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Car wars: Pol pitches bill to force city to tow derelict autos

Councilman Alan Maisel says his district is full of cars abandoned without license plates, like this one on Paerdegat Avenue, which his proposed legislation would force the city to tow away within 30 days, clearing badly needed parking spaces for locals.
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He wants the city to tow the line!

Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Marine Park) has penned new legislation that would require the city to haul away cars abandoned without plates within one month of a do-gooder making a complaint, the local pol announced during a Community Board 18 meeting on Oct. 24.

Hundreds of derelict cars have lingered for months on his district’s streets over the years, vexing communities already strapped for parking spaces — so it’s about time the city follow its own rules and tow them away, said Maisel.

“There are a couple of hundred cars that have to be towed, and the city, for whatever reason, has chosen not to take this issue as a priority,” he said. “The legislation is putting the city on the spot to force them to do what they should be doing.”

Currently, once someone files a complaint about an abandoned vehicle without any plates, the Department of Sanitation is supposed to investigate within three days, tag it if it’s a complete wreck, and then remove it within another three days, according to a spokesman for New York’s Strongest. If it looks still in working order, then it’s up to the police department to haul it off, the spokesman said. And the police don’t have a time limit for towing away plateless cars.

The city has fallen short of its duties to address quality-of-life issues such as derelict cars dumped on the street, and it’s leaving locals fed up, said Maisel.

“The city is dealing with murders, burglaries, things like that are the prime mission to take care of, but quality-of-life violations are very difficult for the people that I represent,” said Maisel, who recently counted 25 such cars parked along Paerdegat Ave North in Canarsie. “Four of five cars without license plates on the street being use as a storage depot, it’s infuriating.”

And those numbers are not a red herring — verboten vehicles are a top concern in the local 63rd Precinct‚ whose officers have towed away more than 100 cars in the last two months, said the command’s community affairs officer.

“Chronic, abandoned vehicles is probably one of the top quality-of-life issues in the precinct,” said Thomas Podd. “With numbers like that, it just shows you how many cars are out there.”

One reason the police aren’t quicker to haul away abandoned autos, according to Maisel, is a shortage of tow trucks and a lack of space in impound yards.

Maisel’s bill would require the city to tow away plateless cars, or cars with expired plates, within 30 days of a formal complaint — hiring outside contractors to do the towing, and renting extra storage space if necessary.

The legislation is likely stalled until the new year, however, when Maisel said he will have to reintroduce it, because the current Council session ends next month.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 4:31 pm, December 19, 2017
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