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Council Revisits Garbage Ordinance After Resident Disputes Citation

After a resident was cited for improperly storing garbage receptacles, the city attempts to clarify the ordinance. But, this isn't the first time garbage storage has been considered by the council.

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After pulling the item from the consent calendar Monday night, the Richfield City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would redefine the guidlines for garbage receptable storage.

The proposed change comes after a property owner contested the language of the current ordinance in district court. According to the council agenda, the receptacle was placed ahead of the front line of the house and the property owner was cited for not having it "alongside or behind the house or garage," as the current ordinance mandates. Apparently, the city has been enforcing the code in that way for 30 years.

A hearing officer dismissed the citation, stating the current ordinance was not supported by an actual definition for the term "alongside." According to the agenda, the decision rendered the current ordinance languge "moot" and prompted the need for clarification.

However, this isn't the first time the city council has discussed garbage storage.

Many may recall that . The ordinance would've required all cans to be concealed by a screen that was no more than 50 percent opaque and for cans to be stored behind the front edge of the home. After hearing input from residents, a majority council declined to approve the ordinance.

The new proposed ordinance doesn't require a screen for all containers, however, would require all receptables to be stored at the farthest point away from the front of the home.

In an attempt to fix the language of the ordinance, Council Members Fred Wroge and Tom Fitzhenry thought it was still unclear.

The ordinance reads: "Except when placed for collection, all containers must be stored within an enclosed structure or in the rear or side yard of the property immediately adjacent to a principal or accessory structure. Containers may not be stored in the area that lies between the front lot line and the front line of the principal building that is the farthest from the front lot line, as projected to the side lot line(s)."

In an attempt to clarify, City Attorney Corinne Heine said containers can not be stored between the street and the front of the home and must be behind the garage or at the most far back plane of the house.

However, placement of receptables is dependent on the placement of the home and garage on the lot. To give an example, Heine said if a homes has an attached porch that extends in front of the home, the receptable still must be at the back line of the house, not the porch.

The council asked that staff put together diagrams or maps of common Richfield homes to go along with the ordinance before the second reading. The hope is that the examples help residents and those enforcing the ordinance.

A second reading for the ordinance was scheduled for Sept. 11, 2012. The complete agenda from Monday's meeting is attached to this article as a PDF.

Mike McLean August 14, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Anything about garbage cans for homes with allies?? I pull mine to the edge of my driveway and the alley on collection days and then pull them back way back from the edge of the alley. Many in my alley leave them stored between the garage and the alley. Looks awful. But maybe it's just me...
Caitlin Burgess August 14, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Nothing was mentioned about allies. But, I'm sure when it comes time for the second reading there will be some direction there. From what it sounds like, the way you do it now will suffice until more clear direction is made since it is technically behind the house or garage.
Deb C August 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Alleys.... alleys..... Diagrams or maps won't give a visual of what alleys look like in the winter when the snow banks from the alleys are piled up next to the garages higher than the garbage cans. City Council needs to consider the lack of space most properties with garages & driveways off the alley have, especially after the plow pickup trucks come through and dump the alley snow against garages and into afore mentioned driveways. For those that have your driveway off an actual street, la-de-da, lucky you. Maybe the council should take a tour via car/suv/pickup/ whatever down alleys with garages and driveways off the alley and visualize what it looks like in the winter. It would be interesting to find out the percentage of driveways/garages off streets versus driveways/garages off alleys..... alleys... in Richfield. Maps and diagrams are cool to look at but don't provide an accurate visual from ground level.
Mike McLean August 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I would love to see garbage cans being stored in the driveways as I do versus stored in the alley. Messy looking and in the winter and possibly dangerous. Here's a side note about alleys. In 1977, I bought my house in Richfield. It was a 22 ft x 22 ft right next to the alley. My bedroom in the little house was right next to the alley. I was quite shocked the first time a snow plow came down the alley at 2am about 6 feet from my bed. In the fall of 1977, I started building my new house up front with the proper setback. That little house is now my garage.
Bill Johnson December 27, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Richfield needs to implement a single garbage collector system. Richfield has the most screwed up garbage collection system of any town I have lived in. Why should we subsidize these businesses and not others? The current system is wasteful and disruptive with garbage trucks running all day on collection day. Council needs to take action to implement single hauler. Who needs choice for a collector? They are all the same. I would rather have peace and quiet and reduced tax spending on road repair. RESIDENTS...THE COST WITH SINGLE HAULER TO HAVE YOUR GARBAGE COLLECTED WILL BE THE SAME OR LOWER. It's a no brainer!

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