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Leave it Alone: Old Leaf Policy to Remain

Council officially killed a policy that sought harsh penalties onto homeowners found to be violating leaf collection regulations.

The leaves may be changing, but the village's policy governing when and where they can be placed won't be.

The Ridgewood Village Council on Wednesday night unanimously defeated an ordinance that would have made few substantive changes to the existing policy, spare some tough penalties to violators.

At one point during the year-long process, it was proposed that all residents bag the leaves. At another, they could have been jailed for not abiding by the rules. Later, some homeowners could only place leaves on the street, others in the right-of-way.

Now, it's fully scrapped, including the enforcement provisions that would have allowed the village to fine people up to $1,000, force up to 40 hours of community service, and place a tax lien on alleged violators.

"I don't see a a reason to change our policy and pass this," Mayor Paul Aronsohn said. "It was well intended but has been whittled down to nothing."

Although it was revealed that the DEP rescinded the state rule that homeowners could not place leaves out seven days prior to pickup, the village won't be changing pickup times.

Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser said he felt if the village spread out collection times, leaf piles would grow in size. That, he said, would amount to a public safety hazard.

Residents still are not allowed to place branches in the leaf piles.

Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh said she believes it's the repeat offenders that create the problems, and further suggested exploration on easing restrictions on bagging leaves prior to the seven-day period.

Aronsohn said the council in future meetings will touch upon those issues.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

JV October 25, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Thanks for letting me know how to be the right kind of citizen. As far as I was concerned, my first obligation was to remove the "offending" item. If you read my comments, I then placed it out of the way so that it would not be considered an unacceptable addition. Further, you are incorrect in your unsolicited guidance. According to the handwritten note on my notice, there must be "No branches/brush until yard waste season." This is now "leaf waste season." Apparently only leaves are acceptable now, irrespective of container. I shall never again dare to be so incorrect in my presumption of what it means to be a good neighbor.
J.D. Luke October 26, 2012 at 02:52 PM
In order to dispose of branches and brush, you either need to wait until Spring or get that stuff into your vehicle and hit the recycling center with it. Neither one is quite as convenient an option as one might like.
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