Nation Valley News
SOUTH STORMONT — The Township of South Stormont wants to bring awareness to residents about keeping their yards free of broken down vehicles.
This initiative was just recently made public via social media, and there have been a lot of misconceptions made about this particular by-law, according to the municipal official overseeing the campaign.
Section 10(6) of the bylaw states that “No vehicle which is in a wrecked, discarded, dismantled or inoperative condition or is unlicensed shall be parked, stored, or left in the yard unless such vehicle is required for business or farming purposes and then only in an arrangement such as to prevent an unsafe or unsightly condition.”
Property owners who are currently fixing up older looking vehicles or have a valid reason for their vehicle being displayed on their property have no need to worry, according to Bylaw Enforcement Officer Dan Bissonette who insists that, “everything is case by case.” If a resident is “working on a project” and there’s a “valid reason,” then he takes that into consideration.
He explains that there’s a “step-by-step” process to enforcement.
Bissonette’s job is to drive around and take note of any property with vehicles that seem to be derelict and unplated. He also learns of them through complaints.
Once aware of a problem, he will pay a home visit to inform the owner of the bylaw. For the most part, that’s all it takes, he says.
He insists that “in most cases, most people are pretty good and will just get rid of the vehicle.”
Bissonette suggests several options and services available to dispose of a rotting vehicle.
Agencies such as The Kidney Car Foundation and Kars4Kids will tow away unwanted vehicles at no charge and send a tax receipt in exchange. These foundations donate the money from the scrap metal to charity.
Not only can residents clean-up their yards for free but they can also feel great in knowing that they will be making a difference as well.
If the owner doesn’t comply, further notices will be sent by mail. And if they go unanswered, the township goes and cleans up the property itself. In this case, the clean-up cost is added to the owner’s property taxes.
However, Bissonette says he’s “never had to go that far.”
In extreme cases, the party may be summonsed to court where, if found guilty, they could be charged a fine on top of the clean-up cost.
“The reality is that we do it case by case,” emphasizes Bissonette. “There’s a human factor. It’s not a hard and fast rule.”
Bissonette assures the public that he and the township take the homeowner’s financial situation, location, as well as the complainant’s identity, into consideration.
Before any action occurs, he makes the vehicle owner aware of the by-law and that a complaint has been made.
The township intends to focus on a different bylaw every month — derelict cars being one in a series.
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