Cheyenne City Council sets guidelines, definitions for abandoned vehicles on property - Cheyenne, WY Cap City News
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Cheyenne City Council sets guidelines, definitions for abandoned vehicles on property

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Cheyenne City Council passed an ordinance in its meeting Monday adjusting the guidelines for abandoned vehicles and their removal across the city.

The item was passed on third and final reading after numerous adjustments to specificity and wording throughout the document. Among other things, the paperwork establishes the definition of an abandoned vehicle and their grounds for being removed on both city and private property.

“This ordinance is the culmination of a lot of hard work from Captain [David] Janes from the Cheyenne Police Department, so I just wanted to recognize everything he did,” Ward I councilman Jeff White said before the council’s vote on the ordinance, which passed unanimously. “We all know that abandoned vehicles has become a problem throughout the community, not just one specific ward. While this won’t solve everything, it’ll certainly help. So I’m very happy to support this.”

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In the ordinance, a vehicle is considered to be abandoned if it fits one of four criteria of being left unattended on a highway in excess of 24 hours after a notice of intent to impound has been placed on the vehicle, it’s in an inoperable condition, it’s not registered or it’s left on public or private property for over five days without consent of the property owner. Vehicles left unattended due to weather and/or conditions or “acts of God” will not be considered abandoned.

Any nuisance officer — authorized personnel of the Cheyenne Police Department — who has “reasonable grounds” to remove an abandoned vehicle on public property can move it at the expense of the owner to a storage lot contracted with the city or the Laramie County abandoned motor vehicle lot. If the vehicle has a known owner, the city will inform the individual with written grounds for removal and location of impoundment, of which the owner can redeem the vehicle by paying impoundment-related costs such as towing and storage.

On private property, removal can only occur after the department files a written request to do so to the property owner. However, an exception comes when that individual has four or more abandoned vehicles (considered inoperable or not registered) on the property that are visible from a highway for more than 30 consecutive days. Antique and historic motor vehicles as well as vehicles kept in a garage, used for riprap on waterfronts or used for educational or instructional purposes are exempt, as well as “persons licensed as storage and disposal facilities,” per the document.

Impounded vehicles not claimed by an owner after 30 days — and which have a retail value of over $2,000 — will be sold at public auction. Within one year after a sale, the former owner of the vehicle may recover proceeds from the sale (following the expenses incurred by the city or a contracted tow company involving the vehicle). After filing a claim, the owner will be reimbursed for the amount owed by the entity that performed the sale.