New Chillicothe Street Debris Ordinance Clarified by Mayor

Chillicothe City Council last week unanimously passed new legislation concerning yard waste, including grass trimmings, leaves and snow, being brushed into city streets. We caught up with Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney in an effort to help residents understand this update to the city’s ordinance, 311.01, on street debris.

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"For all residents now, the rule will be in place that essentially, you're not allowed to blow or place debris in the streets," said Mayor Feeney. "So that means grass clippings, that means snow, or anything that would cause a hazard to street traffic, meaning everything from a vehicle, to a pedestrian, to a bicycle."

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Prior to last week’s update, the city’s ordinance had only included items such as glass, bottles, nails or any other type of material which could pose a treat to public safety. The update comes as the city has noted complaints and awareness campaigns on the dangers presented to motorcyclists when grass clippings and other debris are left in the roadway. Grass clippings have been known to cause slick spots on roads, creating hazards for cyclists.

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"It's one of those things that I think most of us have not spent much time thinking about, but it was brought to city council's attention that it can cause particular harm to those riding motorcycles," said Mayor Feeney. "And when you start to think about it, those trimmings can get slick. It's just being a good neighbor to the community."

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Enforcement of the newly updated ordinance will fall under the duties of the city’s nuisance officer and egregious repeat offenses would be considered a minor misdemeanor.

The mayor says they're not looking to 'ding' you for every infraction, they just want residents to be aware of the potential dangerous posed by debris in the street.

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"With the nuisance process itself, you get a letter. There's not a fine right away," said Mayor Feeney. "The goal is to make people aware of the law. I don't think it's city council's intent, and it certainly wouldn't be my intent, to aggressively punish somebody the first time they do this, but just making sure we can raise some awareness I think is a good thing."

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Residents are now asked to either rake or blow toward their property, instead of into the street, curbside. The new rules won’t take effect until late August.

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Mayor Feeney says if you have any questions, or would like to voice concerns over the new law, you should contact the representative for your city ward. General questions can be directed to the Chillicothe Safety Service Department.

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"In terms of the intent of the law, they can call their representative for their ward, or their At-Large representative," said Mayor Feeney. "If there's any questions about how the law might operate on a day-to-day basis, calling the city service department would make sense."

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