Bear-proof trash containers contemplated by DC Commissioners |

Bear-proof trash containers contemplated by DC Commissioners

by Timothy Bowman

The Douglas County Commissioners proposed an ordinance May 17 requiring bear-proof trash containers in the Tahoe Basin for Douglas County residents.

People who violated the ordinance would first receive a verbal warning, and then a written warning. Penalties would be imposed on the third violation.

“Three warnings is a fair opportunity for people to correct the problem at their residence,” said Douglas County Commissioner Steve Weissinger. “The goal is to protect people and bears and not force anything down people’s throats.”

The proposal is still in its initial stages. The commissioners have continued the item until they receive further public input. They are expected to take public comment on the ordinance at their Stateline meeting June 21. Another meeting is expected to be held July 19, at which time the commission will make a decision to adopt or deny the ordinance.

“We have brought a new ordinance forward and have continued it until we get more dispersion of the ordinance,” said Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner. “We’ll open it up again for public comment and that way we get a cleaner ordinance if we decide to adopt an ordinance.”

Requiring bear-proof trash containers in the Tahoe Basin has been a issue for a number of years. Miner said the commission is proposing the issue to address the concerns of area residents.

“There have been repeated requests over the past few years from the people that are concerned with bears going near their homes,” Miner said. “Many people have installed bear-proof containers and the problem has been greatly diminished.”

Miner said the ordinance is still viable despite the private installation because when bear-proof trash containers are put in an area, “bears move on to where it is easier to get lunch.”

The commissioners admit there may be some opposition to the ordinance because the containers can cost as much as $300 for a private residence.

“It is either an added inconvenience to the home owner to clean up debris or they have to put out a bear-proof container which are $200 to $300,” Miner said. “It is a real simple device, but I could see that it would be a financial impact to people on fixed incomes.”

Weissinger said there was little public comment on the ordinance at the May 17 meeting because of lack of public awareness. The commission hopes to get more comment on the ordinance at their Tahoe meeting next month.

“It is a continuing process to bring the community up to speed and get good info out there,” Weissinger said. “We want to make sure the citizens in Tahoe Township are aware of this. We may get a little higher turnout and that is what we are looking for at the June 21 meeting.”

Miner said if the commission moves to adopt the ordinance, it would go in effect about 30 days after the July 19 meeting.

“It would probably go in effect within 30 days following the second reading,” Miner said. “So if we adopt this, it would be in full effect by September.”

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