An old car is parked on the side of the road near the bluff on April 29, 2016 in Clam Gulch, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion, file)

An old car is parked on the side of the road near the bluff on April 29, 2016 in Clam Gulch, Alaska. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion, file)

Borough looks at policy for junk and abandoned car removal

The ordinance seeks to make it more expensive to abandon a vehicle than to properly dispose of it.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will consider changing its policy on abandoned vehicles at its meeting Tuesday.

An ordinance on Tuesday’s agenda would repeal current code and replace it with a new policy that bolsters the borough’s ability to enforce the removal of junk and abandoned vehicles by incorporating Alaska statutes into the policy.

The ordinance states that vehicles abandoned on public roadways or public property are public nuisances that create health and safety hazards. Addressing abandoned and junk vehicles in the borough is a growing issue, a Nov. 21 memo from borough roads director Dil Uhlin to the assembly said.

The proposed code is more detailed than the current code and incorporates policies more aligned with state statute.

The proposed code aims to make the policy for addressing junk and abandoned vehicles more clear.

“It is in the best interests of the borough to have a clearly established procedure for the abatement, removal, and disposal of vehicles abandoned on public property,” the ordinance said. “The public is served by the establishment of code-driven procedures that meet the requirements of state law.”

The current policy has “proven to be inadequate for enforcing the removal of junk and abandoned vehicles within the borough as it lacks many of the requirements of Alaska statute,” the memo said. The current policy also fails to address junk vehicles and the process for addressing vehicles left on private property.

The proposed policy says it is unlawful to abandon a vehicle on public property and on private property without the consent of the land owner and the owner of the vehicle is responsible for removing the vehicle and any associated costs.

The proposed policy change also addresses vehicles considered both junk and abandoned, the memo said, by providing “a mechanism for the Road Service Area to address the growing issue regarding the abandonment of vehicles on borough right-of-ways and/or borough property.”

Due to lack of an “enforcement mechanism,” individuals are abandoning their vehicles on borough property in order to avoid paying the landfill fees or the fees to drain the fluids in the vehicle, the memo said.

The proposed ordinance seeks to make it more expensive to abandon a vehicle than to properly dispose of a vehicle.

Vehicles are assumed to be abandoned if the car appears to have been left unattended, standing or parked upon or within 10 feet of the traveled portion a road or vehicular way in excess of 48 hours or is parked on public property owned or managed by the borough for more than 30 calendar days, the ordinance said.

A 48-hour notice will be given before abandoned or junked vehicles are removed, unless a vehicle constitutes an immediate hazard to the public. The proposed policy also includes a $100 for the unlawful junk vehicles and abandoned vehicles.

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