City cracks down on dumpsters, bins

In response to concerns about safety, the City Council has put in place a new ordinance regulating the placement of roll-off dumpsters and storage bins.

Now, residents wishing to place roll-off bins and storage bins on the street in front of their house, or in any other public right of way, will have to first obtain a permit from the Public Works Dept. A permit will cost $55 and will allow the city to first make sure that any dumpsters, such as those used for waste disposal during construction, or storage containers, like those used by Pods, are not dangerously located. If a bin is deemed to be in a dangerous spot, the city can levy a fine of $200 a day until it is moved.

Councilmember Michael Davitt said that preventing traffic collisions was the council's No. 1 priority.

"I don't think it was a situation where we're trying to inhibit or hinder any kind of development or whatever the case might be, but the reality is that we need to create a safer environment, on dark streets and in town," said Davitt.

Public works engineer Erik Zandvliet said at a council meeting earlier this month that the ordinance would give the city the ability to quickly address unsafe situations.

"It gives us some teeth as to what to do with a bin. If it's in an unsafe place, we can get rid of it right away," said Zandvliet.

Zandvliet said that as with all highway permit violations, enforcement would be complaint-based. "There are other enforcement education activities we will be putting into place," said Zandvliet. "Putting it online, in utility bills, code enforcement will be knocking on doors."

Larry Erisman, who works in the roll-off bin department at Crown Disposal in Sun Valley, said that he was in favor of the new ordinance.

"I think it's a good ordinance. It prevents someone from putting a bin in a curve where it's going to be blind and not seen and slammed into in the middle of the night and hurt somebody," Erisman said.

Erisman added the ordinance wouldn't create difficulties for local waste haulers, since they're not paying the fee.

"The customer goes and gets the permit, we just advise them, we look it up on Google, and go, 'OK, your driveway's not big enough for a bin, so yeah, go to the city and get the permit,'" said Erisman.

In fact, Erisman said that for those companies already authorized to operate roll-off bins in the city, this ordinance would actually end up being a boon, as it could help prevent people from using unlicensed haulers.

"[The ordinance] prevents people from having bins out there illegally, in the city, because you have to have a permit to work in the city," said Erisman. "And someone will just stick one over there and try to get it in and out [without obtaining a permit]."

Ultimately, according to Davitt, the city is just trying to make sure people found out about the new rules.

"[The city] tried to just set up a set of guidelines that are completely manageable and fair to everybody and doable," said Davitt. "Our challenge is going to be making sure we get the message out to everybody so we don't surprise them."

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