After continued discussion and re-looking at the ordinance, the township council unanimously approved the introduction of one concerning unregistered vehicles found on public and quasi-public properties.
“We are only looking from a police standpoint to enforce this on quasi-public properties and public land,” said Bridgewater Township Police Chief Richard Borden. “We are not looking to go on someone’s private land.”
This was a concern expressed by the council when the ordinance was first discussed for the police to use its license plate readers to find unregistered vehicles that are parked. Currently, the township’s code only allows police to ticket for unregistered vehicles during a motor vehicle stop.
This ordinance will allow the police to identify unregistered vehicles that are parked in public lots.
As for the places where this will be enforced, Borden said, it would be on public properties, as well as quasi-public ones, which are those that are owned by companies, but are open to the public, such as the mall, schools, library and other locations.
“We want this to be perfectly clear so there is no gray area,” he said.
In addition, Borden said, there had been confusion about whether the police could take immediate action if it finds an unregistered vehicle.
Wording in the ordinance, Borden said, was altered to indicate that a summons could be issued immediately, and the owner of the vehicle will have to move the car within 48 hours or risk being towed.
The ordinance had previously been misleading, Borden said, and sounded as though the police could only ticket 48 hours after finding the vehicle.
“We can take immediate action [with a summons], but would not tow the vehicle right away,” he said. “There would be a 48-hour window for the owner to move the car once it is ticketed.”
If the vehicle is not picked up from the towing company, it goes to public auction.
The fine for a summons for an unregistered vehicle is no more than $54.
Public hearing for the ordinance will be held July 18.