Port Orange, FL - A new ordinance in Port Orange aims to help fix a "growing problem": businesses having their shopping carts stolen and then abandoned.
Yesterday's (December 5th) Port Orange City Council meeting saw council members approve the first reading of that ordinance, one intended to keep shopping carts from being removed from the businesses which own them.
Vice-Mayor Scott Stiltner admitted during the meeting that there are "more important things" to worry about, but that this was a problem which needed to be addressed.
"From [Interstate 95] to Village Trail, I counted 11 carts just in various places," Stiltner noted. "The little things add up to be big issues. This is about maintaining our city and maintaining our quality of life."
The ordinance also outlined the responsibilities of the owners, including to retrieve the carts in a timely manner if they end up off their property, to post signs warning shoppers not to take the carts at the entrances to businesses - including parking lots - and to have a sign on every shopping cart identifying the owner and providing contact information.
Port Orange City Manager Jake Johansson says if code enforcement sees any carts left out on business properties, the businesses will receive a call saying that they have 12 hours from the time they were called to retrieve them and corral them properly or else the city will take them.
This new ordinance's other aim is, in its own language, to "reduce unsightly shopping carts on the sides of roads or any other location which is not considered cart owner property and to maintain a high quality of life."
Exemptions can be made based on certain criteria, including if that business owns less than 20 shopping carts or if that business uses security devices like alarms or barriers designed to keep the carts on the owner's property.
Barring a granted exemption, all businesses in the city with shopping carts have six months to come into compliance or face possible penalties.
The city council agreed 4-1 to move the ordinance to a second reading, scheduled for the next city council meeting on December 18th.