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Old February 27th, 2008, 09:06 AM   #1
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Default SEMA legislation -backyard restoration

This was posted on MOPAR muscle magazine.
My boss is mentioned in it, as he's intro'd legislation pertinent to Michigan. I'll keep you posted on its progress.

Pending State Legislation Would Allow Backyard Restoration

Members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus are again demonstrating their support for the hobbyist community by introducing legislation that would provide safeguards for individuals who restore or maintain inoperable vehicles on private property. Based on SEMA-model language, the legislation requires that vehicles be concealed outside of ordinary public view.

Michigan State Senator Ron Jelinek, Utah State Representative Neal Hendrickson and Washington State Senator Mike Carrell have each introduced a version of the SEMA model in their respective legislatures. SEMA Action Network (SAN) members and car clubs in these states are encouraged to contact these lawmakers to provide support in these efforts.
“It is vital that we rally behind these lawmakers who are working on our behalf,” said SEMA Action Network Director Jason Tolleson. “They face stiff opposition from local governments, zoning boards and other municipal organizations that, in recent years, have made increasing efforts to limit hobbyist activities.”

In addition to several city and county proposals, state lawmakers in West Virginia have introduced legislation this year to establish restrictions on these so-called backyard restoration projects.

Often, removal of these vehicles from private property is enforced through local nuisance laws with minimal or no notice to the owner. Elected officials develop these initiatives based on the notion that inoperable vehicles are eyesores that adversely affect property values or constitute health hazards. Many such laws are drafted broadly, allowing for the confiscation of vehicles being repaired or restored. For the purposes of these proposed bills, “inoperable vehicles” are most often defined as those on which the engine, wheels or other parts have been removed, altered, damaged or allowed to deteriorate so that the vehicle cannot be driven.

“We believe that clear legal distinctions must be drawn between an owner using private property as a dumping ground and a vehicle enthusiast working to maintain, restore or construct a vehicle,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald.

The SEMA-model legislation provides such safeguards for hobbyists to work on collector vehicles on private property and establish reasonable provisions that vehicles be located out of public view. A copy of the bill can be downloaded at

In working to present this issue to your elected officials, our experience indicates that it will be helpful to make the following preparations:
• Build a coalition of interested clubs, businesses and local organizations.
• Host positive and proactive meetings with city, county and state officials to address the issue.
• Propose fair alternative language that benefits both the hobbyist and the community (e.g. screened from ordinary public view by means of a suitable fence, trees, shrubbery, etc.)
• Garner support from local media.
• Be persistent in your efforts.
For additional assistance in pursing the SEMA model in your area, please contact the SEMA Government Affairs Office at 202/783-6007, ext. 39 or by e-mail at
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