By Linda Dillman
A derelict van sitting in a Canal Winchester Walmart parking lot was fodder for discussion by Canal Winchester City Council at its first meeting of the new year.
Councilman Patrick Shea shared a photo of the vehicle with council describing the van as having a flat tire, shredded bumper, broken mirror and no license plate visible.
“I know for a fact it’s been there for at least a month,” said Shea, who said a sheriff’s deputy told him there was nothing their department could do about it.
However, Shea wanted action and thinks the city should take care of the problem. Law Director Thaddeus Boggs said there is an impoundment ordinance in the city’s code.
“It could be towed as an abandoned junk vehicle or on the basis it does not have current plates,” said Boggs, “or if Walmart has indicated they haven’t given permission for this vehicle to stand there.”
According to Boggs, if the city initiates the towing, Canal Winchester would be responsible for the cost. Mayor Mike Ebert added that part of the problem is getting a towing company to tow it and not be liable for it.
Public Service Director Matt Peoples said the city does have a relationship with a local towing company, but there are provisions that must be in place before they do anything.
Under the city code as written, there is authority to move the car and have it placed in a tow lot. Boggs said the practice of dealing with a towing company is not as easy as the law is written.
“I live in Canal Winchester because I want to live in a nice place and not look at things like this because they were common in areas where I grew up,” said Shea, “and I’d really like to see it out of here because we have the authority to do it. I read the charter and it says council is responsible for police services. We’ve been talking about a police study and having enough officers. I’ll keep pushing because it’s what I was elected to do.”
Ebert asked council members to send photos, like the one shared by Shea, to city administrators during the week so they are not surprised during council meetings.
“When you bring something like that up and ask why hasn’t it been taken care of, we know nothing about it,” said Ebert. “That can be on anything.”
Canal Winchester’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area will officially open for business Jan. 13. Development Director Lucas Haire said the city is just waiting on additional trash cans, but signs are going up now. He added that business owners within the designated area have the right to not allow DORA beverages in their businesses if they so desire.