Abatement program funds ‘extreme tows’ | TheUnion.com

Abatement program funds ‘extreme tows’

Dave Brooksher
Staff Writer

County and United States Forest Service personnel towed six abandoned vehicles Friday afternoon, using funding from the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement (AVA) program.

Rick Weaver, a hydrologist with the USFS, says they focused on vehicles that would normally get left behind.

"The vehicles that Nevada County and the forest service are removing are considered 'extreme tows,' which are usually in isolated areas where the removal costs greatly exceeds the vehicle's value in scrap metal price," Weaver wrote in an email to The Union.

So far this year, only 11 abandoned vehicles have been abated in Nevada County. Over the last 10 years, however, the numbers were more impressive.

According to Gregory Shaffer, a program manager with the county's code compliance office, 3,427 abandoned vehicles have been disposed of in the last decade. Another 5,478 have been tagged and moved after posting a notice on the vehicle and allowing the registered owner 10 days before it gets towed.

"The AVA Program has proven the best means to remove abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles that create a public nuisance and a health or safety hazard," Forest Service hydrologist Rick Weaver told The Union. "The abandoned vehicles are not only a safety hazard and nuisance, but they are causing a degradation of wildlife habitat and watershed health and sometimes an impairment to water quality."

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The program is funded through monies collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles as a $1 surcharge on vehicle registration or renewal for residents in participating counties. Nevada County is one of 37 participating statewide. Neighboring Yuba County also participates in the AVA program.

For a full list of participating counties in the state of California, go to the CHP's website.

To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, send emails to dbrooksher@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

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