ASHTABULA — Ashtabula is targeting and towing junk vehicles.
The city’s police and code enforcement departments, along with Davis Towing of Ashtabula, are towing abandoned, inoperable and unregistered vehicles.
“Our guys go out as a team — Lt. Michael DeFina and animal control officer/city inspector, Stephen Lanham — for four hours a week,” Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said. “They are doing a fantastic job. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
So far, a total of 162 vehicles have been towed away in two months, according to police records. Davis Towing has removed 62 for the city, and about 100 city residents took the initiative and towed the vehicles away themselves after the city gave them a warning.
“I am pleased with the results we have seen and those that have complied on their own,” City Manager Jim Timonere said. “It has made a difference and we will continue to do enforcement like this through the summer.”
Timonere encourages citizens to report violations by calling 440-992-7118.
City officials will try to address the problem that same day.
“We are making a concerted effort to enforce city policy,” Stell said. “Davis Towing is going the extra mile. They really stepped up to help us with this problem.”
The ordinance states the city prohibits junk or not properly licensed vehicles to be placed, located or stored. Those found in violation will be cited and fined and given notice to remove the vehicles or the city can and will remove the vehicle for them. All fees or charges assessed will be incurred by the vehicle’s owner.
The city gives violators three days to clean it up.
Stell said police officers are the eyes and ears of the community as they patrol neighborhoods daily.
“When we see violations, we make it a point to report it to the Planning and Zoning Department,” he said. “We are able to help them out in this way.”
Summertime also means the start of lawn mowing season and city ordinance states everyone should periodically cut and dispose of all weeds and grass, ensuring no weeds, vines, grasses or other vegetative growth exceeds eight inches.
If residents fail to comply, the city will mow the grass at a fee of $150 per hour with a minimum charge of $150, according to the ordinance. In addition, violators must pay an administrative fee of $250, and for subsequent cutting within a growing season, $500.
For more information, visit the city’s website www.cityofashtabula.com.