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Sunnyside to adopt ordinance banning car repairs on streets

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Assistant City Manager/City Attorney Mark Kunkler (R) gives the oath of office to new Sunnyside City Manager Robert Stockwell during Monday night's Sunnyside City Council meeting. Stockwell began his new position as city manager on Monday.

The City of Sunnyside currently has no ordinance on its books prohibiting people from performing vehicle repairs on public right-of-ways. That is about to change.

At Monday night's meeting, the Sunnyside City Council voted unanimously to move forward with adopting an ordinance prohibiting people from repairing any vehicle on a public street. Council is set to adopt the ordinance at the Monday, May 10, meeting.

The issue came to light during an April Council meeting when Councilman Don Vlieger asked staff to look into the matter of what the city can do to stop people from repairing their vehicles on the streets.

The new ordinance basically will prohibit local residents from performing any vehicle repairs, including changing oil, on any street, sidewalk or public right-of-way. The new ordinance does allow for such repairs to take place in case of an emergency.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar had a few concerns about the new ordinance. First, she wanted to know how this ordinance would be enforced in areas that don't have sidewalks. She also shared with Council that numerous people have called her, voicing their concerns that the city is trying to nit-pick at residents, telling them how to live their lives. Aguilar said she didn't feel the Council was trying to pester residents, but felt the issue before members could be enforced from a safety standpoint.

Vlieger said people simply need to do any kind of vehicle repairs on their own property or take their cars to a garage. Vlieger said most cities have an ordinance like the one before Council, banning residents from doing vehicle repairs on public streets.

"This is not just a public safety issue," said Vlieger. It is a public nuisance issue. I think it is just common sense."

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