NAACC Guide to Working with Your Local Government.
Concerns include localities currently enforcing or attempting to legislate strict property or zoning laws that include restrictions on visible inoperable automobile bodies and related parts.
Often, removal of these vehicles from private property is enforced through local nuisance laws with minimal or no notice to the owner. Jurisdictions enact these laws for a variety of reasons, most particularly because they believe:
- Inoperable vehicles are eyesores that adversely affect property values.
- Inoperable vehicles pose a health risk associated with leaking fluids and chemicals.
- To discourage back yard salvage operations.
Many such laws are drafted broadly, allowing for the confiscation of vehicles being repaired or restored.
For the purposes of these laws, “inoperable vehicles” are most often defined as those on which the engine, wheels or other parts have been removed, altered, damaged or allowed to deteriorate so that the vehicle cannot be driven. The following are some common conditions that cause vehicles to be in violation of these laws:
- Missing tires
- Vehicle on blocks
- Front windshield missing
- No engine
- Steering wheel missing
- Driveshaft hanging down
- License plate with expired registration date
- No license tag
The NAACC, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation believes that clear legal distinctions must be drawn between an owner using private property as a dumping ground or salvage operation and a vehicle enthusiast working to maintain, restore or construct a vehicle. An active coalition of enthusiasts will find that in some cases it will be possible to successfully kill onerous laws that allow governmental authorities to remove inoperable vehicles with minimal notice.
In other instances, however, it will be necessary to negotiate reasonable and fair compromise legislation. In these cases, enthusiast groups might consider supporting legislation that permits the outdoor storage of a motor vehicle if the vehicle is maintained in such a manner as not to constitute a health hazard.
In addition, these vehicles could be located away from public view, or screened by means of a suitable fence, trees, shrubbery, opaque covering or other appropriate means. This would help appease those who believe these vehicles to be eyesores.
A model inoperable vehicle Bill or By-Law might contain the following elements:
- An explicit provision prohibiting a local area from adopting or implementing an ordinance or land use regulation that prohibits a person from engaging in the activities of an automobile collector in an area zoned by the municipality.
- A definition of collector vehicles that includes parts cars.
- A provision allowing an automobile collector to conduct mechanical repairs and modifications to a vehicle on private property.
- A provision mandating that government authorities provide actual notice to the vehicle’s last registered owner and provide an opportunity for voluntary compliance prior to confiscation.
- A provision mandating due process of the law (adequate notice, right to a hearing, etc.) prior to the removal of a vehicle from private property.
Experience indicates that it will be helpful to make a few preparations when you are working in your Province or locality to modify damaging proposed inoperable vehicle language:
- Develop a specialty vehicle definition (e.g. vehicle is 20 years old or older, use the NAACC guidelines; limited production vehicle; special interest vehicle, etc.).
- Build a coalition of interested clubs and organizations in your locality.
- Propose fair alternative language that benefits both the hobbyist and the community (e.g. screened from ordinary public view by means of a suitable fence, trees, shrubbery, etc.)
- Garner support from local media.
- Be persistent in your efforts.
- Always remember that we as old car owners also have a responsibility to keep our yards and property from becoming unsightly.
Most Important: Ask to be included on Government committees as a concerned ‘stakeholder’.
Collector Car Appreciation Day and Automotive Heritage Month History
Thirteen years ago, the NAACC entered into discussions with SEMA/SAN director Steve MacDonald and SEMA’s Colby Martin. SEMA proposed having Collector Car Appreciation Day and the NAACC proposed Automotive Heritage Month. Tom Woodhouse, SK NAACC Director, suggested at an AGM that the NAACC introduce Automotive Heritage Month across Canada and invite SEMA to be part of movement. One year later,12 years ago, in 2009 both Collector Car Appreciation Day and Automotive Heritage Month were established by SEMA/SAN & the NAACC.
2021 marks the twelfth consecutive year & joint venture. Every English-speaking Province in Canada has declared and issued Proclamations or recognitions in Canada. This is a wonderful way to recognize the collector hobby and acknowledge the millions of dollars the hobby has donated to various charities. This is a wonderful way to acknowledge our historical background and bring joy to our local communities by supporting their causes. Always remember that SEMA is the umbrella of legislative protection in the USA and that the NAACC is the umbrella of protection for Canada. I reflect back with gratitude to both of these organizations for what they have done for our hobby. The removal of Federal Duties and the right to import vehicles 25 years old or older into Canada duty free was truly significant, being able to use Lacquer based paint for repair and the continued use of leaded racing fuel and the legal use of nitrous oxide combined with the right to drive our older vehicles on the public Federal Highways in Canada are all projects that the NAACC and its supporting clubs have dealt with over the years. On behalf of the Board of Directors I want to thank you for your continued support. In 2022 the NAACC Coasters Tour will take place. The Tour travels from Newfoundland to Victoria BC. NAACC Director Fraser Field and his wife Dorothy are the wagon masters.
In closing I urge to stay safe, drive your old cars and follow your Provincial protocols.