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State-Paid Vehicle-Removal Plan Joined by Mission Viejo

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The City Council has agreed to participate in a state program that will pay the city up to $57,380 annually to tow away abandoned vehicles.

The program makes the city eligible for a maximum of $295,507 in state funds over five years. City officials say wrecked or abandoned cars are a persistent problem in Mission Viejo.

“It’s something we deal with every single day,” said Sheriff’s Lt. George Johnson, the ranking police officer in Mission Viejo. “Hardly a shift goes by where someone doesn’t report an abandoned vehicle.”

Johnson said sheriff’s deputies mark a vehicle they suspect is abandoned and wait for 72 hours. If it isn’t moved, they issue a citation and send a letter to the owner. If the vehicle is still there after another five days, the Sheriff’s Department arranges for it to be towed away.

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City code enforcement officers also received 100 complaints last year about cars that were left in yards and in vacant lots.

Most of the time, according to Planning Director Clint Sherrod, the owners move the vehicles when contacted by code enforcement. However, on at least 10 occasions last year, the city was forced to have a vehicle towed away.

“Abandoned vehicles have been a problem in Orange County cities for some time,” Sherrod said. “They generally have to be removed using general fund monies. This program will help alleviate that cost.”


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