Dublin residents will have to make sure all trash and recycling receptacles are out of sight when a new ordinance goes into effect next month.
The city's new ordinance that limits the storage of trash and recycle bins to the garage or screened areas in the side or backyard will go into effect Sept. 13.
Dublin City Council members approved the legislation in June; the ordinance was brought forward after a request by council members who heard complaints from residents over trash and recycling bins being left in plain sight.
According to information from the city, "an average of up to six complaints per year" were received concerning the storage of trash and recycling bins.
The new ordinance says residents must store trash and recycling bins in the garage or in "a location at the side or rear of the residence that is shielded from the view of any adjoining property's occupants and any street by natural landscape barriers, which will maintain a 100 percent year-round opacity within two years of planting."
The city's website gives examples of acceptable natural screening that includes different kinds of juniper, Emerald Green Arborviate and more.
According to Steve Langworthy director of land use and long-range planning, the new ordinance has drawn questions from residents.
"We have had a number of calls about it. People are interested in knowing what they should do and have to do," he said, adding that the city will make a visit to homes for questions on screening.
When the ordinance was passed by council members, Langworthy said it was given 90 days to go into affect instead of the usual 30 to deal with questions.
"We purposely asked council to allow us 90 days to allow the opportunity for people to ask questions and us to visit sites," he said. "It will give us time to get people in compliance before the date."
Because screening for trash and recycling bins that cannot fit in garages is all natural, Langworthy said the city allows plants two to three years to mature.
"We're looking for effort to be put forth where needed," he said. "Our goal is not to issue tickets, our goal is to get compliance."
The new ordinance considers violation a minor misdemeanor.
Enforcement of the ordinance won't just be complaint-driven.
"We always take complaints. Any time a complaint comes in we attempt to verify if the situation exists," Langworthy said. "We'll also do routine patrols through areas to see if there are obvious violations. We do act on those as well."
But for now, the city will work to notify residents of the upcoming change in rules.
"We're trying to get the word out and will do more of a soft roll out of the enforcement," he said. "Even if we do get a violation, we'll do the same thing and talk to the property owner about ways they can comply. They're not going to be issued tickets right away."
The city is working to notify residents online, with e-news and through homeowner's associations, director of community relations Sandra Puskarcik said.
"We're working through civic association presidents. That's proven to be an effective tool for us," she said. "And of course we're posting it on the web and in 'In Touch' ads, through tweets. Based on the community survey, a lot of people are still saying they get news in local papers."
For more information, look online at Dublin.oh.us or contact the city's code enforcement department at 614-410-4647.