ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA)–Anderson County leaders said they are now looking at updating its Junk Vehicle/ Open Storage Ordinance.
“Well originally the ordinance was written back in 1988, and now that we’re kind of looking at them, we’re going to tweak them a little bit, kind of in phases,” said Greg Smith, Solid Waste Director for Anderson County. “First thing we’re looking at is junk vehicles. When you own a car and you have it in your yard, it’s supposed to be tagged and insured or under a covered shed or a garage. So basically, you want your neighborhood to look good and all of that. You don’t want to see a bunch of cars on blocks, and we get a lot of calls, from the public, and I mean everyday. We get a couple at least everyday,” Smith said.
Smith said it’s happening all over the county. He said it’s a problem.
“It’s definitely a problem because we wouldn’t be getting so many calls if it wasn’t,” Smith said.
“Mostly the ones that we hear about are in resident’s yards. It could be one with no tag,” Smith said. “I’ve had as many as 70 on a back lot that somebody was trying to get just for metal,” Smith said.
Kellye Rainey said she sees this in her rural community.
“I live in Starr so you see that a little bit more in that area, than you do sometimes in the Anderson area,” Rainey said.
Smith said at the moment, they give 90 days for people to get them fixed, sell them, or get a tag.
“We generally give 90 days to get it fixed. Either you got to sell it, get a tag for it, get it repaired, or put it in a garage where the public can’t see it,” Smith said.
Now the county is looking at updating those laws even more.
“We are looking at the laws,” Smith said. “It’s not normal for everybody all the time, but sometimes folks buy two vehicles to try to place parts and all of that, so we trying to figure out which direction to go with them, and give them maybe a certain amount of time to get that fixed up and not sit there for three four years,” Smith said.
Smith said it’s not good to have old cars sitting around.
“When you have old vehicles sometimes there’s oil that will be leaking onto the ground. It could have gas in it that’s leaking. A lot of times, you’d see grass growing up beside it, real tall grass that folks won’t cut, which creates a pest,” Smith said. “So the people really want us to clean that kind of stuff up,” he said.
“I mean, I think anything that they can do to clean up the entire area just makes sense. I mean it helps keep property values where they should be and stuff like that. So, I think just keeping it clean as a whole–as a county, is important,” Rainey said.
Smith said they are working with the county administrator, attorney, and council members on the language for the updated ordinance. Once it’s complete, it will go to county council for three readings.
COUNTY SEES OTHER TRASH ISSUES INCREASING
Smith said it’s not just abandoned cars, but also the county is seeing an increase in illegal dumping of tires and litter.
“That’s the first phase of it. We’re definitely going to be looking into the litter we got in the county,” Smith said. “The cars are just a piece of the pie, and we will kind of start there and then we will look at the next one and the next one, and kind of go through,” Smith said.
They’re now considering adding more cameras to catch people and adding more officers.
“We’re putting into the budget to try to go that direction. We’ll have to look at the way things are. I mean we’re having to look at our fuel prices and repairs and things of that nature. Nobody wants to raise taxes of course, so we’re trying to keep that good with our residences,” Smith said.
“It is something that’s definitely needed. I’ve got three officers to cover the whole county, and if you’re focusing a lot on trashy yards, or junk vehicles, it’s hard to go watch too much for the litters themselves and try to concentrate on those areas,” Smith said. “Right now, we’d be looking at adding two more to take it to a total of five. We’re also looking at trying to add two more litter crews to put out there with our detention center. Our detention center does a great job with the two crews they have. They are running all over this county. Basically they are picking up anywhere from 1,600 to 1,800 bags a month. That’s a lot,” Smith said.
Whether it’s junk cars, trash, or dumped tires, the county is working hard to address the issues.
“I mean, how hard is it to pick up paper, a cup, a bottle and just throw it in a trash can, and we see so much on the side of the road. I’ve had roads that we’ve picked up in a three mile stretch, a 120 bags,” Smith said.
“We need folks to understand. Save the money of crews picking it up and put it towards the things that we need in this county. It’s such a waste that folks have to go out there and pick up after people,” Smith said.
Smith said adding Environmental Enforcement Officers, would help in concentrating on highly littered roads.