A discarded couch rests against a dumpster in west Tulsa in July 2016. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World file

Mayor G.T. Bynum has suspended enforcement of an ordinance governing the screening and placement of dumpsters and recycling containers after receiving complaints from affected property owners.

Jack Blair, Bynum’s chief of staff, said the mayor has asked the city Planning Office to conduct a review of the scope of the ordinance.

“Particularly as it relates to dumpsters behind businesses and in alleyways,” Blair said. “The intent of the ordinance was to address dumpsters and bins visible from the streets and to the public.

“As it was drafted, the scope may have been a little broader than intended, so the Planning Office is going to review that and make a recommendation to narrow the scope of that, and then we’ll suspend enforcement in the meantime.”

Tim Cartner, field supervisor for the city’s Working in Neighborhoods department, said the city has issued approximately 100 notices of violations to businesses, apartment complexes and schools over the last three weeks as it ramped up enforcement of its dumpsters regulations.

The increased enforcement was in response to complaints from residents, Cartner said.

Property owners who received a notice of violation had 10 working days to comply with city ordinances or face the possibility of being ticketed and having to appear in Municipal Court and potentially pay a fine.

The court could impose a fine of up to $1,000 a day, but Cartner said he hopes to be able to resolve the issue without issuing citations.

“I don’t anticipate having to write any tickets on this,” Cartner said. “Everybody has been very cooperative. They seem more interested in how to do it the right way.”

The updated ordinance requires that dumpsters and collection bins be screened from view of rights of way, roadways or abutting properties.

Working in Neighborhoods is encouraging individuals who have received a notice of violation to keep the department apprised of their efforts to comply with the ordinance.

“We want to help them out,” Cartner said.

The city updated its screening ordinance for dumpsters and recycling bins in January 2016 and gave property owners with existing containers until November 2017 to comply.

Most of the notices of violation have been issued to long-established businesses that were unaware of the ordinance change, Cartner said, while new businesses learned of the regulations when they went through the zoning and permitting processes.

Most of the notices of violation have been issued to businesses along the city’s major arterial corridors, including 71st, 81st and 91st streets, and at 21st Street and Garnett Avenue, according to the city.

“It is not that one area is more important than another, we just have to start somewhere,” Cartner said.

Read the city ordinance on dumpsters in section 45 of the zoning code.

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Kevin Canfield


Twitter: @aWorldofKC

Staff Writer

Kevin Canfield has covered local government in Tulsa for nearly two decades. He also has reported on downtown development, zoning and community planning.

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