San Luis Obispo residents can now be fined for keeping their trash cans in the front yard where they can be seen.
The city recently enacted a new law prohibiting trash, recycling and yard-waste bins from being kept anywhere in the front yard that is visible by public view.
Residents can now only put those containers at the curb within 24 hours of a scheduled pick-up and must put them away no more than 12 hours after pick-up.
Ardith Tregenza, neighborhood services manager for the San Luis Obispo Police Department, said that more than 100 complaints have been received in the last several weeks.
Each time a complaint is made, one of two part-time employees with the Police Department’s Student Neighborhood Assistance Program, SNAP, must respond.
Residents are given repeated warnings to comply, but homeowners ultimately could be issued a $100 citation if they continue to violate the law.
Mayor Jan Marx said the new law was initially suggested by the activist group Residents for Quality Neighborhoods as a way to combat perceived blight in neighborhoods and prevent sanitation issues from garbage being littered in the streets.
The City Council adopted the new law because of its concern about neighborhood wellness, said Marx.
The ordinance — which defines the front yard as any part of a residential lot that lies between the street property line and the walls of any residences that face the street — requires that a fence, landscaping or wall must shield the view of the trash cans.
Some residents have embraced the ordinance and are using it to complain about their neighbors.
Two residents, in two different neighborhoods, compiled a list of more than 40 houses that they claim had their trash cans illegally stored and gave it to the city’s Neighborhood Services Division for enforcement.
Others have expressed their disdain for the law.
The new law falls under the “neighborhood preservation” ordinance, which includes other violations such as abandoned or partially destroyed buildings, dead trees or vegetation that is overgrown or harbors rodents, graffiti on buildings or structures, and substantially cracked or potholed parking lots or driveways that are perceived to pose a risk to the public.