Yard waste and other debris being dumped in a parking lot at Belmont Park has frustrated some neighbors who say the activity is an “embarrassment” that is harming the aesthetics of an otherwise beautiful space.
Piles of tree limbs, grass clippings and other waste take up most of the parking spaces in the lot on Lynhurst Avenue, where the road dead-ends in Belmont Park.
The city says it is a maintenance area lot and dumping of yard waste is legal because it is one of the city's three "green landfill" locations.
But neighbors say all kinds of unsightly trash are dumped at the site. On Wednesday, there was a broken porch swing, pieces of furniture and a vacuum cleaner among the waste.
The city has not cleared the parking lot of waste for about three weeks, which is disappointing, said Tom Hand, 69, who lives on Woodbine Avenue, north of the park. But the larger issue is that dumping activities have gotten out of control and should not be allowed in a residential area, he said.
“This is ludicrous,” he said. “This has gotten progressively worse.”
City staff were at the site Wednesday disposing of limbs and other waste.
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More than a decade ago, the city told citizens and neighbors to take their leaves to leaf-collection sites, and the Belmont Park lot was chosen as a site, said Hand, who for years worked in maintenance operations with the city.
The city used to have large traffic barrier markers to define the dump site, but those were removed years ago, Hand said.
The city originally posted a sign during the fall months saying that it is a collection site, but it used to be taken down in December, Hand said.
Now, the sign is up year-round and dumping takes place at all hours of the day, all year long, he said.
The city officials say the parking lot has been used for yard waste removal for years.
The lot is a mess because people dump their waste everywhere, causing large and ugly mounds to form, neighbors say.
Recently, only a fraction of the paved spaces in the lot were available because of the amount of waste.
“It’s just unattractive and people are dumping just about anything they want to,” said Renee Larkins, a local resident.
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Contractors and small-scale commercial yard and garden businesses dump their waste in the lot, and the city essentially is subsidizing their operations, Hand said.
Hand claims the city is violating its own code by having a dump site in the middle of a residential neighborhood. He said the dumping is harming a city park that is a regional destination because of its disc golf course.
The city’s other two green landfill sites are at 2670 Wagner Ford Road and 1826 N. Gettysburg Ave.
The Gettysburg site is along a commercial corridor with no nearby residences. The Wagner Ford site is closer to an area with homes.
City officials told this news organization the lot normally doesn’t get as full as it was Wednesday, and they plan to have it cleared by the weekend. They said most people who dump at the lot follow the rules.
Larkin, Hand and other neighbors say they wish the city would choose a different place to have a dump site. They said it’s hurting a community asset.
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