Towing the line

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The City of Selma will soon begin strictly enforcing the ordinance prohibiting unused, broken down vehicles on private property. Owners could find themselves paying hefty fines if they do not have the vehicles removed, according to Code Enforcement Officer Henry Hicks.

This week the city is preparing to crack down on the number of junk cars left on private property, claiming the vehicles are an eyesore and a health concern.

“We are going to start going after violators of different city codes,” Hicks said. “Captain Greg Lewellen of the Selma Fire Department has the authority to go into private property and have these vehicles towed. To avoid paying a fine and going to court, people need to get rid of these vehicles before we come in.”

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Hicks said unused vehicles could be dangerous and tend to attract mosquitoes, rodents and snakes.

“The rodents and snakes may not go into your house, but they will go into your neighbor’s home,” Hicks said. “Then we will start getting complaints.”

The ordinance enforcement will affect all the city wards and officials will be traveling through neighborhoods to ensure residents are obeying the law.

“This is a friendly warning,” Hicks said. “If we have to come to the residents, then they will have to go to court.”

The city will be posting a notice this week explaining the details of the ordinance and how long residents have to remove the vehicles without facing penalties.

“According to Ordinance 0112-03, Sect. 1-8, it is illegal in Selma to have a vehicle on private property that is on blocks, does not have a current tag, does not have insurance, and is not operational,” Hicks said. “Some people think they can put a cover on the vehicle and it will be okay. The ordinance does not state that. It has to be under a shed or in a garage.”

Hicks said certain wrecker companies could be contacted to tow a vehicle off private property at no expense to the owner.

The names of these companies can be obtained by contacting Hicks at 874-2106 or Lewellen at 874-2150.

“We want residents to do this own their own instead of going through the procedures that make it costly,” Hicks said.