Ban of Plastic Bags at Finish Line
The Town Council could decide tonight if plastic grocery and takeout bags will be banned in Barrington; a public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled.
The Town Council is expected to decide tonight, Oct. 1, if it will ban plastic grocery and takeout bags in Barrington.
An ordinance that bans the plastic bags was introduced at the council’s September meeting. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for tonight's meeting at 7 in the Council Chamber in Town Hall.
Supporters and opponents are expected to raise many of the same issues made previously at a public workshop on the proposed ban proposed by Conservation Commission member Joseph Roberts and supported by the commission.
To this point, the ban on plastic bags has gone down a bit of a bumpy road. The vote in favor of introducing the ordinance, in fact, was 4-1 with one councilor, Jeff Brenner, definitely on the fence. Councilor Bill DeWitt was the lone nay vote.
A previous vote on approving the writing of the ordinance in July was 3-2, with Councilor Cynthia Coyne then joining DeWitt in voting nay.
Perhaps complicating the issue even further is that Shaw's Supermarket, believe to be the largest user of plastic bags in Barrington, plans to ban the food carriers on a trial basis by the end of this year. So, you probably shouldn’t place a bit on this vote.
The ordinance includes fines of up to $300 per violation and describes how the ordinance would be enforced – either by the police department or an officer of the town manager. If approved by the Town Council, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
The draft ordinance bans plastic bags “to improve the environment in Barrington and the health, safety and welfare of its residents by encouraging the use of reusable checkout bags.” It encourages retailers to offer for sale reusable bags. It does not suggest a price per bag.
The police department would enforce ordinance unless the town manager assigns that responsibility to another department.
A potential violation would be investigated and followed up with a written notice to the owner or manager of the retail establishment. The notice would either be served to the owner or manager in person or by posting it in a conspicuous place of the store and sending a copy to the owner or manager.
A retail store’s owner or manager would have to respond in writing within 14 days that the violation has ended. A second violation after the 14-day response period and within one year of the response from the retailer would lead to a $150 fine. A third violation within a year of the second and any subsequent violations would lead to a $300 fine.
The bag-ban ordinance is expected to dominate the Town Council’s agenda. But there are several other items on the agenda with significance.
Another public hearing on an ordinance that amends the use of public waters, particularly the mooring sites in Barrington, is on the agenda.
An update on the proposal to set up a Municipal Court in Barrington is on the agenda. Some of the financial aspects of setting up the court are expected to be presented.
The Town Council also will be asked to sign off on new 3-year union contracts for the police and fire departments that give officers and firefighters a 2 percent raise each year.
The Barrington Business Association is making several requests:
- Host a Harvest Stroll festival on town property on Oct. 13;
- Hang banners on the County Road lampposts seasonally;
- Sponsor a “Jingle Mingle Run”;
- Purchase holiday lights for the Government Center complex.