Some second-home owners want Grand Lake to bag its mandatory refuse service law
Grand County, Colorado
Grand Lake Town Hall has been flooded with letters, phone calls and e-mails from citizens since it adopted a waste disposal ordinance in January.
The law is not sitting well with some second-home owners.
The mandatory trash pick-up law means all residents would pay for year-round garbage service, no matter the time spent at their vacation residences.
But that could mean a logistical problem for many homeowners, such as Gary and Kathy McClain, who wrote the town after the law was adopted.
“Many of the homeowners come only for a week or two at a time, and adhering to a trash pick-up schedule is impossible,” they wrote.
Part-time resident David Majcen agrees.
“As a second-home owner, I would receive little or no benefit from paying a trash-removal fee,” he wrote in his letter to the town.
Rough estimates from local trash haulers indicated the wildlife-resistant container, recycling and trash service would cost around $35 a month per residence.
Dumpster poaching and wild animals’ access to open or easy-to-open trash containers are main reasons the law came about, according to town officials. The law establishes that bins and Dumpsters must be closed and resistant to animals.
“Most of us who live in town year-round get tired of seeing trash scattered throughout our neighborhoods, of picking up scattered trash from animals getting into part-time homeowner’s trash cans and of business and public trash cans overfilled with part-time homeowner trash,” wrote Cindy Southway in support of the town’s direction.
“I’m sure some of the part-time homeowners do take their trash, but many dump or leave it for the rest of us to deal with.”
“My rule is like camping: If you take it in, you take it home, which is what we do,” wrote Suzanne Reed of Grand Lake and Denver.
Providing more receptacles for tourists in summertime, more Dumpsters around town and a centralized pay-as-you-throw system are suggestions that have been made to the town in the wake of the new law.
John Inman, president of the Grand Lake Estates Homeowners Association, doubts the present law is the answer.
“I don’t think you can legislate this problem away,” he wrote to the town.
The town’s next step in moving forward is to craft a request for proposal to contract with a trash hauler.
Meanwhile, some elected officials are not altogether confident in the recently adopted law.
“Is there a solution to all of this? Absolutely,” said Trustee Tom Weydert at Monday’s town workshop. “Where it’s at, we’re still working on it.”
Town officials acknowledged the new law has served to boost public interest on the issue, something town leaders said they welcome.
“This conversation is not over by a long shot,” said Town Manager Shane Hale, adding that the end result may look different than the law they adopted. The public should continue to weigh in, he said.
“As many years as illegal dumping has been an issue,” Hale said, “I think it is the responsibility of the town to at least bring it up. Is the ordinance we adopted the right one? Maybe not, but at least we’re addressing the issue.”
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