A citywide crackdown on abandoned and junked cars is underway, Corbin city officials say – the first step in a wider-ranging effort to improve the appearance of the city.
Corbin Police Chief Carson Mullins said his officers issued 35 courtesy notices and court citations last week and over the weekend to property owners in the city as part of the cleanup.
“It’s one of those things that’s gotten way out of hand,” Mullins said. “Everybody wants their city to be clean and look good. There’s nothing like an old rusty junk car ruining the neighborhood. With everyone’s cooperation, we’re trying our best to correct all of these problems.”
Mullins said two of the property owners cited towed off junk cars on their property before their court dates Tuesday morning. Others have responded similarly because of the citations and notices.
Each courtesy notice gives a property owner seven days to get rid of any junked vehicles. If it isn’t removed, they will be ordered to appear in district court. Violation of a city ordinance forbidding junked or inoperable cars on property in the city carries a penalties of up to a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Corbin Mayor Amos Miller said he estimates that between 100 and 125 junked cars are illegally parked in the city.
“We’ve had these ordinances on the books since 1970. They’ve sent a lot of courtesy notices out in the past because we don’t want anybody to get in trouble, but it didn’t help,” he said. “It’s time to start enforcing some ordinances we have on the books.”
Miller said it would probably take about three to six months to clean up a problem that has mounted over decades.
Miller said he’s already received some complaints from residents who were either cited or received courtesy notices.
Mullins said there’s been minor resistance to the effort as well.
“Like anything else, nobody likes to get citations or warnings or anything like that. It’s kind of that authority thing,” Mullins said. “We’ve had some disgruntled people, but overall everyone has taken it in stride.”
City Commissioner Alan Onkst, who has complained publicly about lax enforcement of property maintenance ordinances in the city, said he feels people will overwhelmingly support the move.
“I have griped and jumped up and down about it for years and haven’t been able to get much done,” he said. “I think it will be popular with the majority. The vast majority of people in this community take care of their property and take pride in their property. I think we just have a select number of people who don’t care.”
“In the past, we’ve kind of condoned it and in our own indirect way, promoted it. Habits are tough to break. I think once we get them out of the way, it won’t be an issue.”
Miller said the crackdown is addressing issues a newly-formed Code Enforcement Board will handle beginning in 2005. The board has the ability to enforce city ordinances that regulate property.
“I’m hoping there’s going to be a snowball effect,” Miller said. “Once people sees we are trying to do the right things and trying to make our city clean the way it used to be, they’ll support it. We want to change some attitudes.”
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