Trash illegally dumped on Marks Avenue west of Highway 99 served as a backdrop for a joint press conference Wednesday morning. Photo by Edward Smith

published on February 2, 2022 - 2:17 PM
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A change in Fresno’s municipal code aims to hold property owners accountable for illegal dumping on their land.

Fresno City Councilmembers Miguel Arias and Luis Chavez held a press conference Wednesday announcing the ordinance at an open plot of land on Marks Avenue west of Highway 99. Arias said city staff clean that parcel on average once every 20 days at the cost of taxpayers.

Under the new ordinance, which goes into effect 30 days after the Jan. 27 meeting where it was approved, property owners will have 10 days to respond to complaints before staff cleans up the property and a bill is sent for services.

For the first violation, the fee for cleaning will be $1,000 plus the city’s cost. A second violation will be $1,500 plus the city’s cost followed by a $3,000 fine for a third violation.

In addition to equipment costs, a cleanup could take a crew of 5-6 a couple hours. One property near Monterey Street cost $60,000, Arias said.

“This will be the last time the City cleans up this property,” Arias said.

Lucy Sanchez, manager of the Victoria Park Apartments next door, said it has taken too long for the City to clean up properties like these. She calls regularly because the garbage on the vacant lot poses a hazard to people living there. It stinks in the summer and residents have their cars broken into.

Previous policy gave property owners 30 days to clean up.

The Council approved the program that works alongside Mayor Jerry Dyer’s Beautify Fresno initiative that has attracted “thousands” of volunteers, according to Arias.

“It’s time for us to make sure private property owners are doing their part,” Arias said.

Chavez said much like the property in Arias’ district, there are sites throughout the Kings Canyon and Ventura corridors littered with garbage that exacerbate health problems.

The measure budgets the City Attorney’s office an extra $900,000 to hire 13 additional people for cleanup. This will cover not only salaries for workers, but also equipment needed for pickup.

“We’re going to see how this initial phase goes. We might actually invest more resources into this,” Chavez said.

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