Ordinance addresses abandoned vehicles, derby cars

Daily NewsA warning will be issued to owners of abandoned vehicles, and if not removed within 72 hours, the vehicle may be towed and impounded.

GREENSBURG — A new city ordinance is intended to address abandoned vehicles and derby cars.

Throughout the week, residents might have noticed stickers left on the front or rear windshield of vehicles that have been left stranded in parking lots or street side, warning that they will be towed if the vehicles aren’t moved.

Ordinance No. 2019-12 regulates the parking of unlicensed and inoperable vehicles within the city. The ordinance went into effect this week.

The ordinance defines the following as an abandoned vehicle “unless the context clearly indicated or requires a different meaning”:

• A vehicle located on public property illegally with or without current license plates.

• A vehicle left on public property continuously without being moved for three days.

• A vehicle that has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of that property for more than 48 hours.

• A vehicle from which there has been removed the engine, transmission, or differential or that is otherwise partially dismantled or inoperable and left on public property.

• A vehicle that has been removed by an authorized towing service upon request of an officer enforcing a statute or ordinance other than this chapter if the vehicle once impounded is not claimed or redeemed by the owner or his or her agent within 15 days of its removal.

• A vehicle that is three or more model years old; and/or mechanically inoperable; and/or unlicensed; and is left on private property continuously in a location visible from public property for more than 20 days.

Greensburg Police Chief Brendan Bridges spoke about why the ordinance is important for the city.

“It’s important in the fact that if they’re leaving them in public areas, they start to become a nuisance,” Bridges said. “If it’s on private property, the land owner can have it towed at the expense of the car owner.”

Just as the ordinance indicates, vehicles must be maintained and remain operable.

“The big thing we want people to understand is that if they have expired plates, it’s no longer an operable vehicle,” Bridges said. “You also have to have your tires aired up and things like that.”

The ordinance also references demolition derby cars, stating, “Vehicles in an operable condition specifically adapted or constructed for exclusive operation on privately owned raceways, or parts thereof, shall not be stored on private or public property unless stored inside a closed structure out of public view.”

However, derby cars that are scheduled to participate in the Decatur County Fair or any other special events at the Decatur County Fairgrounds are exempt from the provision for a three week period beginning seven days before the start of the fair or event. The exemption ends seven days following the event.

The ordinance also references “junk cars” and says it is unlawful for someone to park a motor vehicle without license plates or in an inoperable condition on private or public property unless stored inside a closed structure out of public view.

As for towing and storage charges, the ordinances says the maximum amount an authorized towing service may charge for towing and removal of a vehicle shall not exceed $75 unless special equipment is required. Also, the maximum amount that may be charged for storage shall not exceed $5 per day.

The owner, lessee, occupant of property where an abandoned vehicle or parts are removed, the police department, towing service, and automobile scrap yard will not be liable for loss or damages to vehicles or parts during removal, storage or disposition.

Contact: Joshua Heath, 812-663-3111 x7401; joshua.heath@greensburgdailynews.com.