Permit for Picking Through Trash

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AVON LAKE– Picking through someone else’s trash now requires a permit in Avon Lake.  While some think the city leaders should focus on more important matters, other say it’s a safety issue.    

Avon Lake resident Gerald Phillips admits he has has found a treasure or two in a neighbor’s trash.  But, he has concerns with scavengers who travel the neighborhood on trash day.  “You got the issue of the scrap metal.  That’s really what they are looking for.  And, a lot of these trucks, the stuff falls off and they don’t go back and pick it up,” Phillips said.

But, Avon Lake Council President Marty O’Donnell said other concerns have centered around garbage pickers that might actually be picking a place to rob.  “Some of the concerns are they casing homes that are vacant. We do have some foreclosures. We do have some vacant homes.  A couple of homes have been ripped off of copper,” Council President O’Donnell said.

Avon Lake City Council has just passed a scavenger ordinance. It requires scavengers, garbage pickers and reclamation contractors to register with the city and pay $15 for a permit to pick through the trash.  The permit comes with a sign to adhere to a vehicle, showing that the trash scavenger has registered with the city.  The registration is good for a year.

Council President O’Donnell said the intent is not to drive anyone out of business, but to know who is traveling through the city. 

Phillips thinks the ordinance is a good idea, especially if homeowners have concerns. “The police will know that this person is registered.  They’re legitimate.  And, they have the background information in case there is a complaint,” he said.

Scavengers who are not registered may at first receive a warning from police. Repeat offenders could face a minor charge.  The ordinance is set to take effect in Avon Lake in 30 days.

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