Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Litter From Store Circulars Piling Up Again

Most of you have noticed that as of 2 or 3 months ago, houses in the borough are once again having store circulars delivered to them. And once more, these circulars aren't being brought inside and are littering the whole town. We're getting back to looking the way all the naysayers expect Norristown to look and we'd better nip it in the bud quickly.

Frankly, I don't mind the circulars--I like getting the ones for the stores I go to each week. I recycle the rest, and the plastic bag can be recycled with grocery store bags.

Most homeowners I know bring the circulars inside the day they show up, though not all, which I don't get. Why would you want your property to look like a trash heap?

The main problem seems to be the landlords. As I've said before, the majority of housing units in Norristown are rented. If tenants don't take in the circulars--and many of them don't--only a handful of the landlords will pick them up, even if they visit regularly. It's like they're both waiting for the other to make the first move. Worst yet are the rental houses that are between tenants, like the one next to me.

Since my next door neighbor moved on September 30, workers and/or the landlord have been at the house at least 3 times a week as they fix up the place. The circular packages have been piling up on the porch. The workers have even thrown them off the porch into the side yard (for no reason I can see). The pages have been blowing all over. The clincher was when someone put a recycling bin on the front porch last week AND STILL DIDN'T PUT THE CIRCULARS IN IT. After a few days, someone eventually did clean up the porch slightly--and yes, I only mean "slightly" (why wouldn't they pick up ALL the papers?). Circulars still litter the side yard, and since the windstorm the other morning, they're all over the neighbors' yards as well.

I'm hearing the same thing from residents all over town. A lot of landlords just let the circular packages and other trash collect on their properties. Isn't that a Codes issue? Why isn't anyone being cited? We could be making a fortune in fines.

Still, you can't blame Council for this one. They tried to remedy the problem by outlawing the circular packages, which is why we didn't get them for so long. But the company who distributes the blasted things sued Norristown, so the circulars are back.

Council DID give us an out. If you don't want to receive the packages, place a sign “no larger than 18 inches by 6 inches” on your property that reads “No Solicitation or Handbills.” (Hey, landlords, you can do this, too.) If the company continues to deliver them, report them and they'll be fined $600 to $1000 for each property where they distribute unwanted advertisements. I'd suggest putting your sign inside a window or door glass, where it'll be protected from the elements, otherwise you might find yourself being fined for not maintaining the sign. The posting will also apply to slips of paper put in your door handle--restaurant take-out menus, etc., but not political handbills. We're stuck with them.

If you have a problem landlord who lets trash collect, feel free to print out this article and put it in his mailbox (though he'll probably just let it blow all over--maybe mail it to his residence instead). Or you can do what I'll be doing from now on. Until another tenant moves in next door, I'll do the neighborly thing and bring in nextdoor's package to recycle when I bring in my own. Unless the distribution company sues me for that, too.

Or how 'bout we organize a weekly town bonfire? I'll bring the marshmallows.

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