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Auto Repair and sales Bubba's hobby?

giff57

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At what point is working on old cars and selling them a residential zone a business and not hobby? This is getting to be a problem. I get complaints and send out a letter, then Bubba comes in and says "It's not a business, it's my hobby". So I'm stuck.

We discussed adopting some sort of ordinance for the number of cars allowed in yards, but what about mom, dad and three or four kids with cars?

Has anyone else dealt with this mess? I hope I have posted enough here not to suffer the wrath of El Guapo!
 

Mary

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The way I've seen to deal with them is to limit people to one non running vehicle. This way the person who has a broken down car or who really does it for a hobby is OK but people doing it in large numbers have a problem. Another method if you want to let the collector do his things is to only allow one non-operational vehicle visible from the public ROW. It doesn't help the neighbors but it helps the appearance of the neighborhood as a whole.
 

NHPlanner

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The state of NH limits any lot to 2 unregistered vehicles without getting local and state approval. I'll see if I can look up the statute for you in the next day or so.
 

Chet

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Mary has the same approach that we take -- limiting unregistered or inoperative vehicles. Check your state statutes for the number of vehicles an individual can sell per year without registering as a dealer - at that point they become a business in our eyes and can't operate in residential areas.
 

mike gurnee

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Our zoning restricts this to one vehicle being worked on by an occupant of the dwelling working on a personally owned vehicle. If in a garage, we don't care except major body work and painting are prohibited.

For enforcement, it should be in a free standing nuisance code, not zoning.

As for vehicle sales, your state vehicle registration and/or revenue department may have some standards--they like to get their taxes.
 

giff57

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bturk said:
Mary has the same approach that we take -- limiting unregistered or inoperative vehicles. Check your state statutes for the number of vehicles an individual can sell per year without registering as a dealer - at that point they become a business in our eyes and can't operate in residential areas.
We limit unregistered and inoperable vehicles, problem is when they have several registered operating ones displayed. I may try to keep them out of the front yard. As for the State regs, I've done that. In my current case, the guy has only sold one in the last year, so that will not work. We have notified the person that enforces the State rules to keep an eye on this guy.

Thanks
 

el Guapo

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Well, that depends...

If a ‘73Chevy Impala is being used as a chicken coop does it merit an Ag exemption? - Real question once addressed at a former job.

In my state the issue is addressed by the state department of transportation. Ten or more vehicles without current tags and you have to comply with Department of Transportation regulations for a salvage yard (expensive). Our DOT is mean and effective. You can keep all you want with current tags. They don't have to run, just have tags.

There is even a non-highway title you can get for very little money. The idea being that in some places you can drive all day and not leave your own property.

County zoning regulations allow up to six untagged vehicles per lot. Generous, Yes! But not enough for some folks.

City regulations depend upon your ethnicity. ;)

Never-ever-ever count farm equipment! There is a God given right to have all the junk farm equipment you want rusting in your yard. Moses came down with the Ag exemption to common sense inscribed upon a tablet. Check the Old Testament for yourself. It is there in Ridiculous 12-131.
 

Lee Nellis

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Home Sweet Home?

That photo looks a lot like some neighborhoods I have lived in -- and they weren't such bad places. I often wonder if people shouldn't be required to buy the "cosmetics" of the neighborhoods through covenants while public planning concentrates on more important, long run issues …
 

Richmond Jake

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Hey giff....is that a '69 Camero on Bubba's front lawn? That ride is a classic!!!
 

donk

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What about using your home occupation / home business section of your zoning by-law?

Most of the by-laws I read when redoing our by-law talked about ideas related to "parking and traffic in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood".

Definitions of home occupations and businesses typically included ideas related to "for gain". If he makes money at his hobby, it is actually a business whether he wants to admit it or not.

If the vehicles are parked in the public ROW then call the parking enforcement people, they may be able to help.
 

giff57

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RichmondJake said:
Hey giff....is that a '69 Camero on Bubba's front lawn? That ride is a classic!!!
Yes, it is.... I have a friend that collects 67-69 Cameros, he just doesn't keep them in his front yard.
 

giff57

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donk said:
Definitions of home occupations and businesses typically included ideas related to "for gain". If he makes money at his hobby, it is actually a business whether he wants to admit it or not.
If I could prove that I'd have no problem....

If the vehicles are parked in the public ROW then call the parking enforcement people, they may be able to help.
Parking in that location is legal here unless posted otherwise.
 

mike gurnee

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El Guapo, move from the county to city jurisdiction. This week we had an instance of a "dog house" disguised as a rusted and camouflage painted Scout.
 

el Guapo

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You got it backwards Mike

The dog is guarding the Scout, not living in it. Them things is valuable.

PS. Where is it and how did the rear quarter pannels look?
 

donk

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one more suggestion

Here is another, less formal response / off the wall suggestion.

Take some of the VIN's and the license plates to the motor vehicle registrar and get an ownership history of the cars. if the vehicle was aquired from the local auction house then the guy is "recognized" by the industry as a commercial reseller of vehicles. This may help your case.

good luck
 

Dan

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Hobby? Yeah, I've heard that before.

What about a "graphic designer" whose "hobby" is designing billboards, which they display in the front yard of his residentially zoned property? What about a group of women whose "hobby" is disrobing in front of men, and they just happen to do it from their house?

Sorry -- "hobby" is just some creative wordsmithing on the part fo the violator. Your zoning or municipal code must define auto sales somewhere. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck ...
 

giff57

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Dan Tasman said:
Hobby? Yeah, I've heard that before.
Sorry -- "hobby" is just some creative wordsmithing on the aprt fo the violator. Your zoning or municipal code must define auto sales somewhere. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck ...

No, we don't define that anywhere. We are checking his claim that he only sold one car last year with the State DOT, but they are slower than us, so who knows when we might hear from them. I think the approach we have to take is on the display of the cars. That would be easier than trying to prove sales.

I am working on some sort of wording that limits the number of cars in the yards, that does not interfere with mom, dad, and 3-4 kids who all drive. Anyone have somthing like that?
 

Mary

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If they all run. are all licensed, and he's not selling them I've got a feeling that you've got a problem there is just no way to distinquish a collector from regular owners and still be fair. At least none that I'm aware of.
 

Linden Smith

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This may be a slightly different tack, but, if that is a public street then he has several cars parked in the ROW. Your general municiple code should have something about parking within the public ROW, and he could be ticketed for illegal parking.

Other than that, every car should be licenced, registered and insured, or stored indoors, within the city limits. Of course, writing that into the code now does you no good with this case.
 

giff57

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Linden Smith said:
This may be a slightly different tack, but, if that is a public street then he has several cars parked in the ROW. Your general municiple code should have something about parking within the public ROW, and he could be ticketed for illegal parking.

Other than that, every car should be licenced, registered and insured, or stored indoors, within the city limits. Of course, writing that into the code now does you no good with this case.
We've gotten ourselves in a bit of a pickle over the parking on the ROW strip. We had to allow parking on that grass strip when we removed on-street parking to facilitate snow removal. There are many homes in the older part of town that had no off-street parking, and no way to create any, so we had to allow parking in that area....Oh well...next time the neighbors call, I'll just tell them that they are screwed.
 

el Guapo

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Sense of the absurd

Giff,
The Planning God giveth, and the Planning God taketh away.
Who knows the mind of the Planning God?

Perhaps a good long term solution is to have the snow removal team spray extra salt in this area. Misdirecting the salt onto these vehicles could eventually return them to the earth from which they came. In ten years nothing but glass and engine blocks.

;)
 

Mary

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If the cars qualify as nuisances (abandon vehicle, junk vehicles things like that) then if you address it under a nuisance ordiance you can actually still deal with the problem even if it's preexisiting or so said some case law I read a couple of years ago.

Good luck
 
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