T he Village Board took an important step in its ongoing mission to clean up the community Tuesday evening when it passed a law regarding the proper storage and disposal of solid waste within the village.
The law, which has been discussed and revised several times over the last two to three months, received the unanimous support of the board and was praised by several local residents who attended the meeting.
“I like what you’re doing. I think you’re doing a good job and I think you’re giving some structure,” said Dave Waters.
Pastor Jim Peterson, who owns a rental property in Whitehall and whose children live in the community, said he appreciated the efforts of the board to clean up Whitehall and make it a more desirable place to live and do business.
The new law has three main components.
The first clearly defines what constitutes garbage and solid waste and what an appropriate dumpster is.
The second and third components, which are the most critical, define the duties of the property owners or occupiers and regulations regarding the disposal of waste.
The law states that every person occupying a residence in the village is required to dispose of all garbage and solid waste in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such material into approved containers, which the board defined as tightly covered, leak proof and impenetrable to weather and animals.
Those containers must be supplied by the owner of the occupied premise meaning landlords are responsible for supplying their tenants with a means of storing their waste.
The law also states that waste is not allowed to accumulate for a period longer than seven days.
Some concerns were raised about the storage of garbage containers. The law initially said garbage containers needed to be stored in side or rear yards and be screened and not visible from the street.
But Peterson said that could create hardship for some property owners who may not have a back yard or the physically impaired who may find it difficult to move their containers.
After discussing the matter, the board amended the law to state that containers should be kept in a clean orderly fashion, free of overflow and no further than five feet away from the premises unless it was stored in a shed or garage.
The law also states that solid waste containers shall be set out for collection no earlier than 5 p.m. on the day prior to the scheduled day of collection and shall be removed by 8 p.m. on the day of collection.
“Our biggest objective is not to have them at the curb all the time,” said trustee Ken Bartholomew. “If the result is we get garbage cans off the street and not overflowing, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
“Our target is someone who’s going to use the curb as a repository,” added Mayor Peter Telisky.
Those who violate the law could face a fine of up to $250 and imprisonment of up to 15 days.