The dumpsters Hilltown officials set up at the township yard on Fairhill Road were supposed to be for residents to deposit branches, tree limbs, Christmas trees, small shrubs and the like.
However, folks have been discarding much more than is allowed, including living and deceased animals, officials say. If that wasn’t enough, professional landscapers have been dumping waste from their operations, too.
“It’s being abused,” said Township Solicitor Stephen Harris, who noted that raccoons and skunks have been among the animals left at the dumpsters.
Now, at the request of Hilltown’s board of supervisors, Harris has crafted an ordinance that makes it explicitly clear what the dumpsters can and cannot be used for – and by whom.
On Oct. 8, supervisors voted to approve advertising the ordinance to the public – a mandated first step before the regulations can be officially voted into place following a public hearing. That hearing and vote could occur at supervisors’ 7 p.m. meeting at the municipal building on Oct. 22.
“We needed to tighten up the ordinance to help prevent misuse,” said Harris.
As written, the ordinance states that Hilltown residents can drop off tree limbs and branches at the yard, provided they are four inches or less in diameter and no more than four feet in length. Additionally, residents can deposit Christmas trees and other small trees and shrubs, provided the trunks are four inches or less in diameter.
Meanwhile, the ordinance prohibits hydraulic dump trucks or trailers from using the yard. It also outlaws the following from being dumped at the site: grass clippings, bagged or otherwise; leaves, bagged or otherwise; tree stumps; trail material, mulch, ground cover, wood chips, stone, sod, soils of any kind, and other similar materials; lumber, treated or otherwise; animals, dead or alive; and trash of any kind.
The ordinance spells out that only Hilltown residents can dump permitted items at the yard. Non-residents and businesses, including landscapers that might be doing work for Hilltown residents, are barred from using the facility.
Violators will be subject to fines of between $300 and $1,000. In default of payment, a violator could face up to 30 days in jail.
Hilltown police and the township zoning officer are authorized to enforce the ordinance.