Local News

Curbside Debate Leaves Some Yards Waiting For Leaf Disposal

Posted January 13, 2006

— You go through the trouble to rake and bag your leaves. The city is supposed to pick them up. But in one Raleigh neighborhood, that didn't happen for weeks. It all has to do with where the street ends and your property begins.

With the mild weather, many people are out raking their yards. Raleigh's loose leaf collection is right on schedule, but some residents in north Raleigh's Dominion Park could not understand why their bagged leaves were not picked up on the assigned day.

Assistant Solid Waste Director Fred Battle said the likely problem was that city policy requires city employees to stay off personal property. When backyard trash service was changed to curbside pickup, the rules changed.

Sanitation workers can now only go into people's yards when they are flagged as needing special assistance. Tani Travis' bagged leaves were picked up because hers were on the curb. But her neighbors' leaves just a few feet away on the grass were not picked up.

"C'mon, you are here. You are pulling the leaves. It's obvious they are leaves. Just take them," she said.

City Councilor Philip Isley got involved when a different neighbor with a similar problem contacted him. An inspector came out and eventually the leaves were picked up. Isley said there has got to be a little wiggle room in the new rules.

"If it's easily attainable and it only takes a few steps to get in the yard, our policy needs to be they should take anything there clearly they want the city to pick up," he said.

Santitation leaders said workers do use their best judgement, but Travis cannot imagine it was used in her neighbor's case.

"They followed the rule to the T," she said.

The City Solid Waste Division is currently working on a new brochure for all residents. It will stress that all your garbage and yard waste must be placed at the curb. They want people to understand if they make an exception for one house, soon everyone will want the same favor.

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