Hyde County leaders are alerting owners of flooded vehicles abandoned alongside public roadways on Ocracoke Island or on National Park Service property that they need to be removed, or the vehicles will be towed and the owners fined.
Many of the vehicles are in the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s right-of-way for N.C. 12 north of the village, which is also inside Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
The county announced Tuesday that any vehicle abandoned within the Seashore boundaries must be removed by December 20 to avoid citation for illegal dumping.
“NPS does have the legal authority to issue violation notices to the owners of abandoned vehicles and to recover the cost of towing the vehicles off of Cape Hatteras National Seashore property,” according to a Hyde County news release.
To avoid being cited or potentially incurring disposal costs for the removal of vehicles from the village, Hyde County strongly suggests that owners of abandoned or discarded vehicles contract with private towing companies for removal of their property.
In many cases, private tow companies will remove flooded vehicles free of charge. Two private tow companies have been serving Ocracoke: Jarvis Towing Company, (252) 475-4285, and OBX Towing, (252) 588-0001. Owners can contract with any tow company of their choice.
Hyde County also has an abandoned vehicle ordinance that grants the county the authority to remove abandoned vehicles from county property.
An amendment to the ordinance was proposed at the Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting on Dec. 2 that will further allow the county to take possession of and dispose of abandoned vehicles throughout the county.
The proposal falls within the provisions of state General Statute 153A-132, and would allow Hyde County the authority needed to include removal of these flooded and abandoned vehicles in the current Dorian debris removal program.
“That process requires, by law, that we identify the owner of each vehicle and notify the owner of their responsibilities and liabilities in regard to proper legal disposal,” the county said in the statement.
The proposed amendment will be discussed again at the January meeting of Hyde County Commissioners.