By Kevin Kelley
Just as Cinderella had to get home before midnight or her coach would turn into a pumpkin, residents will need to get their trash bins off the tree lawn before 6 p.m., or the containers will turn into – well, they won’t turn into anything. But a new ordinance under consideration by City Council states that residents should return trash and recycling bins to storage after 6 p.m. on collection days.
The city’s codified ordinances already stated that residents are forbidden from placing trash out for collection before 5 p.m. the day before scheduled collection. The proposed revision of the law sets a deadline on when they must be taken off the tree lawn. The city’s laws do not currently specify when trash containers must be removed from the tree lawn areas.
According to Fairview Park service Director Jim Kennedy, a deadline became necessary after the city’s trash collection contractor, Republic Services, began automated collection of trash and recyclable materials in July 2012. When automated collection began, all homeowners were given two standard bins – a blue one for trash and a green one for recyclable materials.
“For some reason, with the onset of this new program, some people began leaving these containers out on their tree lawns for extended periods, thus resulting in complaints and creation of a blighting influence,” Kennedy said.
Republic Services officials said this had been a problem in other communities in which automated collection had begun, Kennedy said.
The proposed amendment also reiterates that trash containers must be properly stored when not out for collection. That means they should not be seen from the street. The containers must also be kept 10 feet from side property lines and five feet from rear property lines unless screened from the adjacent rear property.
“This amended language gives the city enforcement ability,” Kennedy said of the ordinance, which had its first reading at council’s May 6 meeting. He said warnings would be issued at first to encourage cooperation.
“Rule of reason will apply,” Kennedy said. “Repeated violations will eventually result in citations.”
A violation constitutes a minor misdemeanor; a second violation is a minor misdemeanor of the fourth degree. Each day of violation constitutes a separate offense, under the existing city statute.