junk

The blight fight in El Campo will target junk and abandoned vehicles next if city council approves a proposed ordinance change Monday night.

If accepted, “there will be a public education effort before any enforcement would begin,” City Manager Courtney Sladek said, but added the goal is to clean up El Campo streets and neighborhoods.

Junked vehicles are already not allowed within the city limits.

The change expands definitions to include aircraft, boats, campers, trailers and other recreational vehicles as well as traditional cars and trucks.

The statute will be used for anything visible to the public and gives the code enforcement officer the authority to enter private property to review whether a vehicle should be considered junk.

Vehicles in fully enclosed garages would not be included in the review nor would those behind privacy fences.

“Tarping would not be permissible. We will run the license plate (to see if it is still valid),” Sladek said, adding owners would have an opportunity to address the vehicle’s condition.

A vehicle can be considered junk if it has been inoperable on public property for 72 hours of 30 days on private property.

“This will be a means to fight blight,” Sladek said.

If a vehicle is deemed junk, it can be removed by the city and, ultimately, destroyed.

The process starts with notification which will be sent to the registered owner.

The request will be part of the regular city council session Monday night.

The El Campo City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in chambers, 315 E. Jackson.

The meeting is open to the public with time specifically designated for citizen comments.

For more on the upcoming session, see related story.

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