The city of Ann Arbor is a beautiful place to work and go to school. From the Law Quad to the shops of Main Street, the town provides a pristine and scenic backdrop for University students. It is sad to note, however, that trash and garbage seems to be piling up in front of many houses. For too long, a walk in this area has presented students with the aftereffects of weeks of negligence strewn all over the neighborhood. Solo cups, newspapers, broken glass and even couch cushions are eyesores often seen dotting the front lawns of many local properties. Weekend parties are particularly notorious for creating litter problems that persist for weeks after the party ends. This failure of many residents to pick up after themselves has been a consistent problem for many students. The recent decision by the city to fine residents for trashy lawns should do much to alleviate this messy problem.
Though not isolated to student housing, the vast majority of complaints have been levied against property occupied by students. As a result, the appearance of our campus has suffered. Moreover, because many of the worst problem spots seem to center near campus, students are the group most affected by the poor conditions. The Ann Arbor City Council has rightfully decided to do something about it. Property owners will be charged a heavy fine for failing to keep their land free of refuse – that fee will come in addition to what the city charges for cleaning up the mess.
On a lesser note, the city’s employees should not remain responsible for keeping tabs on residents who are unwilling to maintain the appearance of their property. Despite charging a fee for this service, residents should remain responsible for trash clean up. It is not the job of the city to baby-sit negligent residents.
Ann Arbor tenants pay outrageous rates for sub-par housing, an issue needing more attention. Landlords should be held partially responsible – a deteriorating rental does little to inspire good outside housekeeping. Fines will range from $200 to $500, a substantial amount especially for most students renting at already exorbitant rates. However, students will not be fined for a first or even second offense. The fines will only be charged to those repeatedly failing to clean up their property, an excellent way to target those consistently failing to keep their front yards up to a reasonable standard of appearance.
This ordinance is long overdue and should do a great deal to promote the responsible maintenance of local property. Granted, most of the mess is due to the irresponsibility of a few, but it only takes a few to turn an otherwise well-kept sidewalk into a veritable landfill.
Given that these owners and tenants have not proven to be conscientious in properly disposing of waste, it is in the best interest of the majority of residents for the city to step in. The fines should prove effective in deterring those leaving trash in large quantities outdoors, to the benefit of all members of the University community.