Abandoned junk cars target of Franklin Township clean-up

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People who leave abandoned junk cars on their property will soon get a bright yellow notice in the mail.

It's all part of a plan by Franklin Township Trustees to remove 'eyesores' in the community that reduce property values.

The Pontiac Firebird that sits in Kathryn Augenstein’s driveway made the list.

“My family has been involved in cars all their lives," said Augenstein.

The Firebird , which sits crooked in her driveway, is missing a tire. It may look like junk to most people, but not to her.

“I can see if everything is torn apart and laying everywhere, but it's not,” Augenstein said.

The car is her grandson's. It doesn't run and it's not insured, but she says it has sentimental value.

The township says if she doesn't move it, a wrecker will.

Warning noties are going out to two other homeowners with junk cars.

The township estimates it has between 50 and 60 junk cars. Junk cars in Ohio are defined as follows under the revised code:

"Abandoned junk motor vehicle" means any motor vehicle that has been left on private property for forty-eight (48) hours or longer without the permission of the person having the right to possession of the property, on a public or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking, or upon or without the right-of-way of any road or highway, for forty-eight (48) hours or longer; that is three (3) years or older; that is extensively damaged, such damage including but not limited to missing wheels, tires, motor or transmission; that is apparently inoperable; and that has a fair market value of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) or less."

Police Chief Byron Smith is sending officers to homes to let them know of the junk car policy.

“The point of this is not to bother residents or to infringe on their rights. It is to clean up the community,” Smith said.

He says cars with current tags won't be towed and only cars that can be seen from the street qualify. The township has contracted with a tower who will impound the cars and sell them for scrap.

As for Katheryn Augenstein, she plans to get the Pontiac off her property before the city does, but says the Firebird is like family.

Franklin Township trustees plan to vote on the ordinance Thursday to remove junk cars from private property.

Homeowners will receive a certified letter warning them of the decision to tow their cars, at which point they will have 14 days to comply.

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