Business owners targeted in new litter measure

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008


Staff Reporter

EDGARD — St. John business owners who continually refuse to remove refuse from their storefronts may get hit with a fine thanks to a measure passed by the St. John Council.

Council members voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the parish’s litter ordinance that encourages business owners to maintain their commercial property and prevent accumulation of litter.

District 7 Councilwoman Cheryl Millet, who introduced the measure, owns a business in LaPlace and says she has no trouble keeping her storefront area clean. She hopes the changes will influence other area business owners to do the same.

“I’m just asking that we all do what we can to keep the parish clean,” said Millet. “If everyone does their part, we don’t have a problem.”

The parish’s litter ordinance says that anyone caught illegally throwing, depositing, or burning trash in the parish faces a $500 fine. The offender would also be required to pick up trash in the parish for four weekends during a one-month period. Millet said the changes give St. John code enforcement officers more authority to issue warnings and levy citations.

“This is not about targeting people or businesses,” Millet said. “But it does give us something we can use to go after places that fail to maintain a clean appearance.”

The measure passed with no discussion from the council members, but during a public hearing on the ordinance one resident asked if the changes would force business owners to also maintain highway right of ways that run adjacent to businesses, specifically those that are situated along Belle Terre Boulevard and US Hwy. 51.

“Trash can build up in those areas in a matter of a few hours,” said LaPlace resident and landscaper Kenny Ridlen. “Trying to force business owners to maintain that area everyday is kind of impossible.”

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said that the ordinance only applies to property owned by businesses. He said the changes are not going to alter how the parish enforces litter laws.

“We not expecting business owners to check their property every hour for every little piece of trash,” Boe said. “We are just asking for more vigilance by residents to keep St. John Beautiful. If everyone picks up there is no bad neighbor or bad customer.”