City expected to approve changes to vehicle ordinances

Columbus city officials are tackling the issues of abandoned vehicles, oversized vehicles parked on narrow streets and other vehicle-related problems with changes to some city ordinances. Mary Ferdon, the city’s director of administration, explained that the city has been working toward updating these revisions. The city council meets Monday night to vote on these revisions for a second time, which will allow them to be implemented.

The city council members voted in mid-November to approve four amendments to local ordinances governing what constitutes an offending vehicle, where it can be parked and for how long. Among the changes, the city would identify an inoperable vehicle as one that is partially dismantled, mechanically inoperable, or unsafe to drive. That would also include vehicles with broken windows or windshield, missing wheels, flat tires, and collision damage.

Under the proposal, inoperable and unlicensed vehicles could not be parked on public property, including city streets or right of ways. They can, however, be kept in enclosed spaces, like garages or carports. Council members also wrangled over backyard storage of these vehicles. In the end, Fred Barnett, the city’s code enforcement officer, explained that privacy fences would suffice. However, he noted that does not give residents license to store several vehicles, noting another city ordinance in place designed to identify junk and scrap yards. Barnett also told the council that these ordinance changes will help him to do his job much more efficiently.

Tuesday night’s council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall and you are encouraged to take part.