Seized cars back on city resident’s property|[7/8/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2006

A pair of antique cars towed by the city in March were back on their owner’s Washington Street property Friday – though not necessarily in compliance with the same zoning codes that led to their removal four months ago.

Mark Werner paid Bell’s Towing Wednesday to release his 1947 Chevrolet truck and 1958 MG Coupe and return the vehicles to 2400 Washington St., the former longtime home of Mississippi Hardware Co., said Bell’s Towing manager Margaret Vickers.

The vehicles had been in impound for just shy of four months at a $20 per day rate established by contract with the city, Vickers said, which adds up to a bill of about $2,360, plus moving fees.

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The car and truck were towed March 9 under a city ordinance banning inoperable vehicles from remaining on a property without being moved for seven days. A letter sent to Werner last August cited seven other zoning violations against the boarded-up building and surrounding property.

Werner filed an appeal to the city’s action two weeks after the cars were towed, which remains pending in Warren County Justice Court, said city attorney Bobby Robinson.

&#8220If he doesn’t get the cars moving with current tags, yes, they can be towed again,” Mayor Laurence Leyens said Friday from Georgia, where he is vacationing this week with his family. &#8220I don’t know if they will be. I don’t tell my code enforcement people what to do. But they’re subject to being towed.”

Inspector Victor Gray-Lewis, head of city code enforcement, was unable to be reached by phone Friday.

Werner, who has said he does not own a telephone, was also unavailable for comment.

&#8220All the city tried to do under ordinance is tow them because they’re under violation of the ordinance,” Robinson said. &#8220If you violate it again, that would be another case