City of New Castle, DE
New Castle County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of New Castle 5-9-2000 by Ord. No. 392. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 225.
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. 
Displaying expired registration plates, at least 30 days expired.
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 City of New Castle for a period in excess of 24 hours without being removed. Vehicles otherwise meeting this definition of an abandoned vehicle and which are stored in a garage or fully enclosed structure shall not be considered an abandoned vehicle for the purpose of this chapter.
GARAGE
A shelter or repair shop for automotive vehicles.
HARDSHIP
Something that causes or entails suffering or privation through no fault of the affected 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 or access lines, including shoulders and median strip.
[Amended 6-8-2010 by Ord. No. 472]
A. 
This chapter shall be enforced by the New Castle City Police Department and/or the New Castle City Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
The City official handling enforcement shall post a notice on an abandoned vehicle (as defined in § 226-1), 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 New Castle City Police Department and will be subject to disposal in accordance with law. Such notice shall also be set forth verbatim § 4410 of Title 21 of the Delaware Code.
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 New Castle City Police Department and/or the New Castle City Code Enforcement Officer by the property owner or occupant, the vehicle may be removed by the City official handling enforcement in the manner provided in the chapter, except that the posting of the notice required by § 226-2B 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 City official handling enforcement will follow this procedure:
(1) 
Request and verify ownership of the abandoned vehicles from the property owner, and the City official handling enforcement may enter upon the property where such vehicle is located to ascertain its ownership.
(2) 
Notify the owner of the abandoned vehicle by certified mail to the last known address of the 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 City official handling enforcement may post at some conspicuous place on the vehicle as stated in § 226-2B.
(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 City Administrator.
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 the New Castle City Police Department and/or the City Code Enforcement Officer by a property owner, occupant or other person with a right-of-passage across the right-of-way, the City official handling enforcement may proceed with the removal of the abandoned or parked vehicle as stated in § 226-2B, except that the posting required may be omitted.
[Amended 6-8-2010 by Ord. No. 472]
The New Castle City Police Department or any police officer or the City Code Enforcement 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/she complies with § 1206 of Title 17 of the Delaware Code, relating to the screening of junkyards.
Any resident of the City of New Castle will be permitted to store one vehicle on their property that by definition would be considered an abandoned vehicle by this chapter, provided that they comply 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 vehicle.
(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 City Administrator stating in writing:
(1) 
The name and address of the vehicle owner.
(2) 
A description of the vehicle and a copy of vehicle registration.
(3) 
The exact storage location of the vehicle on the property.
(4) 
The reason the vehicle is to be stored.
(5) 
The requested length of time the vehicle will be stored.
(6) 
The applicant must provide a written list of all property owners within 100 feet of the applicant's property where the vehicle will be stored.
(7) 
Any other information deemed necessary by the City Administrator or the New Castle Police Department.
C. 
Processing. The City Administrator will review the application with the New Castle Police Department and send notice of the request to all property owners within 100 feet of the property where the vehicle is being stored. The applicant will be notified by mail if the request is denied.
D. 
Approval of a permit.
(1) 
When the application is approved, the City Administrator will issue a permit for storage of a vehicle on private property that will state the following:
(a) 
The name and address of the vehicle owner.
(b) 
A description of the vehicle.
(c) 
The exact storage location of the vehicle on the property.
(d) 
The permit expiration date.
(e) 
Any other conditions or information deemed necessary by the City Administrator and the New Castle Police Department.
(f) 
Copies of the permit will be given to the applicant.
E. 
Length of time for the permit. The City Administrator shall determine for how long the permit shall be issued; 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 City Administrator, the conditions are not met as stated on the permit. When the permit expires, an applicant must reapply for another permit as stated in § 226-5E of this chapter, if allowable.
G. 
Cost of permit. Vehicle storage permits require payment of a monthly fee to the City of New Castle, and must be obtained prior to a permit being issued. The cost of the permit shall be set from time to time by resolution of the City Council and is nonrefundable. This permit fee may be abated or reduced at the discretion of the City Administrator in cases of documented financial hardship.
[Amended 8-11-2009 by Ord. No. 465]
[Amended 6-8-2010 by Ord. No. 472]
In the event that a motor vehicle is left unattended upon a roadway, highway or private property within the corporate limits of the City of New Castle and is determined to be a safety hazard by the New Castle City Police Department and/or the City Code Enforcement 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.
Any person who willfully or voluntarily abandons a vehicle within the corporate limits of the City of New Castle upon the private property of another without his/her consent, and any person who, being the owner of an abandoned vehicle, willfully fails to remove it pursuant to this chapter shall be fined no less than $50 or more than $100.
Before the owner or his/her 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 the towing or impounding vendor for all fees and costs associated with the towing of such vehicle.
B. 
The owner shall provide the New Castle Police Department with proof of valid registration and insurance for 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 City of New Castle 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 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.
[Added 7-8-2014 by Ord. No. 497]
A. 
The New Castle City Code Enforcement Officer and the New Castle City Police Department shall have the right and option, whenever a motor vehicle is lawfully towed, seized, impounded or otherwise detained, whether pursuant to this chapter, for evidence in an ongoing criminal investigation or otherwise, to elect to store such vehicle on City-owned property rather than at a privately owned storage area.
B. 
Vehicles impounded and stored on City-owned property pursuant to this section shall be subject to storage fees of $100 per day, including partial days, or such other fee as may be later imposed by City Council via resolution, which fee shall be paid by the owner or lessee of the vehicle in question before the impounded vehicle is released.
C. 
All other sections of this chapter, including but not limited to § 226-3 providing immunity to the New Castle City Police Department, police officers, the City Code Enforcement Officer and persons towing vehicles, shall apply with respect to vehicles stored on City-owned property pursuant to this section.