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Davenport hoping to add teeth to ordinance to deal with nuisance vehicles

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Davenport City Hall

Davenport City Hall

Davenport is hoping to add teeth to codes on the books that deal with abandoned, junked or unusable cars on streets and in yards with a three-strike system.

Third Ward Alderwoman Marion Meginnis, who backs the new ordinance, said abandoned or junked cars in the street or on front lawns likely was one of the top issues she got phone calls about.

The proposed ordinance, which the City Council will vote on twice more, would allow the city to immediately tow "nuisance" vehicles that are tagged three times within a year with warnings. Previously, the city couldn't tow repeat offenders without notice, which made the ordinance difficult to enforce, Meginnis said.

"What we've tried to do with this new proposed ordinance is make it easier for our staff to enforce the ordinance, basically," Meginnis said. "And to create a class of vehicle that is a nuisance vehicle."

Meginnis said this seemed to be a bigger problem in older neighborhoods, in which homes were built to accommodate fewer cars. 

Nuisance vehicles can be cars, motorcycles, trucks, boats, trailers, etc., that are deemed by the city to be a nuisance under certain criteria. The proposed ordinance excludes licensed junk yards.

A vehicle could be tagged if it:

  • Is not inside a structure like a garage and it can't operate on its own power.
  • Has at least one tire out of operation.
  • Is unattended and elevated on blocks.
  • Has become infested with rats, snakes or other vermin or insects.
  • Is missing a fender, door, hood, steering wheel or trunk top.
  • Has an exposed and dangerous edge.
  • Lacks current registration.
  • Leaks flammable or hazardous fluid.
  • Has been partly or completely dismantled.
  • If it functions largely as a a solid waste container, excluding garbage trucks.
  • Has a dangerous or defective condition that poses a threat to the public health or safety.
  • Is an abandoned vehicle.

Meginnis said the ordinance aligned with the city's property rules. For example, if a resident had debris on their property that violates city code, and it's been reported three times already, the city can clean it up and bill the owner without notice.

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Bettendorf, East Moline, and Silvis Reporter

Sarah is the Davenport, Scott County, and Iowa politics reporter for the Quad-City Times/Dispatch-Argus. A DeWitt native, she graduated from the University of Iowa in 2021 and was editor of the student-run newspaper The Daily Iowan.

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