“People in this city don’t seem to really care about where they dump their trash; we have a lot of illegal dumping going on,” said Jimmy Ivey, Code Enforcement Officer with the La-Grange Police Department.
Unfortunately, despite citations, court appearances, and fines, this has been a local problem for years.
“I’ve been doing Code Enforcement for three years and we are all the time seeing illegal dumping,” explained Ivey. LaGrange, Georgia’s Code of Ordinances Section 1021-19 -Littering clearly states that: No person shall dump, deposit or throw litter, including but not limited to refuse, garbage, rubbish, construction or demolition debris, woody or vegetative debris, appliances, equipment of any type or inoperable vehicles, or trash, on any public or private property.
Despite official ordinances and the “No Dumping” signs that the LPD has placed all around the LaGrange community, people continuously drop their trash off at illegal locations.
If people aren’t dumping their trash off under the signs, they are throwing their trash into a neighbor’s yard.
Ivey explained that, many times, wind and poor weather will scatter trash. So, in order to keep a clean yard, some people choose to place their trash in someone else’s yard to avoid the burden of cleaning up their own property after a windy or rainy night.
“Scavengers are another problem,” explained Ivey. “They go through [trash] and don’t care that it gets scattered everywhere. There’s actually a code that says you can scavenge in the city, but you have to make sure you leave it clean or neat when you [are finished scavenging].”
Portion (b) of Code Ordinances Section 15-10-11 Scavengers states that: Scavengers shall conduct their operations in such a manner as not to hinder or interfere with solid waste collection and disposal by either city forces or commercial haulers. Solid waste shall not be scattered by the scavenger at the place of collection or upon any street, alley or walkway in the city, nor shall such solid waste be left by the scavenger in such a condition that it may be scattered by other persons, animals or natural causes.
Even when the LPD has help from Community Service, Ivey reported that within “two to three days, [the same area is] trashed again.”
In addition to an illegal dumping problem, Code Enforcement Officers have found tire dumping to be a second concern in LaGrange.
“People [are] dumping tires on other people’s property… it’s a tremendous problem,” explained Ivey.
Along with a littering violation, dumping tires also causes mosquito problems, particularly during the warmer seasons of the year. Once tires sit idle in someone’s yard for a substantial amount of time, the water collected inside the tires serves as a mosquito breeding area.
A third issue Code Enforcement Officers are facing is inoperable vehicles.
Code of Ordinances Section 10-21-14 –Inoperable Vehicles states that: (a) Except as provided herein, the open storage of inoperable or unclaimed operable vehicles on private property is prohibited.
(b) Any person lawfully engaged in the repair of damaged or inoperable vehicles may store such vehicles on private property for a period not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) days, providing that such vehicles shall be screened from view on all sides of the property upon which the vehicles are stored by a building, fence, landscaping or other visual buffer.
(c) Only a person lawfully engaged in the operation of a junkyard or salvage yard in accordance with the zoning and other requirements of the City Code shall be authorized to store inoperable, damaged or unclaimed vehicles for a period exceeding one hundred eighty (180) days. Such vehicles shall be screened from view by a fence or shrubbery on all sides of the property upon which the vehicles are stored.
(d) A vehicle lacking a current, valid Georgia tag shall be considerable inoperable for the purposes of this section.
(e) For the purposes of this section, either the owner of the real property upon which such vehicle is situated, or the lawful possessor in control of said real property, or both, may be held liable for violation of this section.
To summarize, Ivey explained that “You can’t have an inoperable vehicle within the city limits of LaGrange unless you own an automobile business.”
Even with a registered tag and updated insurance, a car isn’t necessarily mobile.
“A lot of people have hobby cars that they want to work on, and that’s a different story,” said Ivey.
However, if a vehicle within the city limits is sitting in someone’s yard with deflated tires and grass growing underneath it, officers can give a citation.
But, all in all, “Littering in this community is a perpetual problem; it’s not rare, it’s perpetual,” described Ivey.
Whether someone throws their trash bag in another person’s yard, leaves a tire on private property, or neglects an inoperable vehicle within the city limits, sewer lines, community areas, and people’s personal property are being damaged.
“A lot of times it’s strange when people will take a bag of trash down a sewer line in the woods when in five more minutes they could have dumped it at the trash collection site,” said Ivey.
All it takes is an extra fiveminute drive to a local trash dumping site to keep the La-Grange community clean.
For more information on the local littering dilemma, contact Code Enforcement Officers Jimmy Ivey or Angela Pace of the LPD.
Peyton Hanners Staff Writer