. Any person claiming such vehicle shall be required to pay the costs of removal and storage of such vehicle and fine prescribed by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York or by the Town of Wallkill Code.
Title to such abandoned vehicles, if unclaimed, shall vest in the Town of Wallkill 10 days from the date such notice is mailed or, if the last registered owner cannot be ascertained, when notice of such fact is received.
The town shall determine if an abandoned vehicle is suitable for operation on the public highways. If so, the vehicle shall be sold at public auction to the highest bidder or converted to the town's use in accordance with § 1224 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
If the town determines that an abandoned vehicle is not suitable for operation on the public highways, it may sell the vehicle privately as it deems fit.
Any proceeds from the sale of an abandoned vehicle, less any expenses incurred by the Town of Wallkill, shall be held by the town without interest for the benefit of the owner of such vehicle for a period of six months. If not claimed within such six-month period, such proceeds shall be paid into the general fund of the town.
The last registered owner of an abandoned vehicle shall be presumed to be the owner and liable to the Town of Wallkill for the costs of removal and storage of such vehicle, unless he shall present proof of present ownership in another person.
This chapter shall be enforced by the Building Inspector and the Town of Wallkill Police Department. The Building Inspector is hereby authorized to issue and serve an appearance ticket with respect to a violation of this chapter.
Each and every violation of this chapter shall constitute a violation and shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $100.
In addition to the above-named penalty, the Town Board of the Town of Wallkill may maintain an action or proceeding in the name of the town, in a court of competent jurisdiction, to compel compliance with or to restrain by injunction the violation of this chapter and to collect any other incurred storage, towing or other costs.