Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Spencer Township targets junk vehicles

Spencer Township residents whose junk cars have become permanent fixtures on their properties might have to make other plans for the vehicles.

Township officials are considering amendments to the township zoning resolution that would assist in enforcing rules related to the storage of junk motor vehicles.

Currently, as many as four junk motor vehicles are allowed on a resident's property, but under the proposed amendment, all junk vehicles would be prohibited.

However, "collector vehicles" would still be permitted.

Ken Pheils, zoning inspector for Spencer Township, said that junk vehicles have been a problem in the township despite several changes in zoning regulations.

The township's existing regulation "really does not do a whole lot for cleaning up the properties so the trustees now are trying to clean it up," Mr. Pheils said. Other trustees previously attempted to address the issue, he noted, but trustees now "are going about it in a different way."

Under the proposed regulations, no motor vehicle that is a "junk motor vehicle" would be permitted on any lot except for at a salvage yard or a scrap metal processing facility.

A vehicle would be considered as a junk vehicle if it is left on private property or a public street for 48 hours or longer; if it is three years or older; if it is extensively damaged, including missing wheels, tires, engine, or transmission; if it is apparently inoperable, and if it has a fair market value of $1,500 or less. It would need to meet all of those criteria to be labeled as a junk vehicle.

A "collector vehicle," on the other hand, would mean any motor vehicle, agricultural tractor, or traction engine that meets the following: is of special interest; has a market value of $100 or more; is owned, operated, collected, preserved, restored, used as a leisure pursuit, or kept as an investment; is not the owner's principal means of transportation, and is operable and licensed with valid plates.

Basically, the definition of a junk vehicle follows the Ohio Revised Code, said Mr. Pheils, who would be in charge of enforcing the amended regulations.

He could cite violators into the Sylvania Municipal Court, he said. If convicted, a violator could be charged up to $500 a day.

Current regulations require that junk vehicles be housed in buildings or be screened from view, such as by a fence.

Those regulations, Mr. Pheils said, are nearly impossible to enforce.

He's been trying to get some junk cars removed from private properties; some of those vehicles haven't moved in four years, he said.

The amended zoning regulations would be easier to enforce, he said.

Proposed changes will be considered by the township zoning commission. A recommendation from the commission would then go to the township trustees for consideration, possibly at the trustees' Dec. 7 meeting, Mr. Pheils said.

Spencer Township officials asked the Lucas County Planning Commission staff to propose amendments to the township zoning resolution that would assist the township in enforcing its junk motor vehicle situations.

The planning commission staff suggested that all junk motor vehicles, except for "collector vehicles," be prohibited in the township.

During the planning commission's meeting last week, John Nagy, principal planner, told the commission that he had met with the Spencer Township officials and talked with them about the draft proposal, and they said that what was presented would be adequate to get the job done.

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