Pipestone City Council members during a special Aug. 5 meeting reviewed a draft ordinance pertaining to dumpsters, roll-off containers and temporary storage containers. The council and the Pipestone Planning Commission have discussed the topic periodically since last year in response to what is seen by some as a potential health and safety hazard.
The draft ordinance would prohibit dumpsters and roll-off containers in any public place or right of way and within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, and limit their use on residential property to two consecutive months in a 12-month period. It would allow the city to issue temporary permits for placement of dumpsters or roll-off containers on residential properties for longer periods “when special circumstances exist.”
No refuse, recyclables or liquid waste would be allowed in the dumpsters or roll-offs. No materials would be allowed to be sticking out over the tops of dumpsters and roll-offs, and they would have to be removed within one week of being filled to capacity.
According to the draft ordinance, temporary storage containers, such as cargo containers, storage box shipping containers and storage moving pods, would be limited to one per residential property. The containers could be on the property for up to 15 consecutive days or no more than 30 days in a 12-month period. The city could issue interim use permits for longer periods.
Setback requirements for accessory structures would apply to the containers. They would be limited to 400 square feet and would not be allowed on the paved portion of the street or sidewalk.
Other restrictions and requirements would apply for dumpsters, roll-off containers and temporary storage containers, including some specific to business and industrial districts.
“This is kind of an initial starting point,” said City Attorney Jason Hill, who prepared the draft ordinance. “Certainly you have things that can be changed.”
Hill suggested splitting the draft ordinance into two — one related to refuse and one related to zoning provisions because the zoning provisions in the ordinance would require a public hearing with the planning commission before the city council could approve it.
Councilor members discussed various aspects of the draft ordinance, including whether dumpsters or roll-off containers should be allowed in streets. Councilor Scott Swanson said he thought roll-offs might have to be placed on the street and dumpsters should not be. Mayor Dan Delaney said there had been car accidents involving roll-offs in the street and suggested that they be out of the right of way if at all possible, and have reflective striping. Councilor Justin Schroyer said roll-offs also cause issues with snow plowing in the winter and suggested keeping them off the streets from November to April.
Hill said that if anything is allowed in the right of way, it poses a liability risk to the city. He suggested a requirement that the dumpsters or roll-off containers be kept out of the right of way if possible and that if a property owner demonstrates that it’s impossible to do that, it could be allowed with a permit and an encroachment agreement that indemnifies the city.
Delaney said he thought commercial dumpsters in residential areas should always require a permit.
“We’re trying to eliminate commercial dumpsters in residential areas,” Delaney said. “That’s the whole point of this. I do understand that occasionally you need to have some type of larger dumpster in a residential area, but then it should be only by permit to perform a specific job, not for general household garbage like what’s happening.”
Delaney said using the dumpsters for household garbage causes a smell, attracts pests such as insects and rodents, and poses a health risk. Delaney and City Administrator Deb Nelson said household garbage should be placed in the garbage totes and that if residents produce too much garbage in a week for one tote, they should get additional totes. Delaney also pointed out other options residents can use to reduce the amount of waste they produce such as recycling.
Hill said he would revise the draft ordinance based on the council’s discussion and bring an updated version back to council at an upcoming meeting. If that draft suits the council, a public hearing pertaining to the zoning provisions could be held by the planning commission with final consideration of the ordinance, or ordinances, by the council after that.