DEL NORTE— Residents of Del Norte and members of the town board gathered in Town Hall on Wednesday for a work session ] pertaining to a town policy. Over the last year, town board members and law enforcement officials have been working diligently to get some on the homes in and around Del Norte clear of junk material including non-working vehicles.
Several residents sought clarification on the town’s policy and procedure as it relates to junk vehicles, as many have vehicles that are either project cars, spare vehicles or other sentimental vehicles that they do not wish to get rid of. “I even have one that I have been working on, so its important to review the details pertaining to this policy so that we can clarify what and how we want it enforced,” said Mayor Chris Trujillo.
Trujillo began the discussion by reading through the policy which states, “no person shall abandon any vehicle within the town and no person shall leave any vehicle at any place within the town for such times and under such circumstances as to cause the vehicle reasonably to appear to be abandoned. It is unlawful for any person who is the owner of any vehicle, the owner of any property or the person who is in charge or in control of any property, whether as owner, tenant, occupant, lessee or otherwise, to permit or allow any junked, discarded or partially wrecked vehicle or parts thereof, to remain on the property longer than 10 days unless it is stored within a closed building.”
To clarify the policy, Trujillo stated that the vehicle has to be insured and licensed with current vehicle registration in order to not be considered a “junk vehicle.” Law enforcement officials have the right to issue a warning to owners of vehicles they have deemed as junk as a first step in the process and request that the vehicle be moved to an enclosed structure or be removed from the property. Once a warning is issued, the owner of the vehicle has 10 days to resolve the issue before law enforcement issues a citation.
Residents who were in attendance voiced concern that some law enforcement officials have gone as far as jumping a private fence to take pictures of their property and felt that they have no right to do so. Trujillo stated that he agreed with the concerned citizens stating that, “I don’t think that it is appropriate for an officer to trespass on private property to take pictures of a nuisance to the town. If they can’t see the junk in someone’s yard from the street, then it shouldn’t be considered a nuisance to the town.”
Trujillo continued, stating that it is the duty of the board to have the entire policy reviewed and changed to fit the community and eliminate any further confusion for police officers who are abiding by the law as it is currently written. “We need to have the town attorney review the policy and show us the areas that need to be changed in order to resolve the issue. We will place it for review on the next agenda and get the situation sorted out as quickly as possible.”