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Old 04-18-2015, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default Compost Piles On Parkway Strip

Howdy Composters! I'm seeking feedback on of my ventures into extreme composting...forget about hiding piles...I say locate them at the source of the materials...but they must not be ugly...which means no black or green plastic bin of any type. These bins are full of weeds from my front yard and neighbors' leaves that were landfill-bound. Only three are in the picture...there are six all together.

I've had the piles on the strip since November, but finally got asked by the city to remove them. There is no HOA...the guy next to me has a junk car in his driveway and another neighbor has a boat-on-a-trailer next to his house in plain sight.

Are my piles too extreme? Should I remove them or try to convince my city to let me keep them? I'm sure most of my neighbors do not care one bit.

Regards,

Rob
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:44 PM   #2
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Cities have ordinances that are somewhat like HOAs. It seems some vague language has been used that might contain a compost pile generally.

Richardson Code & Ordinance
http://www.cor.net/index.aspx?page=406

Quote:
(1) Maintain those portions of the interior of a structure under his control free from rubbish, garbage and other conditions that would encourage infestation of insects, rodents or vermin.
CHAPTER 6: BUILDINGS AND BUILDING REGULATIONS
ARTICLE VIII. PROPER
TY MAINTENANCE
Sec. 6-356. Responsibilities of occupant.

http://www.cor.net/modules/showdocum...documentid=548

Quote:
(10) The allowing of paper, lumber, rocks, junk or other trash or debris to accumulate or remain on any piece of property in such a manner as to create a harborage or breeding place for rats, vermin or insects, or in such a manner as to be offensive or injurious to the public health or unpleasant and disagreeable in sight or odor to persons residing or occupying any adjacent premises, to persons who may be in a public place or public right-of-way, or to persons who file an official complaint with the city.
Sec. 14-2. Enumeration.
http://www.cor.net/modules/showdocum...documentid=545

Hard to say what would be acceptable or not. Probably would need to be fully contained to prevent most of the issues that are in the ordinance.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:14 AM   #3
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Yes I agree, fully contained/protected would be the responsible way to handle composts. It seems one of the main directions of the laws are to prevent varmits from getting in it, due to the irresponsible actions of some.

These laws seem like a lot of red tape, but it is amazing how irresponsible the public can be. Just think about the people that live nearby, and how many pet dogs, cats, are allowed to roam freely. Not to mention the wild animals that have no problem investigating waste/compost sites. And I might add that if there wasn't a law, requiring septic tank/sewer utilization, some of the general public would not even use that!

I keep my composting very clean, I never put meat nor grease in it for example, sometimes bones, but only if I have charred them first, I use chicken and rabbit manures, but in limited quantity compared to all the leaves I use. Crows will frequent my compost pile from time to time, and the squirrels like to bury nuts and seeds in it. But usually when I bury whatever fresh kitchen waste I have, the pile goes undisturbed by varmits.

Did you know, here in Arkansas, the factory chicken producers is a vast industry. And they have a lot, I mean thousands upon thousands of dead birds that become waste, for various factory raised reasons. And the industry about 10 years ago, required the chicken producers to build composting bins and the use thereof. But before that, there was no requirement, and what did some of the old time producers do????? You guessed it, they simply piled the dead carcasses, oft times not even buried in a mountain of chicken litter, well you can imagine the super funky dump sites, and the vermin that feed off of it. You wouldn't normally consider The American Bald Eagle, as vermin, but they use to flock, literally huge flocks would feed at these dead carcass/litter disposal sites, not so very long ago. https://www.uaex.edu/publications/PDF/FSA-29.pdf Proper disposal of dead livestock is producer?s responsibility

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Old 04-19-2015, 11:22 AM   #4
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My uncle raised chickens for the eggs; When they stopped laying the Soup company picked them up. The dead ones were placed out for vultures which are quite plentiful in S.C.

Since most prairie plants like full sun moving the compost silos to a shady area or trench composting might be the solution.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:58 PM   #5
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They look nice and tidy but by the sound of the regulations just posted (an if yours are much the same) it sounds like you'll have to switch to something that's self contained and capped.
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:34 AM   #6
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I'm guessing one of your neighbors complained. Here in GR, the City usually won't bother to enforce such codes unless they get a call. For instance, cracked sidewalks. Not so long ago, the homeowner was responsible for fixing those cracks but the City wouldn't do anything about it unless/until some one complained. Composting used to be illegal in the city limits but, again, nothing was done if no one complained. Back yard chickens are another example. Against the law, but tolerated if neighbors don't complain (recently, chickens were approved with a LONG list of "rules" for owning them).

My property (about 1.5 city lots in size) is very unconventional. No chem-lawn, no annuals planted, etc. I have tall prairie plants in the front yard. I'm removing turf grass a little at a time to replace it with other plants. So far, my neighbors are very tolerant, but I'm mindful of that and try not to do anything to get the ball rolling. My compost pile (now legal) is in the back yard, out of sight, and carefully maintained to avoid odors or varmints.
I had the City called on me once quite a few years ago. I left some bags of leaves beside the house (before my composting days). I was saving them to use in the garden in the spring. A neighbor thought the bags were trash and called the City. A second time, I was notified that my "wild area" was illegal. Can't have anything growing more than 12" tall that doesn't flower. I had to explain that my grasses DO flower. I cut everything down once a year - either spring or fall - to maintain the peace.
So far, so good, with my neighbors. I am surrounded by chem-lawns but they are letting me do my own thing.
With all that being said, I'm sure they would not tolerate compost piles on the parkway. Not even if they were just leaves and not even if they were neat and tidy. I'd rather do what I can to keep the peace so that I don't have the City of GR snooping around too much and citing me for other things they may find. If you have another area you can use for the piles, I'd probably just move them. Sometimes, it's not worth fighting City Hall.....may open a can of worms you just don't want to open!
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:44 PM   #7
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Hi All,

It's been a while but thank you for the replies. I must say I was a bit disappointed not to get more support. I fared much better in the local organic gardening group's facebook page. Alas the post is deeply buried or I'd share the link.

No local regulations were cited by neighborhood integrity...Rockerboo my compliments on your research!

The fact is that fears of pests are greatly exaggerated. The local feral cat population aside, rodents are simply going to find more private housing than out on the sidewalk. And if they did want to live in compost piles, they would choose the never touched ones in so many backyards.

I did win the battle - no material was removed from its location. I simply knocked the piles down and spread the product around. It's late and I'm on a roll but tomorrow I will post a photo of the area. It looks pretty good.

But to address the matter of a compost pile that would attract rodents, what about the cover photo of this forum? That one rings the dinner bell, no? Not to mention that most of the vegetable matter still looks good enough to eat. It is a pretty picture, but it is not how a compost pile should look. Maybe the photo was taken before a layer of browns was added?

Kind regards,

Rob
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Old 11-14-2015, 08:48 AM   #8
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Congrats on winning the battle. I bet it looks a lot nicer and the neighbors are content now that it's all composted and spread around real nice. Did you move the bins to the back once they were emptied or still using them up front? Looking forward to viewing the area.

Quote:
But to address the matter of a compost pile that would attract rodents, what about the cover photo of this forum? That one rings the dinner bell, no? Not to mention that most of the vegetable matter still looks good enough to eat. It is a pretty picture, but it is not how a compost pile should look. Maybe the photo was taken before a layer of browns was added?
Not how a compost pile should look like...Hmmmm maybe the vegetable matter hit the floor or something and wasn't fit for eating? Who knows why it ended up in that compost bin. I see brown and decaying debri below so you know it's being used as such.
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Old 11-14-2015, 05:41 PM   #9
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Maybe the vegetables were discarded by a grocery store. For the most part if they just hit the ground they could be rinsed and safely eaten, I think. But for all the concern expressed about completely contained piles I'm surprised to see an open pile. And don't all compost teachings say to cover the greens with browns?

Anyway, thanks, Havalotta for asking about the pics. Here is one that looks west (left) and one that looks east(right). Tall foreground plants in the west photo are volunteer prairie goldenrod; those in the east photo are volunteer salvia. Many other nice volunteers sprouted as well, I guess from all those evil weed seeds that survived because I have little to no interest in taking the time to make hot piles. I make them on occasion if the right ingredients are available but otherwise I compost whatever my neighbors would have the city use our tax dollars to send to the landfill.
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Old 11-15-2015, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardsonTX View Post
Maybe the vegetables were discarded by a grocery store. For the most part if they just hit the ground they could be rinsed and safely eaten, I think. But for all the concern expressed about completely contained piles I'm surprised to see an open pile. And don't all compost teachings say to cover the greens with browns?

Anyway, thanks, Havalotta for asking about the pics. Here is one that looks west (left) and one that looks east(right). Tall foreground plants in the west photo are volunteer prairie goldenrod; those in the east photo are volunteer salvia. Many other nice volunteers sprouted as well, I guess from all those evil weed seeds that survived because I have little to no interest in taking the time to make hot piles. I make them on occasion if the right ingredients are available but otherwise I compost whatever my neighbors would have the city use our tax dollars to send to the landfill.
Can't speak for the cover photo of this forum...but I like YOUR photos, RichardsonTX! The parkway looks great. Maybe the cover photo for this forum was just a snapshot that someone took cuz it looked pretty (tossed the colorful leaves on and snapped the pic).

I agree with you that compost piles - when actually turned and used - don't attract rodents. I've never found any in mine and I only turn/sift/spread twice a year (spring and fall). I'm glad you were able to keep your piles and got some volunteers from them! Here in Gr, MI, the city would have come and removed them and then sent me a bill for their "services". I wish I could take some of my neighbors' clippings and leaves but they are all chemlawn people and I don't want to add that to my compost. Every year, I wish I had MORE than I end up with. I use all of my yard clippings and all of our kitchen fruit/veggie scraps... and I could still use more.

Oh, and my piles are not completely contained. I use an enclosed bin for the first phase and then flip it all into an open-topped round bin after a few weeks when it is partially broken down. I must admit that in the winter, when it's too danged cold out to bother, I dump stuff right into the open bin and cover it with leaves or straw. Just trying to keep the immacu-lawn neighbors from a panic attack when they see my dumping "garbage" in my back yard

Anyway, long story short, your photos look great! I hope my parkway looks more like that next year - I just started ripping out lawn and planting out there this year.
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