LaFayette City Council, during is Nov. 13 meeting, adopted a new ordinance that clarifies its laws on junk vehicles. The vote was unanimous (5-0).

Codes enforcement officials had maintained that the old ordinance didn't clearly define what is and isn't acceptable, which they said paved the way for owners of junk vehicles to skirt the law, City Attorney Ron Womack said.

Womack said the new ordinance is more streamline, providing clearer definitions and a better process for removing junk vehicles. Violators are cited to municipal court, where the judge can order the vehicle removed, impose a fine, or incarcerate the violator.

Womack said the ordinance allows the city to remove a vehicle if it isn't removed in the time ordered by the court. The vehicle owner must pay the cost of removal.

The ordinance addresses vehicles that are: abandoned; discarded (wholly or partially); dismantled; wrecked; scraped; ruined; missing material parts (such as windshields, hood, lights); missing items (such as the motor, transmission, wheels and tires) that render the vehicle inoperable; missing a current license tag or registration.

"Basically if it is outside and can be seen and (if) it meets one of those nine nuisances, then the codes department has the right to enforce getting rid of it," ," Mayor Andy Arnold said."

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.