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New Ordinance Aims at Cleaning Up Neighborhood Recycling Centers

Sacramento County is taking steps to rid the unincorporated County of noisy, unsightly recycling centers by creating a new set of zoning codes that provide clear definitions and standards for recycling centers. On March 13, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the zoning code amendments that will become effective in 30 days.

“While we want to encourage recycling whenever possible, we hope to maintain neighborhood quality of life by putting an end to the noise of crushing and sorting bottles and to unkempt operations,” said Susan Peters, Supervisor for District 3. “These new standards will restrict locations to discourage loitering and make it easier to solve problems involving complaints about noise, odors and visual blight.”

The amendment requires all existing recycling businesses to immediately comply with certain operational standards, such as limited hours of operation within 300 feet of a residential zone, access to restrooms, and controls on noise, litter, odors and dust. Existing recycling businesses that do not comply with new location standards, in particular those located within 100 feet of residential zones, will be able to apply for a certificate of Non-Conforming Use.

These operators, however, will have the burden to demonstrate they are operating in a manner beneficial to the neighborhood. Neighbors adjacent to non-conforming sites seeking a certificate will be notified of applications and have the opportunity to provide input on whether a certificate should be granted.

“These new standards strike the right balance of allowing well-operated businesses to continue operating while imposing clear enforceable regulations to insure the quality of life of neighborhoods,” Peters added.

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