At its September workshop, the Ocean View Town Council discussed the possibility of a town-wide trash program.
“Essentially, we beat that one to death and said you can take another look to it,” said Mayor Walter Curran at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Councilman Tom Sheeran said he brought up the idea because he had concerns about safety and the maintenance of the Town’s roads.
“You have seven trucks running in and out of each neighborhood. I’m not saying it’s an HOA problem; it’s a Town problem, because you have one truck picking up Mrs. Smith, who’s an unincorporated lady on Muddy Neck Road, between all the rest of us who are incorporated. And he’s running up and down that road at 50, 60 miles an hour. We’ve got seven others maybe doing the same thing.
“In my neighborhood of 89, we do have seven different haulers in there on a weekly basis or more often… Seven o’clock in the morning, and they’re backing up, ‘Beep, beep, beep.’ You’ve got noise; you’ve got all these different vehicles tearing up your roads.
“They’re going fast. [It’s] summertime — all the grandkids are running out there. It’s one of the few places in the world people can come and ride their bicycles on flat land. There’s going to be a disaster eventually, if there hasn’t been one already, because these guys go flying down the road.”
Public Works Director Charles McMullen asked how the Town would enforce the program or keep the non-approved haulers off the road.
“The problem is they’re public roads, and the public includes trash haulers,” said Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader, adding it would be difficult to enforce the program just by knowing which homeowner was not using the Town-selected hauler.
“I don’t see the problem getting cured,” said Curran. “We already know we have one vociferous person objecting… I’ve already heard from three different HOAs that they don’t think it’ll work… They don’t think they’ll have cooperation from their own members,” he said. “Nobody wants to pay something for nothing. There are a number of homeowners in this town that take care of their own trash.”
Curran said everyone agrees that there is a concern with the truck traffic and safety; however, he’s not convinced addressing it through limiting trash haulers is the right approach.
“No one is denying your two basic premises as a problem,” he said.
“Then let’s look at the first two items at the list: safety and road repair. Are there some alternative ways to address these?” asked Sheeran.
Curran said that certainly the Town is actively addressing speeding with its patrols of the streets and deploying its speed cameras.
“As for the roads, quite frankly — and excuse the vernacular — the Town just has to suck it up, because they’re roads everybody uses… I honestly don’t know how to stop them. I’m more than willing to listen for ways, but I can’t figure out a way to stop it.”
The council decided to table the discussions of a mandatory trash program. No future date for discussion was set.
Victor Covey of The Reserves sent a petition to the Town last week, proposing heavy trucks — those heavier than 20,000 pounds — be banned from entering Woodland Avenue.
“Woodland Avenue is in crisis now,” reads the petition. “The additional truck traffic will create extreme safety issues and massive traffic problems unless sensible controls are temporarily imposed.”
The petition, signed by 21 people, also requested that the issue be added to the council’s next agenda for further discussion.
Covey, whose property is not in town limits, attended Tuesday’s meeting and told the council that 166 unincorporated lots in The Reserves will be under construction in the next few years, and residents have concerns about the heavy truck traffic and how that will impact their roads.
He added that many trucks have been using Woodland as a shortcut to other roads, including Muddy Neck.
Curran said the Town is unable to establish limits in terms of the weight of trucks. Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin agreed.
“As far as enforcement goes, Mr. Mayor, when you get into weight, you have to have scales. You have to be able to prove what the weight is,” he said. “The only outfit legally permitted to utilize truck scales in the state is the Delaware State Police.”
“If we said ‘trucks,’ what would that do?” asked Covey. “Could you do that or are you not allowed to do that?”
“Do you drive a Ford or a Chevy?” asked Schrader. “What about his Tundra pickup truck?”
Curran said that, forgetting that there are people who drive pickup trucks, the Town would also need to consider delivery trucks.
McLaughlin suggested, as the Town did with Josh Freeman when Bear Trap was being constructed, that Town officials meet with the developers of the communities and relay their concerns.
“When we sat down with Josh Freeman, who was the developer of that particular development, we made him aware of our concerns. He was able to effect dramatic change very rapidly.”
“I see absolutely no problem with that at all,” said Curran.
The council members all agreed, stating the Town would reach out to the developers to try to address the concerns.
In other Town news:
• The Town had its annual audit, conducted by Jefferson, Urian, Doane & Sterner P.A. The council voted unanimously to accept the 2015-fiscal-year report. The “clean and qualified” report will be available at the Town’s administrative offices and on its website.
• The Ocean View Police Department has a candidate at the Delaware State Police Academy who is training to fill the position of Cpl. Zach Spudis, who will be taking a position with the Delaware State Police. The candidate is expected to complete training in February.
• Trick-or-treating in the town will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 8 p.m., immediately following the Ocean View Police Department’s Cops & Goblins event in John West Park. Those residents who wish to participate in trick-or-treating are being encouraged to turn their lights on.
• The Town will hold its annual Holiday in the Park event on Dec. 12, featuring Santa arriving by fire truck and a tree-lighting ceremony. There will be activities for kids, including balloon art and face painting.