Proposed garbage pickup changes in Coon Rapids raise some issues

An ordinance revising some requirements for waste collection and recycling in the city produced concerns from the Coon Rapids City Council when it was introduced Oct. 15.

When the ordinance returns to the council for adoption at its meeting Wednesday, Nov. 6 (the council’s regular meeting date Tuesday, Nov. 5 is election day), staff will present some tweaks to the language based on council comments.

The revisions to the city code chapter regulating waste collection and pickup were proposed primarily to better clarify the correct types and placement of residential containers, according to Public Works Director Tim Himmer.

This is specifically designed to keep the roadway clear of obstructions, Himmer wrote in is report to the council.

“This is of primary importance during winter snow clearing activities,” he wrote.

“While compliance has improved some over the years it has been difficult getting residents to properly place their waste containers out of the roadway so streets can be cleared curb to curb in the most efficient manner.”

But while the council has no problem with ordinance language that mandates the containers, both garbage and recycling, be placed “in one location at ground level and off the traveled roadway (such as in the driveway or in the boulevard behind the curb), the times proposed for placement and removal brought opposition from some councilmembers.

The ordinance proposes the containers be place for collection no sooner than 8 p.m. the day prior to collection and removed to their outside storage no later than 10 p.m. the day of collection.

Councilmember Jerry Koch said those times were too restrictive and unenforceable.

In his neighborhood, which has a Monday pickup, half the containers are at the bottom of the driveway by 6 p.m. Sunday, he said.

People should be allowed to put out their containers out before 8 p.m. the day before, Koch said.

And for people who have Friday collection, having the container returned to their outside storage location by 10 p.m. on that day would be an issue if they go out of town for the weekend, leaving on a Friday, according to Koch.

“The ordinance needs to be practical so that people can comply with it,” said Mayor Tim Howe.

Councilmember Denise Klint wanted the ordinance “tweaked an hour or two either way,” she said.

Councilmember Steve Wells proposed allowing residents to put their containers at the curb 24 hours before collection day and remove them 24 hours after pickup day.

According to Himmer, the reason why the ordinance is being proposed now is to have it in place by the time the snow flies and allow the city to get the word out, via the city newsletter and its website, about changes, specifically about not placing the containers in the roadway.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]