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Amendment proposed to prohibit yard waste in village streets, gutters

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Raking grass clippings, brush, garden waste and other similar yard waste into village streets or gutters would be explicitly prohibited under an ordinance amendment backed Tuesday, Oct. 1, by the Ashwaubenon Public Works and Protection Committee.

Village Attorney Tony Wachewicz said the amendment was developed after discussions with public works staff, who requested clarification to the current ordinance, which now prohibits placing leaves into the street or gutter, with the additional language.

Wachewicz said the amendment also states grass clippings, as well as leaves, are to be raked to the parkway next to the curb.

Under the ordinance, leaves and grass will be picked up by the village in October and November.

Trustees Michael Malcheski and Ken Bukowski, who are both on the committee, mentioned problems they’ve witnessed with neighbors placing yard waste into the gutter.

Malcheski said it has cost millions of dollars to build and operate the storm water system in Ashwaubenon.

“A little bit of this here, a little bit of that there, winds up being a whole lot of stuff in other places that cost us a whole lot more money,” he said.

Malcheski said he remembers former Village President Mike Aubinger speaking out about not putting leaves in the gutter.

Given the recent rainfall, Bukowski said yard waste placed in the gutter will end up in the storm water system.

“But I think we have never really enforced this ordinance, and it’s a toughy,” he said. “You know, it’s a tough ordinance. You got people, lots of people, who do this. So I just hope that the street department gets serious, but give people a warning letter, if they’re going to start issuing citations… Give people a warning letter first, so they at least have a notice that, hey, well, OK, I shouldn’t be doing this anymore, rather than just issuing citations right from the get-go.”

Wachewicz said citations issued for violating the amended ordinance would carry a fine of $187 for the first offense and $313 for subsequent offenses.

When asked how the ordinance would be enforced, he said it will depend upon the circumstances.

Wachewicz said the amendment isn’t intended to go after people who mow their lawns when grass clippings coming from a mower end up in a street or gutter.

The ordinance amendment, which will be considered by the village board for final approval Oct. 22, would take effect upon publication in The Press Times.

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