NORTH ADAMS — Starting Monday, city officials will begin ticketing junk and unregistered cars that are visible to the public, in the first step toward removal.

City code prohibits storage of junk or unregistered vehicles in plain view of the public, according to Michael Canales, administrative officer. But for years the city has not had a vendor to tow and store vehicles in violation.

And a lack of enforcement, Canales noted, "has done nothing to prevent the growth in junk cars appearing around town."

Inspectors from the Department of Inspection Services will leave a ticket on any vehicle in violation — in yards, driveways and on the street. Any car that obviously is inoperable will be tagged as a junker. The owner will have three days to dispose of it, or move it into a shed or garage, before it is towed. The owner then would be issued a citation and would be responsible to pay for the tow and storage fees.

An unregistered vehicle also will get a ticket, although the owner will have six months to get it registered or moved into a shed or garage, Canales noted.

The city zoning ordinance defines unregistered and junk vehicles as follows:

"Unregistered Motor Vehicle: Any motor vehicle required to be registered by law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for operation on public ways not so registered. Junk Motor Vehicle: Any motor vehicle not capable of being used as such in its existing condition by reason of being damaged or dismantled beyond repair or failing to contain parts necessary for operation."

Canales said it has become an issue in some neighborhoods.

"There are a lot of them," he said. "They are eyesores and cause chemical contamination. They also affect property values and tarnish the city's image. We prefer not to tow any, but we feel that once we start enforcement, this issue will take care of itself."

Scott Stafford can be reached at or 413-629-4517.