Archive for Wednesday, February 9, 2000

Work begins on junk-car cases

City to investigate other cases stemming from citizen complaints

February 9, 2000

So far, the city has had a mixed response to its 1-month-old attempt to rid the community of abandoned vehicles.

According to Linda Lewis, city clerk, the city has sent by certified mail three letters to property owners, telling them to take care of junked or abandoned vehicles.

One has been handled. One person was given longer than the seven days outlined in the letter. And one letter was returned.

"It will be hand-delivered," Lewis said.

A month ago, the Tonganoxie City Council directed the staff to step up enforcement of a 9-year-old law dealing with such vehicles.

"As long as they contact us and we know that they're trying to work with us, then that's OK," Lewis said. "We're not trying to make enemies. But we need to keep our town clean and beautiful as much as possible. These cars are a safety factor and they're a temptation to children."

Lewis said the city will investigate complaints from local citizens. And city officials are hoping to clean up other violations of the city's environmental code dealing with trash, debris and weeds, she said.

For property owners who don't comply with the city's request to remove abandoned vehicles within seven days, the city has a right to file a criminal complaint in municipal court.

So far, the city has not filed any court action, Lewis said. The fine for noncompliance is a stiff one: at least $50 a day.

"It would behoove them to get this taken care of," she said.

Chris Eppley, city administrator, said the city is looking for guidance on this issue from Tonganoxie citizens.

"Code enforcement like this is truly a case where we need their input," he said.

"We are here for the people, for the citizens. If the citizens are happy with the way things look, it's not our mission to try to change that opinion."

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