County Waste faces fines or even license revocation

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Homes on Arcadia Avenue, at left, are located not far from a Dumpster behind the Starbucks at 1244 Western Ave. Guilderland’s town board moved last week to allow the town attorney to pursue whatever legal remedy is needed to stop County Waste from picking up garbage from this and several other Guilderland restaurants in the middle of the night.

GUILDERLAND — The town board here voted on Dec. 3 to allow the town attorney, James Melita, to “take whatever actions are necessary” against County Waste, to make it comply with the town code about pickup times near residential neighborhoods. 

County Waste has been picking up garbage from a number of restaurants on Western Avenue during very early hours of the morning, town Supervisor Peter Barber told The Enterprise on Dec. 6. 

Town code prohibits picking up garbage in residential areas, or within 500 feet of residential areas, outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but the company has had “continued and repeated” violations of this regulation, said Barber. 

“They’ve been picking up at 5, or 4 a.m., in a couple of cases at 2 a.m.,” he said. 

Multiple attempts to reach County Waste were unsuccessful. 

The actions Melita could take include levying fines or even revoking the company’s license to pick up garbage in the town. Revocation would require a public hearing, Barber said. 

“What we’re looking for,” the supervisor emphasized, “is compliance.” 

All the complaints have been from residents near Western Avenue restaurants, Barber said. Residents have complained about early-morning pickups at two restaurants in Westmere — Burger King at 1991 Western Ave. and Capital City Diner at 1709 Western Ave. — and two in McKownville — Starbucks at 1244 Western Ave. and Across the Street Pub at 1238 Western Ave. 

Melita told the town board on Dec. 3 that building inspector Lou Vitelli has been working with County Waste, trying to gain compliance, “for several months, if not over a year now.” 

Barber said at the meeting that his understanding was that this has gone on for years, and that the company would comply for a time, and then begin violating again. Referring to Vitelli, he said, “I think he would get sick of the back-and-forth, back-and forth.” 

Melita told the board he sent a letter to County Waste on Oct. 15, noticing the violation, and has not received a response. 

The next step will be for Melita to send County Waste a “strongly worded letter,” said Barber. 

If the company complies, “great,” he said. 

If it doesn’t, Melita is authorized to immediately seek fines or even a revocation, the supervisor explained. 

According to a list on the town’s website, there are seven licensed rubbish collectors in Guilderland, including County Waste. 


More Guilderland News

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  • Acting Albany County Supreme Court Judge Roger McDonough in an Oct. 7 decision found a number of Save the Pine Bush’s arguments and requests for relief “to be lacking in merit” and dismissed the case. 

  • The town of Guilderland is opposing a request from Crossgates that the mall’s 2020 and 2021 tax certiorari cases be consolidated into one lawsuit in part because the circumstances surrounding the valuations “were completely different.” The 2021 case would be based on a July 2020 valuation — when malls were closed for three of the year’s six months — compared to a 2020 tax hearing, which would be based on numbers from July 2019.

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