December 18, 2014

Elyria
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North Ridgeville OKs law requiring workers to clean up debris daily

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Anyone planning on sprucing up his or her yard with trees, landscaping or a waterfall this summer or thinking of hiring someone to do it needs to make sure the job site remains tidy.

That’s because City Council unanimously approved legislation Tuesday night that provides for fines of up to $1,000 a day for each day that dirt, mud, rocks or other debris remains on public streets as a result of landscaping or construction work.

Violations of the newly enacted law are to be termed “unclassified” administrative misdemeanors instead of first- or second-degree misdemeanors since citations would be deemed civil rather than criminal and issued by the office of City Engineer Scott Wangler rather than by the police, said Law Director Andrew Crites.

Repeat violations could be elevated to a higher misdemeanor status, officials said.

The measure was proposed by Mayor David Gillock in December. He acknowledged the proposed ordinance was not triggered by widespread problems with dirty conditions on streets due to landscaping or other work done by companies or homeowners.

“We did have a problem for awhile at a concrete plant on Race Road,” Gillock said of a previous situation that generated complaints over commercial vehicles depositing dirt and other debris onto the road near the concrete facility.

“It hasn’t been widespread,” Gillock said during a previous Safety Committee discussion of the legislation. “We’re just trying to fix it so it doesn’t become one.”

Gillock was firm at the time that violators should not receive warnings, but told immediately to clean up anything left on city streets or face a citation and fine.

Officials said they expected the bulk of any citations would go to contractors, construction companies or landscapers whose vehicles drop dirt or mud in the street — although people driving privately owned pickups could also be cited.

The measure also will extend to messes left by farm tractors or other equipment used on farms.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.