The city of Covington updated a few city ordinances this week regarding junk vehicles, unsanitary buildings and alcohol licenses.
Junk (or inoperative) vehicles are not allowed to be parked on private property nor on city streets, and the city cleared up how it will deal with such cases Monday.
The city council approved the first reading of an ordinance change that allows code enforcement officers to enter private property in the city to inspect vehicles if the officer "has reasonable cause to believe that an inoperative vehicle is being unlawfully maintained or allowed to exist on any premises."
Junk vehicles are defined as those that are "wrecked, dismantled, partially dismantled, inoperative, abandoned, discarded or one which does not have a valid license plate attached."
The enforcement officer will first try to locate the homeowner before entering property; if the property owner refuses entry, the officer will seek a legal recourse to enter the property, including receiving an inspection warrant from Covington's municipal court.
The ordinance is also being changed to say that once a junk vehicle has been located it must be removed within 30 days after the vehicle or property owner receives written notice from the city.
The existing ordinance is 8.16.010 and can be viewed online by going to cityofcovington.org, rolling over the "Government" tab and clicking on "City Ordinances."
The council approved the first reading of a minor change to the ordinance regulating unsafe or unsanitary buildings.
To date, when the city identified an unfit building and filed an official complaint, a copy of the complaint only had to be sent to the property owner. The ordinance change approved Monday requires copies of the complaint to be sent to "the record property owner and any other person or entity having an interest in such dwelling, building or structure," if possible, including banks and lien holders. Inspections of potentially unfit buildings can be requested by city officials or a group of at least five city residents who charge that a structure or property is unfit for "human habitation or for commercial, industrial, or business use and not in compliance with applicable codes; is vacant and being used in connection with the commission of drug crimes; or constitutes an endangerment to the public health or safety as a result of unsanitary or unsafe conditions."
The applicable code section is 8.24.040.