Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval today to a measure that would allow police to start enforcing rules limiting when garbage can be collected. Under city zoning laws, commercial waste haulers cannot pick up trash within 20 feet of a residential district after 10pm or before 6am. However, since it is a zoning law it can only be enforced by building inspectors and all of those inspectors go home at 5pm leaving no one on the streets to enforce the laws. The bill under consideration would allow police to begin enforcing the rule. Council President Darlene Harris says she gets complaints about this all the time. “Our constituents have heard garbage haulers lifting dumpsters at 3 am,” says Harris.
Councilman Ricky Burgess called on police to make sure they enforce the ordinance equally throughout the city, not just in more well off areas. Councilman Patrick Dowd asked that the measure be held while a task force looking into noise pollution does its work. That notion was rejected with council members arguing that the work of the taskforce could take months and the enforcement of the current ordinance should not have to wait.
Councilman Doug Shields during debate hat they should create a “quality of life” enforcement team that could help enforce this type of ordinance that he says is often overlooked.
At council suggestion bill sponsor Councilman Bill Peduto says he will look ways to extend the hours to 7:00 or 7:30 am, include pubic works in enforcement efforts, add language to include the golden triangle and secure a promise from police that they will enforce the rules rather than turning a blind eye. A final vote is expected next week.