A junk vehicle ordinance that gives county staff enforcement authority came a step closer to reality last month, as the Mathews Board of Supervisors voted at its Sept. 25 meeting to hold a public hearing on the matter this month.
Planning and zoning director John Shaw explained to supervisors that the current ordinance has proved to be insufficient for dealing with violations for non-compliant property owners. He said he is now required to notify the property owner, wait 30 days for the resident to take care of the matter, then seek court action if the homeowner doesn’t comply.
With the proposed ordinance, which is allowable under state law, Shaw would notify the property owner that he or she would have to either remove any inoperable vehicles, place them inside a building, or put them behind a six-foot wall, hedge, or other thick landscaping. After 30 days, Shaw would have to issue a second notice telling the property owner of his intent to have the vehicles removed. Finally, if the owner still didn’t take action, Shaw could have the vehicles removed and could charge the owner the cost of removal and storage until the vehicles could be disposed of.
Supervisor Neena Putt said she didn’t like the idea of adopting more stringent language in the zoning ordinance because of one situation, but she felt there was a need to.
"It’s become obvious that we need more than we have because of a situation that has gone on forever," she said.