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Pols: Litter be gone!

Bills would require landlords and takeout shops to provide trash cans.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown wants more trash cans and less litter.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown wants more trash cans and less litter.Read more

PHILADELPHIA didn't get the nickname Filthadelphia for nothing.

Sidewalks, gutters, alleys and vacant lots across the city serve as litter zones for those who don't bother to find actual trash cans and recycling bins.

Could it be that there are too few cans and bins in the city?

City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown believes so, and yesterday introduced two bills that would require food businesses and some residential landlords to furnish their properties with trash cans and recycling bins.

The bills are "designed to make our city more attractive and livable. Trash is out of control. Period!" Reynolds Brown said before the start of Council's weekly meeting.

She worked on the bills with the Nutter administration, which, during the remainder of the year, will announce a series of legislative initiatives, commitments and investments designed to reduce litter, Nutter's office said.

Reynolds Brown, an at-large Democrat, said the bills are modeled after the "Disneyland Theory," created by the late Walt Disney, who placed trash cans no more than 30 feet apart to prevent littering in his theme parks.

The first bill would require that trash cans and recycling bins be placed in or within 10 feet of the entrance of any business that sells "prepared or prepackaged food for takeout or consumption off the premises."

The second bill pertains to owners of buildings with six or more apartment units. Landlords would be required to have dumpsters and recycling bins in common areas to alleviate the need for their tenants to keep trash in their homes all week or illegally dump it prior to trash pickup day.

The bills are meant to address ambiguous language in the city code, Reynolds Brown said.

"It's a disgrace when you walk through parts of this city and you see citizens buy [food] and there's nowhere for them to put their trash," she said. "So, government has a responsibility and citizens have a responsibility."

The councilwoman said that once the bills become law, she will begin working on companion legislation to create fines for those who fail to comply. Hearings for the bills have not yet been set.

Also at yesterday's meeting, Council unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by 2nd District Councilman Kenyatta Johnson that urges Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation to upgrade safety standards for railroad cars that carry crude oil through the city.

Also, two bills sponsored by 6th District Councilman Bobby Henon passed.

The first, co-sponsored with 1st District Councilman Mark Squilla, allows property owners waiting for property-tax assessment appeal hearings - and who requested hearings between March 31, 2013 and Oct. 6, 2014 - to pay their current property and use and occupancy tax bills based on their 2013 rate.

The second Henon-sponsored bill bans certain sidewalk sales in the 6th District, which includes Mayfair, Holmesburg, Bridesburg and Port Richmond.