City leaders exploring brush pile alternatives
The city's brush pile remains closed for the time being, but Eudora city leaders are looking into the possibility of offering composting and mulching services rather than re-allowing residents to burn tree limbs, grass clippings and the like.
Several weeks ago, the Eudora City Council closed the brush pile after hearing from residents living near the facility, north of the 500 block of Birch Street. Neighbors complained about illegal dumping, out-of-towners dumping and setting fires, and the general nuisance caused by burning items near their homes.
In the meantime, the city barricaded the facility, which also restricted access to nearby land owned privately and rented out. Mark Gabriel said the city had a "handshake agreement" with his father to allow access to what was then the city sewage area using Gabriel's road, and the agreement continued when the sewage facilities were moved and the brush pile located there.
"I'm in total agreement with the people who are smelling this stuff," he said.
However, he did have a problem with a gate placed at the top of the road, which he said would be dangerous when large farm equipment had to park near busy Main Street to unlock a gate. City Council member Scott Hopson said the problem with having a gate at the bottom of the road closer to the brush pile would be that illegal dumpers would deposit trash in front of the gate, leaving daily clean-up for city workers.
The Council came to a consensus that the private road would be re-opened for landowners' and renters' use and that city staff would come back to the Council with a plan for restricted access. In the meantime, burning will still not be allowed at the site.
Ideas for restricted access included staffing the site during certain hours and checking dumpers' drivers' licenses or utility bills to make certain they were Eudora residents.
"I think maybe there's some ways we can do it at this present location," said Council member Tom Pyle.
Staff will also bring to the Council information on how the city might be able to offer residents composting and mulching services.
"We need a place for people to take their leaves and grass clippings, but we don't need to burn them," Hopson said.
City Administrator Mike Yanez said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment monitored composting just as it did brush-burning piles, and the city would have to see with what regulations it would have to comply. Recreation director Dianna Beebe also suggested the city look at a composting "tumbler" the city of Lawrence used. Beebe said she thought it might have been a county purchase, meaning Eudora would be entitled access to it, too.
Currently, Superintendent Jim Boyer said he had been telling inquisitive residents that the sanitation department would pick up cut and bundled tree limbs and bagged grass clippings.