Charleston Council Acts to Reduce Junk, Trash

September 24, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveWhile discussion surrounding the development of Union Pier dominated the Sept. 14 Charleston City Council meeting, there were other items on the agenda that probably would have been received more attention if the Union Pier Plan hadn’t consumed so much time.

One involved the habit of students leaving junk and trash outside their residences. Current ordinances were not deemed sufficient by members of the Radcliffborough neighborhood, whose residents include many students.

Council ended up approving a first reading of a new ordinance which holds landlords and property managers responsible, as well as tenants.

Renters are still liable for infringements of ordinances, but managers and owners are also on notice and cannot ignore the action of their tenants. They, too, will be liable for fines. To see the amendment, click here.

The amendment seems drastic but the question was raised as to how else the city can stop the action of irresponsible tenants? It is likely that renters will be asked to make larger up-front deposits to help cover the liability that managers/owners will now have.

However, deposits made by existing tenants may not be enough to make whole managers/owners in the event of prosecution.

The other amendment considered at the council meeting related to the use of public rights of way. According to Chief Mullen, the existing ordinance does sufficiently limit the use of public rights of way.

Some enterprises use them for storage of crates, boxes, and other items. Some, such as bars and clubs, allow their patrons to gather on the right of way. The amendment now makes these things an infringement.

Marc Knapp is a contractor specializing in heavy underground utilities and the owner of Charleston Site Utilities.