James City County would have the power to further regulate junk cars on private property, should a bill introduced by Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg become law.
Senate Bill 1408 would amend the county’s charter to authorize it to prohibit residents from storing inoperable vehicles in view on properties 2 acres or smaller that are zoned for residential, commercial or agricultural proposes.
The restriction, which includes trailers and semitrailers, doesn’t apply to vehicles “shielded or screened from view,” according to the bill’s summary.
The bill’s impetus came from the concerns of “two or three” county neighborhoods without homeowners associations looking for help in policing junk cars in their communities, Mason said.
If made into law, the bill would fulfill one item on the Board of Supervisors’s legislative agenda — an annual wish list of legislation.
In November, supervisors met with Mason and the Historic Triangle’s other General Assembly representatives to discuss the agenda.
In past years, the county has unsuccessfully tried to increase its power to regulate junk vehicles.
The charter change would allow James City to regulate inoperative vehicles as per an existing section of the state code that allows about 20 other localities to consider a vehicle inoperative if it lacks a valid inspection sticker or has invalid license plates or is not operational. The section doesn’t apply to licensed junkyards, car dealers or scrap processors.
As things stand now, the county’s ability to regulate vehicles is governed by another section of the code, which requires both inspection stickers and license plates be invalid, or the vehicle be broken down or disassembled before the county can do anything.
During the 2018 session, Del. Brenda Pogge, R-Norge, voted against Senate Bill 454, which would have added James City to the section of state code it desired to have more power to regulate inoperative vehicles. That bill failed to pass the House.
“The concern, which I think was misguided, was that we we’re going after agricultural vehicles,” Mason said. “It takes agricultural concerns entirely off the table.”
But in November, Pogge seemed to warm to the charter change given the property-size limit, saying her rural constituents opposed SB 454.
“The less than 2 acres gives me a lot more comfort,” Pogge said in November.
The bill is currently sitting in the Senate’s Local Government committee. It’s expected to be considered by the committee Tuesday.
Jack Jacobs, 757-298-6007, firstname.lastname@example.org, @jajacobs_