Town working to address nuisance vehicles, equipment

WOODSTOCK – Town officials now have stronger and more consistently worded ordinances to allow them to deal with nuisance vehicles.

Residents can no longer keep inoperative vehicles on a residential or commercial property for more than 10 days. That revised ordinance, along with two others dealing with problem vehicles and equipment, was unanimously approved at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting.

Previously, the town allowed 60 days to address such complaints., said Lemuel Hancock, town planner who works with the Woodstock Police Department.

“We wanted a consistent language for enforcement purposes in all ordinances,” Hancock said.

Town officials also reviewed similar ordinances for other communities to see if there was a best practice they wanted to adopt.

That led to Woodstock including a lawn or garden tractor to its unattended vehicles ordinance –  adding that to the motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers already accounted for in the ordinance. All of those will be considered abandoned if they do not have a current license plate, a current county or town plate or sticker, a valid state inspection sticker and if they have been in a specific location for four days without being moved.

A third ordinance dealing with the removal of commercial vehicles that are parked illegally in residential zones or public right-of-ways was also revised. It now includes language, like the other two ordinances, that the town can remove the vehicle at the owner’s expense, Hancock said.

Hancock said the town responds to complaints about these issues by first talking to the owners to see how they plan to fix their property.

“If we can tell nothing is going to happen, we issue a letter,” Hancock said.

Also at the meeting:

Zachary Hottel was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Woodstock Economic Development Authority for a term to expire Oct. 5, 2020.

Hottel, who works at the Woodstock Fire Department, serves on the business and community coordination committee and replaces Jenna French, who stepped down after accepting a position as tourism and economic development director with Shenandoah County.

“I think he will be a great asset to our committee,” said Councilman Stephen Heishman.

Four members of the Shenandoah County Boy Scout Troop 575, supported by the Woodstock Moose, attended the meeting.  They are working on earning their communication merit badge and were there to take notes and report back to the full troop.

At the meeting were council members Frank Haun, Alicia Gutshall, A. Paje Cross, Stephen Heishman, Funkhouser, Mayor Jeremy McCleary and Town Manager Angela Clem. Councilwoman Jacqueline Lambert did not attend.