JUNK AND ABANDONED VEHICLES
||Disposal of unclaimed impounded vehicles
||Proceeds from sale of abandoned junk vehicles and machinery.
||Notice of impounding.
JUNK AND ABANDONED VEHICLES – SEE W.VA CODE ART. 17-24
355.01 STORAGE PROHIBITED.
No person shall place, store or maintain upon any public street, public alley or public right of way of the City, or place, store or maintain in public view on private property which he owns or occupies, or upon any other private property within the City, any vehicle or machinery which is inoperative and which has been abandoned; or which is discarded, wrecked, ruined, scrapped or dismantled, or which cannot pass State inspection required by W.Va. Code 17C-16-1 et seq. and is either not serving a functional purpose or use or is not in an enclosed building, a licensed salvage yard or in the actual possession of a demolisher, or which is dismantled or demolished or disrepaired to the extent that it is unsightly or inherently dangerous and unattractive to the public at large. However, this provision shall not apply to any business lawfully engaged in the operation of a salvage yard.
No person shall place, store or maintain upon any public street, alley or right of way of the City, and no person shall allow or place, store or maintain in public view on private property he owns or occupies, or upon any other private property within the City any motor vehicle or machinery, the condition of which is such that it constitutes an actual or probable cohabitation or breeding place for rats, flies mosquitoes or other vermin.
If the Police Department has knowledge or discovers or finds any abandoned motor vehicle, any junk motor vehicles, any motor vehicles which constitute either a health or safety hazard, or any motor vehicle which are a nuisance to the public at large, the Police Department shall take the same into its custody and possession.
For that purpose, the Departments may use its own personnel, equipment and facilities or hire a qualified person, equipment and facilities for the purpose of removing, preserving and storing the aforesaid vehicles; provided that, before taking any of the aforesaid vehicles into custody and possession from private property, the Department shall give private property owners and the owner of such motor vehicle, if ascertainable, thirty days notice by registered or certified mail that such action shall be taken unless the motor vehicle is removed or restored to a functional use.
355.04 NOTICE OF IMPOUNDING
(a) The Police Department which takes into and possession any motor vehicles described in Section 355.03 shall, within seven days after taking custody and possession thereof, notify the last known registered owner of such motor vehicle and all lienholders of records that such motor vehicle has been taken into custody and possession, such notification to be by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall: contain a description of such motor vehicle, including the year, make, model, manufacturer’s serial or identification number or any other number which may have been assigned to such motor vehicle by the commissioner of motor vehicles and any distinguishing marks; set forth the location of the facility where such motor vehicle is being held and the location where such motor vehicle was taken into custody and possession; inform the owner or any lienholders of record of their right to reclaim such motor vehicle within ten days after the date the notice was received by the owner or lienholders, upon payment of all towing, preservation and storage charges resulting from taking and placing such motor vehicle into custody and possession, and state that the failure of the owner or lienholders of record to exercise their right to reclaim such motor vehicle within such ten day period shall be deemed a waiver by the owner and all lienholders of record of all right, title and interest in such motor vehicle and of their consent to the sale or disposal of the aforesaid motor vehicles at a public auction or to a licensed salvage yard or demolisher.
(b) If the identity of the last registered owner of the aforesaid motor vehicle cannot be determined or if the certificate of registration or certificate of title contains no address for the owner, or if it is impossible to determine with reasonable certainty the identity and address of all lienholders, notice shall be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of W.Va Code 59-3-1 et seq.; and the publication area for such publication shall be Greenbrier County. Such notice shall be sufficient to meet all requirements of notice pursuant to this article. Any notice by publication may contain multiple listings of the aforesaid motor vehicles. The notice shall be published within seven days after such motor vehicles are taken into custody and possession and shall have the same contents required for a notice pursuant to subsection (a) hereof, except that the ten day period shall run from the date such notice is published as foresaid.
(c) The consequences and effect of failure to reclaim an aforesaid motor vehicle within the ten day period after notice is received by registration or certified mail or within ten days after the notice is published in a newspaper as aforesaid shall be set forth in such notice.
355.05 DISPOSAL OF UNCLAIMED IMPOUNDED VEHICLES.
(a) If an aforesaid motor vehicle is not reclaimed as provided for in Section355.04, the Police Department shall sell it either at a public auction or to a licensed salvage yard or demolisher. The purchaser of such motor vehicle shall take title to such motor vehicle free and clear of all liens and claims of ownership, and shall receive a sales receipt from the Department who disposed of such motor vehicle. The sales receipt at such sale shall be sufficient title only for purpose of transferring such motor vehicle to a licensed salvage yard or to a demolisher for demolition, wrecking or dismantling, and no further titling of such motor vehicle shall be necessary by either the purchaser at the auction, the licensed salvage yard or the demolisher, who shall be exempt from the payment of any fees and taxes required under W.VA. Code 17A-3-1 et seq.: provided, that the purchaser at the auction shall place such motor vehicle in the possession of a licensed salvage yard or demolisher within twenty days from the date he purchased such motor vehicle and the licensed salvage yard or demolisher must demolish, wreck or dismantle such motor vehicle within six months after taking possession of such motor vehicle and if such licensed salvage yard or demolisher does not, such licensed salvage yard or demolisher shall be required to pay all fees and taxes required under W.VA. Code 17A-3.
(b) When the Police Department has in its custody and possession old vehicle tired inoperative or abandoned machinery collected in accordance with Section 355.04, it shall sell such property from time to time at public auction or to a licensed salvage yard or demolisher.
355.06 PROCEEDS FROM SALE OF ABANDONED OR JUNK VEHICLES AND MACHINERY.
From the proceeds of any such sale, the Police Department which sold the abandoned motor vehicle, junked motor vehicle, old vehicle tire or inoperative or abandoned machinery shall reimburse itself for any expenses it may have incurred in removing, towing, preserving and storing such property and the expenses of conducting any auction and any notice and publication expenses incurred pursuant to the article.
Any remainder from the proceeds of such sale shall be deposited in the City Treasury to be kept and maintained as a special revolving account, hereinafter established and designated as the “Abandoned and Junked Property Fund”: provided that any remainder from proceeds of the sale of an abandoned motor vehicle or junked motor vehicle after payment of such expenses shall be held for the last registered owner of such motor vehicle or any lienholder, for ninety days, after which time, if no owner or lienholder claims the remainder, it shall be deposited in the special fund.
Any moneys so collected and deposited in the special fund shall be used solely by the Police Department for the payment of auction, towing removing, preserving, storing, notice and publication costs which results from taking other abandoned motor vehicles, junked motor vehicles, old vehicles and inoperative or abandoned machinery into custody and possession.
Whoever abandons a vehicle in violation of this article shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.