In Millville, one man’s trash is another man’s… trash.
And it turns out, no one wants it in their back yard, or anywhere near their front- or side-yard, either.
A public hearing on a move to change the permitted location of trash dumpsters in the Bishop’s Landing subdivision resulted in an hour-long discussion about trash in all its forms — from the relatively benign recycling-type refuse to the extra-funky stench of steamed crab carcasses.
The developers of Bishop’s Landing, Beazer Homes, had requested to remove the larger dumpsters from Phase 5 of the subdivision because of a change in the configuration of the road upon which they would have been located. But residents in the area where they were eventually placed — next to a pool — sent in letters to the town council objecting to the placement. Bishop’s Landing is the only residential development in Millville where the commercial dumpsters are used, and some questioned whether they are necessary at all, since there is also weekly curbside trash pickup in the neighborhood.
Town Manager Deborah Botchie said the dumpsters in general are a hassle for the town, because they are often overfilled during the summer months, creating not only a health hazard but an eyesore and an assault to the senses.
“We were inundated with calls last year from residents of Bishop’s Landing,” Botchie said, regarding “the insane amount of trash” that accumulated in and around the dumpsters there.
Botchie said commercial dumpsters have also become an issue in the town, particularly in the summer, when vacationers are looking for somewhere to offload their trash.
“Trash, in our area, has become a real situation,” she said.
In response, the Town has instituted a fine of $99 for a first violation regarding dumpsters that are not properly maintained or emptied, with an addition $250 fine per day that the dumpster violation is not addressed.
Steve Marsh, project engineer for George, Miles & Buhr, representing Bishop’s Landing, said, “It is very difficult to find a site that people are not going to complain about.” Marsh said the dumpsters near the pool were always in the site plan for the development.
“It is a question of, at this time, where do they go?” Marsh said, adding that the community is now “built out,” so sites where residents will not be impacted by the dumpsters are hard to come by. Marsh suggested that the community schedule more frequent trash pickups at the existing dumpsters to alleviate the summertime overflow issues.
Part of the rationale behind the dumpsters is that they are needed for rental properties where trash is sometimes not put out for weekly pickup. Deputy Mayor Steve Maneri said he feels the dumpsters aren’t necessary because neighbors can work with each other to ensure trash is placed in individual trash cans in a timely manner and the cans are put at the curb for pick-up.
“I think that Dumpsters are nothing but trouble,” Maneri said.
Council Member Ron Belinko, who lives in Bishop’s Landing, recused himself from council action but spoke as a resident. He said the requested changes are an “embarrassment” and that he feels the rationale behind them is “to sell homes.”
Steve Frisina of Beazer stated that his company might entertain taking out all of the dumpsters, and would then have to modify the covenants. In the end, the request to address the dumpster location was tabled until Beazer and the Bishop’s Landing HOA could reach another agreement to bring to Council at a later date. The relocation of the tot lot was also tabled, due to the fact that Beazer had already built the tot lot by the small pool area without Council’s permission, according to Botchie.
In other business, the council:
• Announced that the Town is nearly ready to seek bids on the construction of the town park;
• Approved the release of a $556,069 bond, prepared by Philadelphia Insurance Co., as requested by Millville Town Center LLC, representing Millville by the Sea; and
• Announced a Comprehensive Plan Committee meeting to be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and a town council workshop meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
By Kerin Magill