Examined Changes To The Trash Rules

The Community Improvement Committee of Bowling Green met Monday night with a focus on storage of trash containers. The discussion spilled over into the following City Council meeting.

At the committee meeting, Public Works Director Brian Craft gave a presentation of proposed changes to the codified ordinance regarding handling trash and recyclables and in particular the storage of those totes when not at the curb for pickup.

Craft clarified that some of the language in the current document needed to be updated, such as the language defining brush and trees. Residents were reminded that grass, leaves and sod are prohibited from collection in trash bins and during brush pickup.

Committee and council member John Zanfardino said one of his goals is to make the issues easier to understand.

“If we’re going to have a rule, let’s have it as clear as possible,” Zanfardino said. “If we don’t try to address these issues, we’re letting down the property owners.”

The major consensus of both council members and members of the public who spoke was, except for pickup days, there should be no trash containers at the front of a residence.

Corner lots technically have two front yards, so there was some discussion about if clearly the side of the home could be considered a side yard for the purpose of storing waste container totes.

Another committee member Robert McOmber, said overflowing the bins should be illegal and offenders should be held accountable.

There was also discussion about the delivery service provided by the city for those who have a disability. For those who qualify for the service, the city employees will pick up the large wheeled tote within a specified distance and return it.

McOmber summarized, “We need to give it some more thought on some of these points but I am sure we don’t need garbage cans in the front of a house.”

Committee chairman Daniel Gordon told Craft and those in attendance, “We will each send word to (Craft) about what we would like to see included from the public’s comments and then have another meeting for the final draft of the revisions.”

During the lobby visitation of the regular council meeting, members of the People of Engagement Bowling Green (PEBG) spoke on the issue and offered a pictorial display of some problem areas.

At issue for the PEBG group was primarily the aesthetics, but it went further and deeper as far as the image it portrays for the entire community.

The women who spoke noted the embarrassment they felt when they had guests and had to walk by some of the problem areas along the route to downtown. They spoke of bags of garbage in yards attempted to be hidden by cars, the dumping of old tires and appliances, and tattered and worn furniture on porches to name just a few of the problems.

They noted while it is prominent on the east side of the city, it is also now seen in other parts of town.

Councilwoman Sandy Rowland added her support for not allowing any garbage cans out front. “They should be in the garage or out back and only allowed on the side if there is no other possible place.”

Resident Rose Hess added her support for not allowing the garbage cans in the front calling them “eyesores.” She said “You should ban them from the front yard. Use your imagination and visualize our town without those containers.”

Hess added, “We want to enhance the appeal of our town.”

Following the meeting, Lori Young and Ginny Stewart, two of the women who spoke for PEBG, elaborated on the discussion during the two meetings.

“We are heading in the right direction,” Young said noting they have 50 people active in the group along with their collaboration with other groups in the city.

“We have engaged citizens,” Stewart said. “This is for all of us together. The aesthetics are very important.”

She noted it is important to keep up the look of the community for visitors and for business, and it all works together to assure higher property values.

Young added that all the negative items involved with the unwanted trash and appearance can also affect public safety and even cause health concerns.

“A clean community presents itself positively and creates a sense of a safe haven for its citizens,” Young said.

During the meetings, additional information was provided, including spreading the word that there are two unlimited pickups for large items, one week in March and the other in September. The city will also bring a dumpster for large items for a fee of $60 for such items at other times of the year.

The public was also reminded that the totes for trash and recycle pickup should be placed a minimum of five feet apart for ease of pickup and the lid opening should face toward the street side.

“If people don’t follow the guidelines, the wear and tear can break the hinges on the lids,” Craft said.

Lids must also be closed as overfilled totes can cause spillage and litter when picked up by the mechanical arm of the truck.

“If someone needs an additional container, they can purchase one from the city. Drivers are instructed not to pick up overfilled totes,” Craft said.

“I told our drivers if you pick it up, you own it,” Craft said, explaining drivers are responsible for getting out of their trucks and picking up the spilled waste.

Posted on May 18, 2016 in