March 9, 2012

Letter: 'Nuisance vehicles' ordinance


Editor, The Friday Flyer:

The City of Canyon Lake just passed an ordinance that allows contractors to tow away “nuisance vehicles” parked in private driveways. This is in addition to similar POA regulations.

Though there might be a need for this type of ordinance, the problem is the lack of specificity in the wording. The first problem is the definition of a “vehicle.” Would the ordinance include motorhomes, boats, 5th wheels? The next problem is the definition of “warning” and “adequate time.”

The biggest problem is the definition of what constitutes a “nuisance.” For instance, if a 2010 Mercedes will not start and the license has expired more than three months ago, is it a nuisance? If the vehicle were a 1982 Daewoo would it then be a nuisance?

More importantly in this community, say the vehicle was a 1985 GMC motorhome that isn’t licensed, hasn’t been started in a year and is growing cobwebs ? would that be a “nuisance?” (I can easily imagine that example vehicle being owned by retired couple who adventures out once every 18 months and doesn’t worry about a license and a charged battery until they are ready to go.) 

The point is that the ordinance needs to be specific. Because the wording is similar to Riverside County code does not make it good legislation. I am concerned that the personal whims of people with political influence will decide what constitutes a “nuisance.”

I wonder if this is a backdoor attack on people who park motorhomes in their driveways. The ambiguity of the law makes life a bit more complicated for everybody, and could lead to legal claims of “selective enforcement.” This is bad legislation that needs to be changed.

Tim Brown