EASTLAKE, Ohio - They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure but now you have to pay for that treasure, especially if you don't have the right documentation.
A new ordinance in the city of Eastlake requires scavengers to obtain a permit and register with the city before they are allowed to pick through trash.
Bringing out his garbage for Friday collection, Charles Hacker told NewsChannel5 people scavenging in the Eastlake area is nothing new. But with a toddler at home, he also said it has become more troublesome.
“With children and with slow moving vehicles and it being night time, and a lot of these are vans, that are, you know cargo vans, flatbeds, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open for sure,” Hacker said.
The Eastlake resident said he saw police enforcing the ordinance the other day.
The Eastlake Police Department distributes the permits under the new ordinance. City officials said a plaque will go on the dash of a registered vehicle and the license will expire at the end of each year. It allows people to pick through trash between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.
According to city documents, the ordinance came after complaints of scavengers mistreating properties and sometimes working loudly at odd hours. Another complaint involved a concern over identity theft.
Jonathan Reynolds told said he once helped a scavenger load an old item into their vehicle.
“I've never had a big issue with them. Some people we've actually had problems with them tearing stuff up in the front lawn and then leaving a big mess,” he said.
While Reynolds doesn’t mind the ordinance, not everyone agrees with a need for one. Kenneth Clem thinks it’s just another way for the city to make money.
“They’re making out a living; they’re not doing anything wrong,” Clem said.
Hacker said if anything, scavenging has increased over the years and was actually a problem for residents about a month ago.
Hacker and another neighbor told NewsChannel5 after the area recently experienced significant flooding, some homeowners had to place signs on their properties warning scavengers not to remove any items they were waiting for home insurance adjusters to come and inspect.
Eastlake now joins a number of Northeast Ohio cities placing ordinances on their refuse. Avon Lake and Fairview Park are two other cities that require scavenging permits. Other cities like Olmsted Falls prohibit it all together.
“I think the biggest concern is going to be that, where are these people coming from? Are they local, Lake County residents, are they Cuyahoga, are they Ashtabula? You don’t know and I think that's where people want to find out how many vehicles do we have driving around in our neighborhoods,” Hacker said.
Those who want to register for a permit can do so though the Eastlake Police Department. Permits cost $15.
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