by Dennis Dalman
Sartell residents will be allowed to have up to two refuse/recycling containers per residential housing unit, according to a refuse-container ordinance approved by the Sartell City Council at its May 12 meeting.
The ordinance is the result of extensive discussion and study by council members and city staff. The issue became a slippery dilemma at a council meeting early last month when council members were not sure just how to tweak the then-current ordinance. The subject of unsightly garbage containers surfaced because of complaints from some residents. One of those residents, who spoke at the early-April council meeting, was Bob Pogatshnik, former mayor of Sartell, who said he and his wife had become concerned about how many unsightly garbage containers were visible when kept all week long in so many front yards, street-side or on garage driveways.
The previous ordinance specified garbage containers should be stored, except on pick-up days, on the rear of a residential property by the alley; or, where no alley exists, near the rear door of the residence.
Council members agreed there are so many variables, home to home and lot to lot, that being specific in the ordinance about alleyways and such can become meaningless. They tabled the issue for more study.
At the May 12 meeting, the proposed new language in the ordinance includes the following: “Up to two refuse/recycling containers per residential housing unit may be stored outside. Any refuse/recycling containers exceeding a total of two must be stored inside or screened from view from the public and neighboring property owners.” Such containers cannot be placed on a street or sidewalk where they could interfere with traffic or pedestrians.
Containers should be placed for pick-up no earlier than 6 p.m. the evening before the garbage truck arrives. The containers must be removed from the pick-up site no later than 8 p.m. after collection occurs.
Council members noted most Sartell residents are very good about keeping garbage containers out of sight until pickup times. The amended ordinance is purposely vague to allow for residential variables, and flagrant violations can still be handled and corrected.
The vote for the amended ordinance was approved 4-1, with Mayor Joe Perske voting against it, saying he would have preferred the ordinance have more “teeth” to it.