Breaking Down the Borough’s New Trash Policy

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The borough is looking to clean up its trash problem.

Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Trash and appearance seem to be on the mind of Borough officials lately. First there was the Mayor’s Gay Street cleanup. Then there was the purchase of a gum removal device and the mention the borough would be hiring a “trash czar” to better enforce the trash codes, although I am not sure that job was ever posted. Then sometime earlier this year, Borough Council quietly voted to update the town’s trash policy. Those changes went into effect earlier this month.

There is an announcement about the new policy on the Borough website but I couldn’t find a detailed list of what exactly in the code changed. So I created a side by side comparison of the original language versus the new language. Apologies in advance if I missed anything. 

Section: 62-3 Disposal regulations 

What changed: Expanded the organizations with the authority to define what classifies a pesticide, herbicide or hazardous waste. 

Note: changes in language are underlined.

Original – No chemicals, oils, pesticides, herbicides or hazardous wastes, as these terms are defined by the Department of Environmental Resources or the Environmental Protection Agency, shall be placed in any container or placed out for collection.

New –  No pesticides, herbicides or hazardous waste, as such term is defined by federal, state, county or local law, shall be placed in any container or placed out for collection.

62-4 Public collection regulations

What changed: Trash cans must be stored in a place that is not visible from the front of the property. Also, enforcement of violations has been moved from Public Works to the Department of Building, Housing and Code Enforcement. This shift may be paving the way to hire that “trash czar” to strengthen enforcement. 

Original – Garbage, rubbish and refuse shall be collected from the curb on the days specified by Borough regulations. Where the properties abut on alleys, the aforesaid collection shall be at the alleys. Containers shall be set out not later than 7:00 a.m. on the day of collection and not earlier than 6:00 p.m. of the day preceding collection. Empty containers will be taken inside the property lines not later than 12:00 midnight of collection day.

New – Garbage, rubbish and refuse shall be collected from the curb on the days specified by Borough regulations. Where the properties abut on alleys, the aforesaid collection shall be at the alleys. Containers shall be set out not later than 7: 00 a. m. on the day of collection and not earlier than 6: 00 p. m. of the day preceding collection. Empty containers shall be taken inside the property lines and must be stored on the property in a location that is not visible from the public street in front of the property not later than 12:00 midnight of collection day, unless, where no location exists which is not visible from the public street(s) in front of the property, an alternative location is approved by the Director of the Department of Building, Housing and Code Enforcement.

62-6 Accumulations of waste and littering prohibited

What changed: You’ve always been responsible for keeping the sidewalks in front of your property free of litter and waste, now add cigarette butts to the list.

Original – No person owning or occupying any building, lot or premises shall allow any garbage, waste, refuse, rubbish or abandoned vehicles to collect or remain upon said property; provided, however, that this prohibition shall not be construed as interfering with construction under a valid permit during the course of construction and within a reasonable time thereafter or the piling of wood neatly for fireplace or kitchen use. No garbage, refuse or rubbish or abandoned vehicles shall be permitted to accumulate on the ground nor be deposited on highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, vacant lots or public grounds nor be thrown into a stream or other body of water.

New – No person owning or occupying any building, lot or premises shall allow any garbage, waste, refuse, rubbish, tobacco products, or abandoned vehicles to collect or remain upon said property, or on any shared or common public areas such as the sidewalk in front of or adjacent to the property; provided, however, that this prohibition shall not be construed as interfering with construction under a valid permit during the course of construction and within a reasonable time thereafter or the piling of wood neatly for fireplace or kitchen use. No garbage, refuse or rubbish tobacco products or abandoned vehicles shall be permitted to accumulate on the ground nor be deposited on highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, vacant lots or public grounds nor be thrown into a stream or other body of water.

62-8 D Private collection regulations

What changed: Exceptions and enforcement has been moved from Public Works to the Department of Building, Housing and Code Enforcement. I’d take this as another sign the Borough is serious about cleaning up the streets. 

Original – Private collectors shall be permitted to collect, remove and transport garbage, rubbish and refuse within the Borough of West Chester on all days of the week, except Sunday and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Where the properties abut an alley, garbage, rubbish and refuse shall be collected from the alley. All containers used to store garbage, rubbish and refuse must be stored on the property in a location that is not visible from the public street in front of the property. Unless otherwise authorized by the Director of Public Works, the collection of garbage, rubbish and refuse shall not commence before 7:00 a.m. and may not continue after 6:00 p.m.

New – Private collectors shall be permitted to collect, remove and transport garbage, rubbish and refuse within the Borough of West Chester on all days of the week, except Sunday and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Where the properties abut an alley, garbage, rubbish and refuse shall be collected from the alley. All containers used to store garbage, rubbish and refuse must be stored on the property in a location that is not visible from the public street in front of the property, unless where no location exists which is not visible from the public street(s) in front of the property, an alternative location is approved by the Director of the Department of Building, Housing and Code Enforcement. Unless otherwise authorized by the Director of the Department of Building, Housing and Code Enforcement, the collection of garbage, rubbish and refuse shall not commence before 7: 00 a. m. and may not continue after 6:00 p.m.”

62-14 Violations and penalties

What changed: A couple of things to note here – first there is a slight change in the fee structure. Now the first offense will cost you $30 rather than $25. Second, language specifying a time period has been removed. The original language reset violations on a yearly basis. The new code removes that language seeming to mean your violations never reset. Finally, new language has been added giving violators 24-hours to rectify the offense before additional violations and eventual jail time pile on.  

Original – Any person who violates or permits the violation of any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding brought before a District Justice, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be subject to the payment of the following fines:

(1) 

An amount of not less than $25 for the first offense in any three-hundred-sixty-five-consecutive-day period;

(2) 

An amount not less than $50 for the second offense if it occurs within the same three-hundred-sixty-five-day period as the first offense; and

(3) 

An amount not less than $100 for the third offense if it occurs within the same three-hundred-sixty-five-day period as the first and second offense.

The maximum fine in all cases shall be $1,000. The defendant shall also be liable for all court costs, including reasonable attorney fees, incurred by the Borough. Upon default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment in the county prison for a period of not more than 30 days.

New – In any case where any person violates or permits the violation of any provision of this chapter, the Borough shall send a notice of violation to the property owner of the property at which a violation exists advising of the specifics of the violation and ordering the property owner to pay a fine of 30 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense, and $ 100 for a third offense payable to the Borough of West Chester within seven days. Any fourth or subsequent violation will result in the automatic issuance of a citation with a fine of not less than $ 200 and not more than $ 1,000, which will be filed at District Court. If the property owner fails to pay the fine within seven days of issuance of the notice of violation, the Borough shall issue a citation to the property owner who shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding brought before a District Justice, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be subject to the payment of a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $ 1,000, plus the costs of prosecution. Upon default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment in the county prison for a period of not more than 30 days.

New – If any person who has violated or permitted the violation of any provision of this chapter further fails, neglects, or refuses to fully abate the violation within 24 hours of being issued a notice of violation, the Borough shall issue a citation to the owner who shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding brought before a District Judge, be guilty of a summary offense and shall be subject to the payment of a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $1,000, plus the costs of prosecution. Upon default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment in the county prison for a period of not more than 30 days. Each section or provision of this chapter that is violated shall constitute a separate offense, and each day or portion thereof in which a violation of this chapter is found to exist shall constitute a separate offense, each of which violations shall be punishable by a separate fine imposed by the District Judge of not less than 50 and not more than $1,000, plus the costs of prosecution, and, upon default of payment thereof, the defendant may be sentenced to imprisonment in the county prison for a term not more than 30 days.

Anything I’m missing here? Let me know. If you’re interested, you can read the updated code in its entirety here.

Plus, how to pay a ticket on the borough website.

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