04 June 2013

Non-compliant Dumpsters in Carthage Neighborhood

While walking about the Carthage neighborhood to enjoy the birds among an area which basically includes 48th Street to 50th Street and from Cuming Street northward to Hamilton Street, a wide-spread problem became apparent without any thought, but was obviously obvious. There are dumpsters at every one of the many apartment buildings and each one is obvious and unsightly. Trash is a commodity, and during the hours of early morning, especially between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. the truck disposal can be heard. On occasion the effort occurs before 3 a.m.

The dumpsters are readily available, but sometimes the trash exceeds the capacity. Many times it is strewn nearby in a careless and inconsiderate manner. Couches have been seen tossed next to a dumpster, as if proximity is sufficient. Portions of an unwanted bed have been strewn along north 48th Street, with some relics still obvious a few weeks after the discards were first strewn near a trash can site.

Some of the residents of the neighborhood think that they can toss away whatever, and if it is near some dumpster that is sufficient. There have been couches, every item associated with a bed, and many other objects too large to place into the container. The residents seem to be indifferent and make no effort to suitably dispose of unwanted things? It cannot be called trash, because there are so many more things being thrown away.

Many of these dumpsters are along the adjacent street, so they seemed to not be in compliance with a city of Omaha ordinance enacted many months ago (ergo, in 2011; code section 18-101, 102, 103 and 104).

"The violation of this article shall be punished by a fine of $100 for the first such offense, and by a fine of $500 for the second such offense and each such offense thereafter. Every day any such violation shall occur or continue shall constitute a separate offense." Omaha city ordinance 18-105

My first call to a city of Omaha planning official was in November 2012, and after many subsequent calls, wherein details were provided on the ordinance and its shifting status, something happened. After a city code enforcer visited the vicinity, dumpsters on some properties were noted to be in violation of one or more of four items associated with the ordinance, as indicated by official letters sent to property owners. They were given until May 10 to rectify the situation (i.e., ten days). A number of them made no change, but instead asked for a waver due to property limitations, so there will be a public hearing on these matters.

The hearing on June 24 will consider a number of these waver requests, with the actual extent not known until the official agenda is available a few days prior to the meeting. The following properties are those documented by the City of Omaha official, during their reconnoiter of a part of the neighborhood. Included in this listing are personal suggestions that might help to bring the siting of the dumpsters into compliance, and based upon there being moved from where they now occur:

  1. 4716 Cuming Street, apartment: the dumpster is now on the south side of the building and obvious to traffic and pedestrians on adjacent streets and sidewalks; it could be moved to the northern extent of the parking area, and a screen could be placed to mask it
  2. 4750 Lafayette Avenue, apartment: the dumpster is next to the street and could be moved to the back of the lot
  3. 4760 Lafayette Avenue, apartment: the dumpster has been moved to the north, back side of the lot, well away from the street, so this property owner has seemingly made an effort to comply with the City of Omaha ordinance
  4. 1014 North 47th Avenue, residence: containers a few feet east of 48th Street at the back side of the lot, could be easily moved to within the property parcel; a new location could be easily determined and would be preferable as it would move the trash setting further away from the public perspective
  5. 4821 Nicholas Street, apartment: this dumpster needs to be removed from the northeast corner of the property, and placed elsewhere, perhaps to within the south parking
  6. 918 North 48th Street: this property could not be located based upon the address indicated
  7. 1115 North 48th Street, apartment: move the huge dumpster out of the parking area, and into the yard area
  8. 909 North 48th Avenue, apartment: the dumpster could be placed at the southeast corner of the lot -- with perhaps some sort of barricade -- rather than being so obvious as it is now right along the street
  9. 1003 North 48th Avenue, apartment: move the dumpster to the back of the parking area, rather than next to the street
  10. 1007 North 48th Avenue, apartment: move the dumpster to the back of the parking area, rather than next to the street
  11. 1017 North 48th Avenue, apartment: move the dumpster to the back of the parking area, rather than next to the street
  12. 1101 North 48th Avenue, apartment: there was no dumpster present at this address on June 3rd.

Additional properties within this neighborhood also have dumpsters placed too close to a street, and which have apparently not been considered by city officials in regards to the ordinance. It's not a case of selective enforcement, but seemingly something else, because a particular point made with a City of Omaha official, with Caldwell Street particularly mentioned, there were mixed results, with further effort required, and essential to suitably addressing this issue. The following addresses are also among the places which need to be considered by Omaha officials, which make the decisions and write the official letters:

  1. 1016 North 47th Avenue; the dumpster is along the 48th Street, on the back side of the building
  2. 1120 North 47th Avenue: the dumpster here is adjacent to the street
  3. 931 North 48th Avenue, Jacob's place: the dumpster could be setback from the street, though it might require that the mailbox be moved
  4. 4858 Izard Street, apartment: move the big dumpster from near the street to the north end of the lot, and also require that trash pickup occur only after 4 a.m., rather than sometimes in the two a.m. hour
  5. 1121 North 48th Avenue, apartment: move the dumpster away from the street and westward into the property parcel
  6. 1310 North 49th Street, apartment: move the dumpster to the back of the lot
  7. 4905 Caldwell Street, apartment: move the dumpster from next to the street and into the setback area which is currently used for parking
  8. 1302 North 49th Street, apartment: move the dumpster from next to the street and to within the property parcel
  9. 1301 North 49th Avenue, apartment: the trash receptacle could be place at the north end of the lot, which would get it away from being street-side
  10. 1302 North 49th Avenue, apartment: the trash cans are now placed along the street, whereas they could be situated at the southwest corner of the building, and could be readily masked by a barrier
  11. 4951 Hamilton Street, Carthage apartment house; move the dumpster from the northwest corner of the back parking lot, to the south end of this lot.

The city of Omaha ordinance seems to indicate that changes need to occur. The end result of some enforcement is that property owners responded with appeals rather than action. With only a partial review of the Carthage neighborhood, other considerations remain to be determined regarding this City of Omaha ordinance.

This is seemingly a government versus property owner situation. Any public opinion — always essential — regarding this matter is something of a dubious extent though essential details can be easily seen and considered by taking a few steps along the sidewalks of the neighborhood. Having a public hearing certainly allows an expression of opinion, in addition t o the property owner's point of view.

Hopefully, it will be a positive discourse with more than one opinion?

The 1000 and 1100 block of North 48th Street, showing examples of the cited dumpsters.

Along Caldell Street, westward from 49th Street. There are four violations of the "dumpster ordinance" visible in this photograph. All pictures taken February 13, 2013.