SEMA Pro-Hobbyist Inoperable Vehicle Bill
(Washington, D.C., Apr. 1, 2005) - - SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, announced that model legislation drafted by the association to place limits on public nuisance ordinances that prevent automobile collectors from pursuing their hobby was signed into law by Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher. Under the new law, junked, wrecked or inoperable vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private property would only be required to be maintained out of ordinary public view. It would apply to owners or occupants of land in a city, county, or unincorporated area.
States and localities often enforce strict property or zoning laws that include restrictions on visible inoperable automobile bodies and parts. 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 based on the notion that inoperable vehicles are eyesores that adversely affect property values. Many such laws are drafted broadly, allowing for the confiscation of vehicles being repaired or restored.
“We believe that clear legal distinctions must be drawn between an owner using private property as a dumping ground and a vehicle enthusiast working to maintain, restore or construct a vehicle,” said SEMA VP Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “This new Kentucky law as written by SEMA provides safeguards for hobbyists to work on collector vehicles on private property and establishes reasonable provisions that vehicles be located out of public view.”
The new law applies to automobile collectors, defined as those who collect and restore motor vehicles whether as a hobby or a profession. To comply, collectors would maintain hobby cars out of ordinary public view, a sight line within normal visual range by a person on a public street or sidewalk adjacent to the private property. This provision would be achieved by means of suitable fencing, trees, shrubbery, etc.
“To Kentucky’s credit, state legislators were willing to work with us and the state’s hobbyist community to create reasonable and fair compromise legislation permitting outdoor storage of hobby cars and parts if they are maintained in such a manner as not to constitute a health and safety hazard. We are especially indebted to Representative Mike Denham for spearheading this effort.”