Council Member Introduces Changes to Garbage Can Ordinance
By Brandi Makuski
Ald. Cindy Nebel wants stronger rules governing garbage cans in the city.
The Stevens Point Public Protection Committee on Monday will consider changes to an ordinance that governs how and where residents can store their garbage cans. The changes were proposed by Nebel, who has been vocal during public meetings about garbage in her neighborhood, which is heavily comprised of off-campus student rentals.
Under current ordinance, garbage cans cannot be visible from the street, though exceptions are often made for properties on smaller-sized lots and those with irregular shapes. The proposed new language closes a loophole that allows the carts to be placed just behind the front steps of a structure.
The ordinance change also “clarifies that carts cannot be stored next to, on, or under front porches,” a memo from City Attorney Andrew Beveridge reads in part, and also “specifies that carts must be stored with the lids completely closed in order to prevent them from being filled beyond capacity, causing the lids to be pushed open.”
The ordinance does continue to allow for an exception to the placement restrictions on odd-shaped lots, or properties with certain size restrictions.
According to Mayor Mike Wiza, city ordinance already addresses the issue, and the streets department already has an internal policy regarding trash pickup and garbage carts.
Wiza was an alderman when the city last addressed the issue of garbage can storage in 2015. Those meetings brought dozens of concerned citizens to public meetings, arguing against any change in storage requirements because too many properties had size restrictions or irregularities, making it difficult for residents to keep cans out of public view.
Other residents who spoke out at that time were elderly, and had concerns about being physically able to haul the carts very far.
The current ordinance reads:
Every owner or occupant of a premise or premise unit shall store and dispose of all his rubbish in a clean, sanitary and safe manner. Recyclables and refuse shall not be visible from the street and recyclables, refuse, or their containers cannot be stored between any structure and the street, except on collection days.
The proposed changes follow:
Every owner or occupant of a premise or premise unit shall store and dispose of all rubbish in a clean, sanitary and safe manner. Recyclables and refuse shall not be visible from the street. Recyclable and refuse containers shall not be stored: (1) between a public right-of-way and any face of a building that faces such right-of-way, unless such right-of-way is an alley; (2) stored on, under, or alongside of a front porch, stoop, landing, access ramp, or deck fronting on the public right-of-way; or (3) stored within 15-feet of the public right-of-way except between 6:00 P.M. on the day before collection and the end of the collection day. Containers shall be stored with their lids completely closed. Reasonable exceptions to the rules regarding placement of recyclable and refuse containers may be made by the Community Development Department if compliance with this subsection is impossible or impracticable due to the configuration of buildings or structures on a given premises.
Nebel, who ran for her seat as a proponent of re-striping Bus. 51 and tighter rental property rules, was elected to her first term in April.
The committee meets at 6 PM in the Lincoln Center, 1519 Water St., and is open to the public.