Town of Elsmere, DE
New Castle County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Elsmere 1-12-1993 by Ord. No. 290. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 215.
Off-highway vehicles — See Ch. 219.
As used in this chapter the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED VEHICLE
Any vehicle which is either:
A. 
Inoperable.
B. 
Dismantled.
C. 
Wrecked.
D. 
Not displaying a valid license/registration plate, not displaying an inspection sticker or is displaying an inspection sticker which has been expired for more than 30 calendar days.
[Amended 5-14-2015 by Ord. No. 594]
E. 
Missing major components:
(1) 
Engine.
(2) 
Transmission.
(3) 
Tires.
(4) 
Any exterior lights.
(5) 
Any body panels (i.e., hood, doors, fenders, etc.).
F. 
Inoperable in the manner for which it is designed.
G. 
Situated on private property or has been placed upon any state or public highway or roadway within the corporate limits of the Town of Elsmere for a period in excess of 24 hours without being removed. Vehicles otherwise meeting this definition of an abandoned vehicle and are stored in a garage or fully enclosed structure shall not be considered an abandoned vehicle for the purpose of this chapter.
H. 
Any vehicle which has been parked upon a public roadway without moving for a period of 10 business days after notice has been properly posted upon the vehicle by the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer, in accordance with § 211-2B of this chapter.
[Added 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354]
I. 
A vehicle shall have been removed from a public roadway for the purpose of this chapter when it has been:
[Added 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354; amended 6-11-2009 by Ord. No. 507]
(1) 
Moved outside of the corporate limits of the Town of Elsmere; or
(2) 
Brought into compliance with this chapter; or
(3) 
Moved to a licensed repair shop.
GARAGE
A shelter or repair shop for automotive vehicles.
HARDSHIP
Something that causes or entails suffering or privation through no fault of the effected party.
SERVICE STATION
A retail station for servicing motor vehicles, especially with gasoline and oil.
STATE HIGHWAY, PUBLIC HIGHWAY or ROADWAY
Any portion of the highway or roadway located within the right-of-way lines or, in the case of limited-access highway, the denial of access lines, including shoulders and median strip.
[Amended 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354]
A. 
This chapter shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer of the Town of Elsmere.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer shall post a notice on an abandoned vehicle (as defined in § 211-1), in a conspicuous place on the vehicle, which states that the vehicle be removed by a stated date and time (the date and time will not be less than 24 hours following the posting of the notice). If the vehicle is not removed within the time period designated by the notice, the abandoned vehicle shall be removed by a towing service to a storage area designated by the Department of Public Safety and will be subject to disposal in accordance with law. Such notice shall also set forth verbatim § 4403 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code.
[Amended 9-18-2003 by Ord. No. 420]
C. 
In the event that a vehicle is abandoned on private property without the consent of the owner or occupant and a complaint is filed with the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer by the property owner or occupant, the vehicle may be removed by the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer in the manner provided in this chapter, except that the posting of a notice required in § 211-2B may be omitted.
D. 
In the event that a vehicle is abandoned on private property, private right-of-way, alleyway or easement with the consent of, or is owned by, the owner or occupant of the private property, private right-of-way, alleyway or easement where the vehicle is located, the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer will follow this procedure:
(1) 
Request and verify ownership of the abandoned vehicle from the property owner.
(2) 
Notify the owner of the abandoned vehicle by certified mail to the last known address of owner, or by personal notice that the vehicle must be removed within five days from the date of mailing or notice.
(3) 
If the owner cannot be located or the vehicle is not removed within five days of notice, the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer may post a notice at some conspicuous place on the vehicle as stated in § 211-2B.
(4) 
This subsection shall not apply to automobile graveyards as defined in § 1202(b)(2) of Title 17 of the Delaware Code, nor to any vehicle for which a permit has been issued by the Town Manager.
E. 
In the event that a vehicle is abandoned or parked within a private right-of-way, alleyway or easement in such a manner as to impede the flow of traffic or cause a safety hazard, and/or a complaint is filed with Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer by a property owner, occupant or other person within a right-of-passage across the right-of-way, the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer may proceed with the removal of the abandoned or parked vehicle as stated in § 211-2B, except that the posting required may be omitted.
F. 
Any person having his or her vehicle posted as abandoned by any police officer or the Code Enforcement Officer for a violation of § 211-1H of this Code shall have an opportunity to provide proof that the vehicle is operational.
[Added 3-26-1998 by Ord. No 354]
(1) 
The owner of a vehicle, which has received such notice, shall adhere to the following procedure:
(a) 
The owner must contact the officer posting such notice upon his or her vehicle within 10 business days of the posting and request to meet with the officer.
(b) 
When the officer and the owner meet, the owner must be able to start the vehicle and prove to the officer's satisfaction that the vehicle is operational.
(2) 
If the officer agrees that the vehicle is operational, the notice of intent to tow shall be voided by the officer and the complaint shall be cleared and a report concerning the officer's actions shall be written.
The Code Enforcement Officer, any police officer or their agent, or any person towing or storing a vehicle shall not be liable for criminal prosecution or responsible for any personal injury, loss or destruction of any real or personal property which occurs in the course of the removal or storage of any vehicle taken into custody under this chapter.
Any vehicle left in the possession of a garage or service station for the purpose of being repaired shall not be considered as an abandoned vehicle under this chapter. No garage or service station owner shall maintain more than five such vehicles within a thirty-day period, which can be extended due to hardship, unless he complies with § 1206 of Title 17 of the Delaware Code, relating to the screening of junkyards.
Any resident of the Town of Elsmere will be permitted to store one vehicle on his or her property that by definition would be considered an abandoned vehicle by this chapter, provided he or she complies with the requirements of this section:
A. 
Eligibility. A resident is eligible to apply for a permit to store a vehicle on private property should any of the following criteria be met:
(1) 
The vehicle is a "classic" or "historic" car defined as being:
(a) 
A vehicle manufactured 20 or more years ago.
(b) 
A vehicle eligible for membership in a national organization sponsoring preservation of unique vehicles.
(2) 
The vehicle is currently undergoing repairs or renovations that are anticipated to bring the vehicle to a condition sufficient to remove it from the "abandoned vehicle" definition within a period of 30 days or less.
(3) 
Cases of documented and severe hardship.
B. 
Applications. A letter requesting a vehicle storage permit must be submitted to the Town Manager, 11 Poplar Avenue, stating, in writing:
(1) 
The name and address of vehicle owner.
(2) 
A description of the vehicle and copy of vehicle registration.
(3) 
The exact storage location of the vehicle on the property.
(4) 
The reason vehicle is to be stored.
(5) 
The requested length of time the vehicle will be stored.
(6) 
Any other information deemed necessary by the Town Manager or Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer.
[Amended 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354]
C. 
Processing. The Town Manager will review the application with the Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer, the Police Chief and send notice of the request to all property owners within 200 feet of the property where the vehicle is being stored. The applicant will be notified by mail if the request is denied.
[Amended 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354]
D. 
Approval of a permit. When the application is approved, the Town Manager will issue a permit for storage of a vehicle on private property that will state the following:
(1) 
The name and address of vehicle owner.
(2) 
A description of vehicle.
(3) 
The exact storage location of the vehicle on the property.
(4) 
The permit expiration date.
(5) 
Any other conditions or information deemed necessary by the Town Manager or Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer.
[Amended 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354]
(6) 
Copies of the permit will be given to the applicant, Code Enforcement Officer or a police officer, Chief of Police and the Town Manager's office.
[Amended 3-26-1998 by Ord. No. 354]
E. 
Length of time for the permit. The Town Manger shall determine how long the permit shall be issued for; however, the following rules shall apply:
(1) 
No permit for an "historic" or "classic" vehicle shall be issued for a period of longer than one year. These permits shall be renewable one time upon reapplication.
(2) 
No permit for a vehicle undergoing repairs or renovations shall be issued for a period to exceed 30 days. These permits shall not be renewable.
(3) 
No permit based on hardship shall be issued for a period to exceed one year. These permits are not renewable.
F. 
Expiration of permit. A permit will expire as of the date marked on the permit and/or may be revoked at any time if, in the opinion of the Town Manager, the conditions are not met as stated on the permit. When the permit expires, an applicant must reapply for another permit as stated in § 211-5E of this chapter, if allowable.
G. 
Cost of permit. Vehicle storage permits will cost $50 a month and shall be paid to the Town of Elsmere before the permit is issued. The cost of the permit is not refundable. This permit fee may be abated or reduced at the discretion of the Town Manager in cases of documented financial hardship.
[Amended 9-18-2003 by Ord. No. 420]
In the event a motor vehicle is left unattended upon a roadway, highway or private property within the corporate limits of the Town of Elsmere and is determined to be a safety hazard by the Code Enforcement Officer or any police officer, an attempt shall be made to contact the owner or occupant of the vehicle. If the owner or occupant cannot be reached within 30 minutes and/or the owner or occupant refuses to move the vehicle or make it safe, the vehicle shall be removed and impounded immediately.
[Amended 6-20-2002 by Ord. No. 404; 9-10-2015 by Ord. No. 600]
Any person that willfully or voluntarily abandons a vehicle within the corporate limits of the Town of Elsmere, upon the private property of another without his consent, shall be fined no less than $100 nor more than $200.
Before the owner or his agent (hereafter, "owner") shall be permitted to remove a vehicle which has been impounded in accordance with this chapter, the following steps shall be taken:
A. 
The owner shall pay to the Town of Elsmere and/or the appropriate court any and all fines owed for the violations for which the vehicle was towed as well as any other fines for any other parking violations which the vehicle owner may owe.
B. 
The owner shall provide the Elsmere Bureau of Police with proof of ownership of the vehicle.
C. 
The owner will then be issued a vehicle release form.
D. 
The owner will then present the impound yard with the official release form. The owner will then pay to the impound operator all towing and storage charges due.
E. 
The impound yard owner shall then release the vehicle to the owner.
If any vehicle is found within the corporate limits of the Town of Elsmere to be in violation of this chapter and is unattended at the time the violation is discovered and the identity of the operator is not apparent, the person in whose name such vehicle is registered as the owner shall be held prima facie responsible for such violation.
In the event that the fine on or the violations for which the vehicle was towed is paid under protest, the offender shall be entitled to a hearing before a Justice of the Peace Court.