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Madison council seeks to close loop holes in car law

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By Tia Lynn Lecorchick managing editor

The Madison City Council discussed revising the Junk Vehicle Ordinance to close existing loopholes and create a smoother appeal process for those challenging junk vehicle citations. “We always try to work with people, so ideally there are no citations written,” began City Manager David Nunn. “But I have charged the police department to revise our Junk Vehicles Ordinance to fix some of the loopholes. A vehicle needs to be in running condition and legally tagged. We want the ordinance to be clearer on that: that the car must be running, operating, and legal.” Nunn also wants the ordinance to redirect citizens’ challenging a junk vehicle citation to the city court as opposed to the current setup, where citizens appear before the city council to hear a junk vehicle appeal. The way the ordinance is currently written, any appeal to Nunn’s designation of a junk car goes directly before the city council. Nunn wants to redirect those appeals to the city court. “I think the city court makes more sense to handle these cases, instead of you all,” said Nunn. Chris Hodges, city council member, inquired about what would happen to citizens who possibly cannot afford to move these junk vehicles off their properties. Nunn pointed out that most of the junk vehicles can be removed for free and that sometimes, junkyards pay the owners to take the car away. Nunn said the real problem usually comes down to attachment. “People have a sentimental attachment to vehicles,” said Nunn, pointing out that sometimes these old broken vehicles belonged to family members and people hope to fix up the car one day. Nunn also left room for “out of sight” junk vehicles kept in an enclosed garage or behind a fence in the rear of a yard. However, Nunn wanted to be cautious not to create a policy that would affirm the hoarding of junk vehicles just because they are out of sight. “We will try to work with people. Most of the time, that’s the way it’s done. It just needs to be a cleaner process,” said Nunn. “And it’ll be forth coming.” The city council agreed to Nunn’s recommendations and put the Junk Vehicle Ordinance revision on the consent agenda for the next City Council Meeting on Oct. 13 at 5:30 p.m.

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