Public Protection meeting focuses on abandoned cars

By Gary Scott on July 6, 2016 at 6:27am

A car filled with trash at a residence on East Douglas Avenue.

A Jacksonville alderwoman wants something done about what she says is a problem with abandoned, inoperable and junk motor vehicles in the city.

Alderwoman Marcy Patterson called for a Public Protection Committee meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Currently, Jacksonville’s ordinance prohibits abandoned vehicles on private property “in full view of the public…for a period of ten days or more”.

Patterson complained that there are numerous examples of people not following the ordinance, leaving their abandoned vehicles on property for months or even years. She wants the ordinance changed to close what she calls various loopholes.

“For me, this started, I drive by the same location every day. For five years, there’s a car with a tarp on it that hasn’t moved for at least five years. It’s not doing anything wrong, it’s not violating any community ordinance that we have, but it’s absolutely an eyesore. So, the ordinance is the problem,” she says.

Patterson says it’s not just a residential issue- auto repair shops were also brought up at yesterday’s meeting. As we hear from Jacksonville Police Department ordinance enforcement officer Loren Hamilton…

“The question comes up, why should I comply if there’s X amount of others with my same type of business that are not,” says Hamilton.

Patterson says there are a number of reasons this action is needed.

“One of the concerns is, of course, a safety issue. We don’t want people hiding in cars, we don’t want animals, rats, raccoons, all of those things infesting cars, because those are going to be nuisances for neighborhoods as well,” Patterson says.

“This is one more step in making our city a little bit nicer, a little bit prettier to look at when you drive through, making it a place people want to come to.”

Aldermen agreed yesterday to let the Jacksonville Police Department work with the city attorney on this issue, and get back to the Public Protection Committee with a possible ordinance change or other recommendation in the near future.