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.