City cuts down on number of military-owned abandoned vehicles

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has more tools to deal with abandoned vehicles left behind by service members.

Now, men and women in the military must fill out a more extensive form when they register their vehicles with the city.

"In the past they just gave us their rank, branch and unit. We have revised the form for military to include out of state information — Department of Defense ID numbers and email contacts," said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the Department of Customer Services.

The change was instituted as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over claims the city disposed of abandoned vehicles owned by troops who were on active duty.

Under the settlement, if a service member's vehicle is towed, the city issues a notice to the last known address and allots 60 days for the vehicle to be claimed before initiating court proceeding for disposal.

The changes have made it easier to clear vehicles from temporary storage lots the city created last year in the parking lots at West Loch and Ewa Villages golf courses.

"We have waivers signed on several of them. Several of them we have determined as derelict and we can remove them immediately. Others we are going to have to seek court waivers. We went from close to 600 vehicles to under 200," Kajiwara said.

Kajiwara expects the remaining vehicles to be cleared and the towing lots taken down before the end of the year.

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