12/28/04 — Car rules: What’s carrion for one is carriage for another

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Car rules: What’s carrion for one is carriage for another

Under new rules, a resident of Wayne County can’t have a car worth less than $100 if it is over five years old, has no license plate and a bumper is missing or a fender is dented. If he has one, and a passer-by or neighbor can see it, the owner can be fined $100 a day.

The county commissioners no doubt had the best of intentions when, voting unanimously, they approved that rule as part of a new ordinance related to unused cars.

The commissioners probably have been hounded about the repulsive nature of eyesore jalopies, or they might have been offended themselves. Indeed, none of us wants what amounts to a junk yard on the lawn next door.

Another part of the ordinance prohibits anyone from having a junked car in which mosquitos can breed or which otherwise endanger human health. Another allows the Sheriff’s Department to haul off cars that are left for more than seven days on public property or on someone else’s property without permission. Those provisions make sense.

But the first one seems harsh and somewhat illogical.

Granted, there are some slackards who are too lazy to dispose of an old vehicle in any way but to leave it sitting in the yard. But there are others who might wish to keep an old car in hopes of eventually turning it into family transportation.

If such a person can’t afford to get his car registered and running, he can hardly come up with $100 a day — $300 for repeat offenders — to hand over in fines. Surely there is another way to address any problem that these cars may cause.

Published in Editorials on December 28, 2004 11:33 AM