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E.P. Council amends trash ordinances, receives Pawtucket Ave. project update

Hears short-term rental matter can be addressed through greater adherence to current laws

By Mike Rego
Posted 9/16/20

EAST PROVIDENCE — Coinciding with the recent adjustment in how trash is collected here, the City Council at its Tuesday, Sept. 15, meeting made formal changes in four laws pertaining to the …

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Please support local news coverage –

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E.P. Council amends trash ordinances, receives Pawtucket Ave. project update

Hears short-term rental matter can be addressed through greater adherence to current laws

Posted


EAST PROVIDENCE — Coinciding with the recent adjustment in how trash is collected here, the City Council at its Tuesday, Sept. 15, meeting made formal changes in four laws pertaining to the subject.

In giving second and final approval, the council codified amendments to existing ordinances for minimum residential standards, health and sanitation, storage and removal of rubbish and rodent control.

The changes include updates to procedures for both commercial and residential customers, to the fines implemented for infractions and other associated aspects of the city’s refuse and recycling programs.

The amendments were made to the following items in the city’s ordinance book: "Buildings And Building Regulations,” Sections 4-140, 4-161,4-331; “Health and Sanitation,” Article III; "Garbage and Refuse,” Article III And IV; and "Health and Sanitation,” Section 7-30.

The changes were each sponsored by Ward 2 Councilor Anna Sousa, who explained, “The purpose of these ordinances it to keep things clean and sanitary and to lower the nuisance of rodents and vermin in our neighborhoods. So the city also has to do their part. So in these ordinances where we’re putting violations in place, residents and businesses are doing their part, but I also feel like it’s important the city takes its ownership and does it’s part in educating the community.”

Director of Public Works Steve Coutu, responding to a point raised by At-Large member Bob Rodericks, reminded the council and the public the city, as part of the new collection system, has implemented a weekly pick-up of one large item per household by appointment on Fridays.

Mr. Coutu also alerted the body and the community that the collection of mattresses and box springs, as has been the case, can be done via appointment on two Saturdays a month.

Residents can set appointments by calling DPW at 401-435-7701.

Added, Ms. Sousa, “The city would be responsible with educating the public on what’s recyclable, when things are getting picked up. That language wasn’t in the ordinance and I thought that was very important because things are ever changing in terms of garbage and recycling.”

Short-term rentals
The on-going dilemma of how to deal with short-term rentals in the city was once again discussed by the council, brought to the floor by Ward 4 member Ricardo Mourato and Mr. Rodericks.

In response, Assistant City Solicitor Dylan Conley, City Zoning Officer Ed Pimentel and East Providence Police Chief William Nebus each opined the matter could be addressed through enforcement of existing laws.

Mr. Conley said while he was not recommending any changes to the current ordinance, the city was working more urgently on ways to utilize language that exists in its ordinance book.

He said from his reading, the city, through the Municipal Court, can levy a fine of $500 per infraction, adding that figure could be incurred by landlords for each night the residence is rented out and is in violation.

Also, the court can issue subpoenas to rental companies for records, and that they are required by law to reply. In addition, the court has the authority to terminate a renter’s ability to offer space through those companies if the landlord is in repeated violation of the law.

Pawtucket Avenue construction
Raised by Mr. Rodericks, the council received an update on the lengthy effort by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to reconstruct the intersection at Pawtucket Avenue and Pleasant Street.

Mr. Coutu addressed the matter, saying, “It’s been a project that everyone has been waiting to wrap up and DOT does as well.”

The state-owned roads, formally designated as Routes 114 and 114A, have been under seemingly sporadic repair for the last several months. The delay in finishing the project, Mr. Coutu explained, has required the need to coordinate utility work, including telecommunications companies.

After recent inspection of the asphalt and underlying surface, however, Mr. Coutu said it’s likely the area may now have to be closed off entirely for a period of two weeks in October so the new tarmac meets DOT standards. The director added the aim of the state is to still have the project completed by the end of next month.

Mr. Coutu said DOT is currently considering where it will set detours on the surrounding roads before the project contractor can perform the road replacement and conclude the project.

“The good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel, but the bad news is that it’s going to be more disruptive to the city for a period of two weeks,” Mr. Coutu added.

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