Ami Edge and her family have lived in Lakewood for eight years. In all that time, they have never received a citation for putting their brush out too early for curbside collection.
That changed in December.
Edge’s landscaping crew had set some bags of leaves by the curb too early, probably because their schedule was modified because of the holidays, Edge thinks.
“For whatever reason, they were all down on the curb a week early,” Edge says.
Afterward, a Code Compliance officer provided a written warning and posted it to the family’s front door. Edge says she didn’t see it because she hardly uses that entrance.
Then Code Compliance came a second time and talked with Edge, asking her to remove the trash from the curb. Edge did.
Later, she told her husband they needed to remember to move the bags of leaves back out to the curb.
“My husband, I think I might have said like, ‘Oh, we need to put these back down on Thursday, next week, and he heard Tuesday,” Edge says. “He put them back down on Tuesday.”
So they were issued a $270 fine, and they paid it. The Department of Sanitation Services handles brush and bulky trash pickup, but the Department of Code Compliance issues fines and investigates reports of violations, which residents can make online.
Then a couple of days ago, Edge saw the Code Compliance staff member walking around her property. This time, the officer told her she left another warning the previous day, telling the family to remove a pile of twigs (shown above) from the front of their yard. Edge had not seen it because the warning had been posted to the front door.
The officer was about to issue another citation, Edge says.
“I have a lot of pecan trees, and there were sticks everywhere after a wind-blowing night, and I just pushed them over to one side,” she says.
The officer agreed not to write a citation if Edge moved the sticks right away, so she wasn’t fined again.
After all of this, Edge wrote a note, a public service announcement, on social media.
“I really only posted it on Facebook so that my neighbors would know that they were very strict right now for whatever reason, or I don’t know, maybe it’s just my house,” Edge says. “But I assumed other people were getting the same type of things going on.”
To date, 75 comments have been written in response to Edge’s post, and it has received more than 50 reactions (“likes,” etc.).
Many were about the people who report violations, either praising them for alerting the City to people who break the rules, or calling out the “neighborhood patrol” who report violations.
Others shared that they had experienced similar situations.
And still others brought up other violations they’ve seen that seem more substantial than a few sticks. One in particular featured a photo of a home in our neighborhood that had furniture and other trash scattered across the front yard.
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