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Abandoned vehicles must be removed from Ocracoke by Dec. 20

Many vehicles on Ocracoke Island were flooded during Hurricane Dorian and many have since been abandoned along the side of the roads within the village and on National Park Service property. Many of these vehicles are in the North Carolina Department of Transportation right of way north of the Village, which is on NPS property.

All vehicles within the boundaries of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore must be removed by Dec. 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.

For vehicles located outside of NPS boundaries, currently, Hyde County has an abandoned vehicle ordinance that grants the county the authority to remove abandoned vehicles from county property. Hyde County proposed an amendment to the abandoned vehicle ordinance at the Dec. 2 Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting that will further allow Hyde County to take possession of and dispose of abandoned vehicles throughout the County.

This proposed ordinance will be in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 153A-132 and will allow Hyde County the authority needed to include removal of these flooded and abandoned vehicles in our 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 proposed amendment was not voted on and will be discussed again at the January Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting.

To avoid being cited by NPS 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. This is not an endorsement for either company but is simply informational. Owners can contract with any tow company of their choice.