The Town Council introduced on Monday night the ordinance that would ban plastic grocery and takeout bags in Barrington.
But the introduction of the ordinance was not unanimous. The vote was 4-1 with Councilor Bill DeWitt casting the lone nay vote.
And Town Council Vice President Jeff Brenner almost made the vote 3-2. He said he simply could not vote for the ordinance as drafted because he believes there are many questions that still need answers.
Brenner was persuaded, however, by Council President June Speakman that a public hearing on the ordinance in October is the appropriate place to discuss differences of opinion and to get answers to questions and allow additional public input.
The 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 ordinance would be enforced by the police department or any other department or division designated by the town manager. It includes fines of up to $300 per violation.
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.
A retail store owner or manager could appeal the violation in writing to the town manager within 14 days of receiving the notice of violation. The town manager could waive the violation on a “showing of good cause or undue hardship.” Good cause or undue hardship are not defined.
The draft ordinance does include six other definitions: retail sales establishment, checkout bag, plastic barrier bag, double-opening plastic bags, recyclable paper bag, and reusable bag.