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Amherst tweaks rules for garbage totes

Here’s a good one for you.

Storing your garbage tote along the side of your home - like many people do - has long been against the rules in the Town of Amherst - even though most homeowners never knew about it.

Twenty-seven residents in an area near Klein and Youngs roads recently found out the hard way. Someone blew them in to the town and they were cited for the violation.

Little did they know that Amherst town code section 169-16.B requires all garbage and refuse containers be stored inside or behind the building.

Naturally, the violators complained.

“It’s a silly rule. That’s what it boils down to,” said Councilmember Steven D. Sanders.

Many residents have trouble storing the large garbage totes in the garage and putting them behind the house is inconvenient, Sanders said. There are plenty of homeowners storing garbage totes neatly along the side of their house without a problem, he said. In fact, the Refuse Department receives fewer than 15 complaints a year about the issue, he said.

Sanders tried tackling the issue three years ago, but failed to gather enough support on the Town Board to change the law.

On Monday, Sanders again sponsored a resolution – this time it was approved by a thin 3-2 margin - directing the Town Attorney’s office to tweak the town code “to also allow the storage of the garbage and recycling totes behind the front elevation of the primary building on the property provided that the totes are at least partially obstructed from view from the street.”

In other words, Amherst homeowners, you’ll now be able to store your garbage cans alongside your home - legally.

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