Council cracks down on Dumpster diving, parking in private fire lanes

By Larry Coonrod

For Lebanon Local

Responding to numerous complaints, the Lebanon City Council on March 13 cracked down on people scavenging in or dumping other people’s garbage cans and the blocking of fire lanes on private property.

The Dumpster diving issue was brought up at the council’s Feb. 13 meeting by Councilor Karin Stauder, and council members asked staff to come up with an ordinance prohibiting entering a trash can without authorization.

Tré Kennedy, attorney for the City of Lebanon, said many jurisdictions have similar laws. Until now, Lebanon police officers have not had the authority to issue tickets for blocking fire lanes or disturbing  trash receptacles.

Under an ordinance adopted unanimously by the city council, trash can violators face a Class C misdemeanor charge, carrying penalties of up to $1,250 and 30 days in jail.

Only the household or business generating the waste, city officials and solid waste removal franchise employees can take items out of a trash receptacle or move it.

The council also approved an ordinance that will put a bite in its prohibition against blocking fire lanes on private property by establishing a fine of up to $650 for violators.

The new ordinance allows the Police Department to enforce parking prohibitions in fire lanes in apartment complexes and other private developments.

In a report to the council, Kennedy said existing city laws do not allow the police or Lebanon Fire District to enforce obstructions in fire lanes on private property.

Additionally, the city now has the authority to tow and impound vehicles parked in front of fire hydrants and areas designated for emergency equipment or fire hydrants.