SP Weighs Curbside Waste Collection
The Southern Pines Town Council is seeking feedback from residents before deciding whether to switch from backdoor to curbside garbage collection, a move that could save the town about $20,000 a month.
Residents who want to retain backdoor service would likely have to pay $4 to $4.50 a month if curbside service is implemented July 1. Disabled residents who cannot take their garbage to the curb would continue to receive backdoor service for free.
Town Man-ager Reagan Parsons said Southern Pines is the only municipality in the region currently served by Waste Management that offers backdoor service.
"It's a very nice service," Parsons said. "It's also very expensive."
Parsons said the money saved by switching to curbside service would help balance the 2013-2014 budget.
"There are plenty of areas that could potentially benefit, from park facilities to improved roadside maintenance," he said.
Parsons said the council will accept public comment on the issue at its March 12 meeting.
"Residents can also call council members in the interim to voice their opinion," he said. "So far, I can't say there have been overwhelming calls in either direction."
Council member Chris Smithson said he was open to curbside service as long as residents had the option to retain backdoor service.
"That might be the best of both worlds," Smithson said. "Overall, the town would save money."
Council member Fred Walden called the potential savings "significant."
"I'm thinking about the budget and what we've gone through the last couple of years," Walden said. "I also wonder if curbside would prevent some of the complaints we get from time to time about trash not being picked up."
Assistant Town Manager David White told the council at its monthly work session Monday that Waste Management, Waste Industries and Waste Connections had submitted bids to provide garbage, recycling and yard waste collection.
But White noted that Waste Connections did not meet all of the town's requests in its bid, while Waste Industries did not submit a proposal for one request.
"We've tried to provide an apples-to-apples comparison," White said. "Some are green apples. Some are red apples. But at least they're not oranges."
In other business Monday, the council got its first look at a draft of the town's new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).
Michael Lauer, a principal at Planning Works, the Kansas company hired by the town to revise the UDO, said the town's existing code "was the most difficult" he had read in his 30 years in the business.
"I've read well over 100 codes in my career," Lauer said. "This process took longer than we anticipated because of all the time we spent wading through and sorting out all the existing processes and standards. The code also had conflicting and missing directives."
Among other things, Lauer said the new UDO simplifies procedures, addresses the unique needs of the area surrounding the downtown historic district, creates greater flexibility for home-based businesses in West Southern Pines, and provides for easier access to town requirements.
For example, Lauer said a developer recently asked council member Mike Fields how to do a minor subdivision.
"He stumbled and fumbled with the old UDO," Lauer said. "It took him about 30 seconds in the new one. That's the biggest difference."
Parsons said the town would schedule public forums in April to gather feedback before sending the revised UDO through public hearings at the Southern Pines Planning Board and Town Council levels.
"The idea for the forums is to roll out the changes that are being made before the revised UDO enters the formal hearing process," he said. "I really like the direction Planning Works is taking it as far as getting the existing code organized and easy to follow for someone looking to do a project in Southern Pines.
"Obviously, the devil is in the details. I am pleased the project continues to move forward. It's a very important one as far as the future of Southern Pines is concerned."
Lauer said neighborhood development plans for downtown Southern Pines and West Southern Pines are scheduled to be unveiled to the public next month.
"There was strong concensus for what we have in them, so I don't expect any issues," he said.
The UDO controls all design and land-use regulations for the town. The revision will streamline and update the existing code in addition to ensuring its compliance with, and ability to implement the goals of, the Comprehensive Long-Range Plan (CLRP) adopted by the town in 2010.
The UDO has been amended countless times but not revised since its inception in 1989.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or email@example.com.
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