Changes made to waste collection, recycling law in Coon Rapids

An ordinance revising some requirements for waste and recycling materials collection was adopted by the Coon Rapids City Council Nov. 6.

When it was introduced Oct. 15, the council raised some concerns which were addressed in the language when the ordinance returned for adoption.

Those concerns related to expanding the hours for placement of garbage containers at the curb on collection days and simplifying language on the proper storage of containers.

According to Tim Himmer, public works director, the containers are prohibited from being placed in the roadway or at the curb.

The revised ordinance states that they “must 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).”

Keeping roads clear of obstructions during snow clearing activities and was the primary reason why the changes to the ordinance were first considered at the staff level, Himmer told the council.

To make property owners aware of the new policy, the city will provide the waste haulers who operate in the city with a letter explaining the regulations and it will be included in the bills that the haulers send to their customers, Himmer said.

The hours when the containers can be placed for collection and removed after collection have been revised and made more flexible at council’s request.

Under the revised ordinance, the earliest the containers can be placed for collection has been moved up to 4 p.m. the day before and they have to be removed by midnight the day of collection.

The 4 p.m. time was added to the ordinance at the request of Councilmember Jerry Koch; the proposed time was 5 p.m.

According to Koch, the 4 p.m. time, especially in the winter when it gets dark earlier, would accommodate senior citizens.

Councilmember Denise Klint voted against the ordinance changes because of the new language governing the outside storage location of residential containers.

The ordinance revision inserts the words “must be placed” instead of “may” no closer to the street than the existing front yard setback of the residence..

That setback is 35 feet, and it most cases that would be the garage, but sometimes the house when the garage is set back father than the house, Himmer said.

Klint said garbage containers placed in front of the garage or house are an eyesore from the street.

She wanted to see a requirement that they be placed at the side or back of the property, according to Klint.

But the other councilmembers did not share Klint’s concern.

In fact, Councilmember Paul Johnson stores his containers in front of his garage and he did not see a problem in doing so, he said.

“This is not a philosophical issue for me,” Johnson said.

Changes in the ordinance also cover the types of containers that can be used for waste storage and collection.

According to Himmer, over the years, containers that were once purchased and provided by residents have been phased out and are now supplied by the hauler and the new language reflects that.

The same is true for containers for recycled materials, while the ordinance also mandates that yard waste must be placed in “state-approved compostable containers provided by a licensed hauler,” not plastic bags.

According to Himmer, the reason why the ordinance was proposed now was to have it in place by the time the snow flies and allow the city to get the word out specifically about not placing the containers in the roadway.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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