04/27/09 — Walnut Creek sets new rules for compost

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Walnut Creek sets new rules for compost

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 27, 2009 1:46 PM

WALNUT CREEK -- Walnut Creek residents will see the compost area re-open on May 2, but that won't likely be the last of improvements that will come in the village.

The village council met to discuss the composting area that was closed in March after it became a dumping ground for an uncontrollable amount of yard and tree debris.

But after cleaning the area out, it is ready to be re-opened, council members say.

A small committee was formed to decide whether or not the compost area should re-open and how village officials could keep the area organized and under control.

That committee decided to open the facility back up the first Saturday in May. Members also set rules for the area.

* The area will be open Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 until 5 p.m.

* Only residents or property owners will be allowed to drop off yard material, and identification of the resident or property owner will be required.

* Contractors will not be allowed to dump yard material at the compost area.

* Tree limbs that are more than 3 inches in diameter will not be allowed to be dumped in the facility.

* Materials in the are will be segregated into two pilings -- grass clippings and tree limbs.

* Surveillance by the Walnut Creek Police Department will be used to ensure compliance of the rules.

The compost area will be open on a trial basis to see how the new rules work.

"With the site re-opened, it will take the continued efforts of both village staff as well as residents being responsible to keep the area operating at peak efficiency," Mayor Pro-tem Danny Jackson said.

The rules will be posted on a new gate placed at the compost area, will be available on the village's Web site and will also be given out at the compost area.

Once the area is re-opened, village council members want anyone witnessing violations of the rules to report the manner to village staff.

Council members also got a brief chance to look over the first phase, or the first five years, of the 10-year road map for village improvements, organized by the village Planning Board.

The road map is the result of a year's worth of effort from the planning board and village staff to turn the village survey results into a plan for the future.

The planning board gave the council a priority list of initiatives to look into, starting with the possibility of lowering the speed limit in the village.

The compost area was second on the list of initiatives, followed by the possibility of eliminating the open air burning ordinance in the village, forming an architecture committee to ensure added value to homes in the area, improving village lighting, making signage enhancements and making golf cart crossings more visible.

The board also believed that forming a welcoming committee for new residents would be helpful as well as improving communication between the council members and the residents.

An improved recreation area, road edge improvements and an improved sense of a neighborhood feeling with village socials rounded out the list of items the board believes the village should tackle in the next five years.

The planning board and council will meet the first Wednesday in May to discuss the road map and make sure the direction that the planning board is taking is on the same path that the council wants to take.

"We don't want them to have put all of this effort into this, only to saw later that we have to pull back and go a different way," Village Administrator Lou Cook said.

The village council will also hold a budget workshop at 7 p.m. May 20 at Village Hall and plan to hold a public hearing on the budget at its May 27 council meeting which will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.