Code Enforcement executes warrant seizures

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Riverside County Code Enforcement officers oversee the loading of junk vehicles during the execution of an administrative warrant seizure of inoperative vehicles at a property on Contreras Road in Anza Wednesday, Dec. 11. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

Riverside County Code Enforcement officers executed an administrative warrant seizure of inoperative vehicles at a property on Contreras Road in Anza Wednesday, Dec.11.

The property, packed full of junk cars, decaying trucks, travel trailers and piles of parts and tires, was abated by contractors under the guidance of Riverside County Code Enforcement officers.

The crew removed 18 vehicles, one trailer and a 40-foot bin of miscellaneous auto parts from the parcel.

The action was an enforcement of Riverside County Ordinance 520, which addresses inoperable vehicles in nuisance situations.

According to the ordinance, the county, as granted by Section 22660 of the California Vehicle Code, can remove abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or parts that have been determined to be public nuisances. The provisions of the ordinance were administered and enforced by the director of Code Enforcement.

If the Code Enforcement Department has determined that the vehicle or parts are a public nuisance presenting an immediate threat to public health or safety, a notice of intention to abate and remove the vehicles or parts is mailed by registered or certified mail, to the owner of the land.

The last registered and legal owners of record of the vehicles are also notified. The notice contains a statement of the hearing rights of the owner of the property on which the vehicle is located and of the owner of the vehicle. The statement also includes notice to the property owner that he may appear in person at a hearing or may submit a sworn written statement denying responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land, with his reasons for such denial, in lieu of appearing.

According to Ordinance 520, after a vehicle has been removed, it cannot be reconstructed, restored or made operable, unless it is a vehicle that qualifies for either horseless carriage license plates or historical license plates, pursuant to Section 5004 of the Vehicle Code, in which case the vehicle may be reconstructed or made operable.

The district attorney or county counsel is authorized to commence an action for the abatement and removal of the vehicles and for the collection of the costs of abatement, including administrative and attorney’s fees and civil penalties.

“As a resident of Anza for the past several years, there has been an eyesore on the street going to the post office,” a resident said. “There is always shady-looking characters hanging around. We are so glad they are gone now. We can now feel a lot safer having grandchildren play in the yard and not worrying about somebody approaching the fence looking for the guy that lives in the junkyard or cars honking their horns to get his attention. It is a safer place in our neighborhood after today.”

In anticipation of the abatement Wednesday, about 10 vehicles were removed by the owner to a property down the road, according to witnesses.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.