Douglas County commissioners consider bear ordinance |

Douglas County commissioners consider bear ordinance

by Timothy Bowman

Douglas County commissioners hoping to clean up a messy issue today.

The county is considering adopting a bear-proof collection bin ordinance for Tahoe residents. The ordinance is a move to deal with people who have repeated problems with bears getting into their trash.

The ordinance stipulates that offenders will be given two warnings to remedy the problem. After a third offense, a fine will be issued.

“The ordinance is so straight forward that it does not pose any hardship except for the offenders,” said Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner.

The commissioners introduced the ordinance May 24 and held a public reading on it June 21 in Stateline. Many members of the public voiced opposition to the measure because they misunderstood the nature of the proposal. They argued that the containers are too expensive and unsightly. They feared the county was going to make the installation of bear-proof trash containers a mandatory measure for all Tahoe-Douglas residents.

Once it became clear the ordinance only effects offenders, the audience relaxed. Miner said he has heard little opposition to the ordinance since the June meeting.

“Its been pretty quiet,” Miner said. “I think the community that was interested in the bear-proof container issue was pleased, in this voluntary compliance program.”

Miner said he expects the commission to adopt the ordinance relatively unchanged, but there might be some debate about the amount of fines that should be levied.

“I think it is going to go forward the way it looked like in the first reading” Miner said. “I think the only thing that may have some debate is the size of the fine for citations.”

The Kingsbury General Improvement District addressed the bear-proof collection bin issue Wednesday at their meeting at the Kingsbury GID office. District General Manager Candi Rohr said they planned to give input from the community to the commission on the issue.

“Douglas County is soliciting input from GIDs and the homeowners,” Rohr said. “So it would be our input from the GID to the commission.”

Rohr said the district has few qualms with the ordinance, but there are a few issues that they would like to see addressed at the commissioner’s meeting such as snow removal.

“If we were to install bear-proof containers we would want them to be out of the area where the plows would be operating,” Rohr said. “That would be one concern that we might have.”

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