Junk vehicles became the next target for El Campo’s blight fight Monday, but not before residents shared concerns.
Council updated the junk vehicle ordinance with a 7-0 vote.
Next, City Planner Jai McBride will be educating the public on the expectations and requirements. After education efforts, the Inspections Department will begin a proactive enforcement effort as well as take complaints related to the junked vehicles.
Under the new rules, vehicles, boats, trailers and aircraft within view from a public street, alley or other property can be required to be fixed or removed.
Those behind privacy fences or inside garages or other buildings are exempt. Tarps are not considered appropriate screening.
The tarp issue, a person who signed in only as “Ruben” told council, is of major concern. He has a fully covered, but unregistered vehicle.
For it to remain parked out front of his home, it will have to be registered, he learned.
To be considered junk, a vehicle would not be properly registered, wrecked or partially dismantled and/or non operational for 72 hours on public property or 30 days on private property.
Dustin Cruz told council enforcement was fine, but it should not cost residents. “You do it for free instead of trying to fine people,” he said.
Former Councilwoman Anisa Vasquez asked council to consider greater penalties for repeat offenders.
Andrew Longoria called for council to do more, not just with vehicles, but with everything.
“We already have laws, why don’t we enforce it? Not just vehicles,” he said.
In a separate yet related issue, council approved naming Troy Coffman as a reserve officer.
Coffman, a peace officer, currently serves as the city’s fire inspector and will be tackling the junk vehicle complaints.
As a peace officer, he would have the power to immediately ticket a violator.