Having an unregistered vehicle in Coos Bay could lead to the car being impounded after the Coos Bay City Council approved an updated towing ordinance last week.
The move to update the ordinance was an effort to strengthen the camping ordinance the council recently passed. That ordinance, which limits camping in residential areas, went into effect at the end of August. One element of the ordinance is banning people from camping in vehicles in residential areas. That ordinance also bans camping in vehicles in one location for more than 72 hours.
Police Chief Chris Chapanar said his department has begun enforcing the camping ordinance, but he said the towing ordinance needed to be updated to ensure law enforcement can remove vehicles that are not legal.
"This will tie in with that," Mayor Joe Benetti said. "It's something we need to do."
The biggest change in the ordinance is adding the term unlawful vehicle to those that can be towed. Previously, only abandoned vehicles could be removed.
According to the ordinance, any vehicle that does not have a current license plate, registration sticker and insurance can be towed away. Before a vehicle is towed, the registered owner will be given five days to bring the vehicle into compliance.
Other vehicles that can be towed according to the ordinance are ones that are inoperative or disabled, wrecked, partially dismantled or junk and parked on city streets. Vehicles police believe are abandoned can also be removed.
The ordinance also outlines that legal vehicle cannot be parked or left on public property for more than 72 hours.
If a vehicle is removed, police will inventory everything inside and will have it stored for up to 30 days. The ordinance outlines that if a vehicle is being used as a place of occupancy when it is towed, the owners can remove personal property from the vehicle with proof of ownership or police permission.
If a vehicle is not claimed within 30 days, the city can sell them. During the 30-day period, vehicle owners can claim the vehicle after paying the city $75 and all towing and storage fees.
The ordinance was approved September 7 and will go into effect in 30 days.