LARGO -- Junk cars are the plague of Largo and even when Tami Bach, assistant city attorney, was showing, at least week's City Commission work session, slides of the problem one could get the feeling that this problem defined and characterized the city.
What to do?
There was a welter of ideas from the mayor and commissioners, but on one thing all were in accord -- there needs to be a crackdown.
Current figures put the plethora of junk vehicles that are noted by the city's code enforcement squad at more than four a day. That accumulates to well more than 1,500 a year. A deluge.
Under present city practice, it can take up to 90 days to cure a given situation where a vehicle sits in inexorable oxidation with flattened tires, no tags or out of date tags, inoperable and, in some cases, with no engines in them.
And these eyesores can occur in otherwise nice neighborhoods.
A plan advanced by Bach would call for the city to tow away these vehicles or boats and trailers in obvious disuse after a notice to remove has been given.
A towing company would charge $65 per unit and storage charges are $15 a day. The theory is that owners would pay those chages -- up to $515 over a month.
If they didn't the city would and then lien the owners' property to possibly recover the expense sometime in the vague future.
Skeptics found this plan akin to a pipe dream. "Very often these are the kind of people who will do nothing," one said.
One commissioner, after the November 23 meeting, liked the idea of hailing violators into court after notice was given and no action was taken. A judge would order action with the threat of contempt and possible jail time if the orders were not carried out.
Pete Jensen, the city's code enforcement officer, bubbling with enthusiasm and optimism, said that most violators will comply immediately with an order to remove vehicles under the Bach plan.
He said he figured the city would have go to the towing method only six times a year.
Overlooked perhaps, is that the more than 1,500 citations a year often involve repeat incidents which obviously screams that violators are not complying immediately.
Another vehicle related problem outlined by Bach with a solution was those households that park vehicles on other than paved surfaces on their property.
She proposes an ordinance that would prohibit vehicles from behing parked on "unimproved" surfaces on residential property.
That, of course, raises all kinds of questions -- is such parking short term, long term, occasional, property rights etc.
Both vehicle issues will be on future commission meetings for action.
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