Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 8. Offenses Concerning Highways
7/17/2019

§ 33.2-804. Junkyards; penalty.

A. For the purpose of promoting the public safety, health, welfare, convenience, and enjoyment of public travel, protecting the public investment in public highways, and preserving and enhancing the scenic beauty of lands bordering public highways, it is hereby declared to be in the public interest to regulate and restrict the establishment, operation, and maintenance of junkyards in areas adjacent to the highways within the Commonwealth.

B. As used in this section:

"Automobile graveyard" means any lot or place that is exposed to the weather and upon which more than five motor vehicles of any kind that are incapable of being operated and which it would not be economically practical to make operative are placed, located, or found. The movement or rearrangement of vehicles within an existing lot or facility does not render this definition inapplicable. The provisions established by this subsection shall begin with the first day that the vehicle is placed on the subject property.

"Federal-aid primary highway" means any highway within that portion of the primary state highway system as established and maintained under Article 2 (§ 33.2-310 et seq.) of Chapter 3, including extensions of such system within municipalities that have been approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce pursuant to 23 U.S.C. § 103(b).

"Junk" means old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, batteries, paper, trash, rubber, debris, or waste; junked, dismantled, or wrecked automobiles or parts thereof; and old or scrap iron, steel, or other ferrous or nonferrous material.

"Junkyard" means an establishment or place of business that is maintained, operated, or used for storing, keeping, buying, or selling junk or for the maintenance or operation of an automobile graveyard. "Junkyard" includes garbage dumps and sanitary landfills.

"National Highway System" means the federal-aid highway system referenced in 23 U.S.C. § 103 and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, which includes those highways that are designated as such by congressional action or designation by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Prior to congressional approval or designation by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, highways classified as National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, Interstate System, or federal-aid primary highways as that system existed on June 1, 1991, shall be considered as the National Highway System.

"Primary highway" means any highway within the primary state highway system as established and maintained under Article 2 (§ 33.2-310 et seq.) of Chapter 3, including extensions of such system within municipalities.

"Visible" means capable of being seen without visual aid by a person of normal visual acuity.

C. No junkyard shall be established any portion of which is within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any National Highway System highway or primary highway or within 500 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any other highway or city street, except the following:

1. Junkyards that are screened by natural objects, plantings, fences, or other appropriate means so as not to be visible from the main-traveled way of the highway or city street or otherwise removed from sight.

2. Junkyards that are located in areas that are zoned for industrial use under authority of state law or in unzoned industrial areas as determined by the Board.

3. Junkyards that are not visible from the main-traveled way of the highway or city street.

D. Any junkyard lawfully in existence on April 4, 1968, that is within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way and visible from the main-traveled way of any interstate or federal-aid primary highway, and not located within an industrial area, shall be screened, if feasible, by the Commissioner of Highways at locations on the highway right-of-way or in areas acquired for such purposes outside the right-of-way, so as not to be visible from the main-traveled way of such highways.

Any junkyard lawfully in existence on April 4, 1968, that is within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any other primary highway or within 500 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any other highway and visible from the main-traveled way of such highway, and not located within an industrial area, may be screened by the Commissioner of Highways in the same manner as junkyards adjacent to National Highway System highways.

The Commissioner of Highways is authorized to acquire by purchase, gift, or the power of eminent domain such lands or interests in lands as may be necessary to provide adequate screening of such junkyards.

E. When the Commissioner of Highways determines that the topography of the land adjoining a National Highway System highway will not permit adequate screening of such junkyards or the screening of such junkyards would not be economically feasible, the Commissioner of Highways shall have the authority to acquire by gift, purchase, or the power of eminent domain such interests in lands as may be necessary to secure the relocation, removal, or disposal of the junkyards and to pay for the costs of their relocation, removal, or disposal. When the Commissioner of Highways determines that the topography of the land adjoining any other highway will not permit adequate screening or such would not be feasible, the Commissioner of Highways may exercise the same authority to relocate such junkyards as is vested in him in regard to National Highway System highways.

F. Any junkyard that comes into existence after April 4, 1968, and that cannot be made to conform to this section is declared to be a public and private nuisance and may be forthwith removed, obliterated, or abated by the Commissioner of Highways or his representatives. The Commissioner of Highways may collect the cost of such removal, obliteration, or abatement from the person owning or operating the junkyard.

G. The Board is authorized to enter into agreements with the United States as provided in 23 U.S.C. § 136 with respect to control of junkyards.

H. The Commissioner of Highways shall not be required to expend any funds for screening or relocation under this section unless and until federal-aid matching funds are made available for this purpose.

I. Any person violating any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 33-279.3; 1958, c. 552; 1962, c. 8; 1966, c. 485; 1968, c. 240; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-348; 1973, c. 328; 2005, c. 291; 2013, c. 127; 2014, c. 805.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.