A town proposal to require landscapers to haul away yard waste instead of leaving it for carters to pick it up brought out both supporters and opponents at a recent public hearing.
One Huntington resident said that the requirement would lead landscapers to charge homeowners more money and was, in effect, a tax on the elderly or disabled who couldn’t take their yard waste to the curb. “When I was younger, I picked up my own leaves. But I”m 77 now and just can’t do it.” He said a service that he uses to remove his leaves will increase his fees. “The leaves are the same number of leaves” no matter who put removed them, he said.
Barbara Wildfeir said she supported the requirement but encouraged residents to mulch their leaves or simply leave them on the ground to improve the soil. She also said the town should consider using compostable bags instead of the plastic bags currently distributed for homeowner use. “I’d like to encourage everyone to rethink entire policy. Removing every leaf is not a healthy environmental choice,” she said.
And John Marcinka, owner of Quality Island Landscaping, said his company already hauls away yard waste. “It won’t negatively affect me,” he said, “but singling out landscaping professionals is not right approach,” he said. “A good solution would be limiting the number of plastic bags given out, would eliminate major expense and the manpower needed to deliver bags.” He said that requiring landscapers to remove the leaves would make it difficult for young people trying to start a landscaping business.
The proposal has been compared to town law that requires contractors to haul away all debris from their work on a home.
Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said, The effect is we’re just increasing the price to people of our town. We’re just passing along a higher cost to people who have to have someone pick up their leaves,” and said he couldn’t see a way for the town to effectively enforce the proposal.
Town spokeswoman Lauren Lembo said the town had 90 days to consider the proposal from the Jan. 13 public hearing.