Soon to be a law?  Return the shopping cart or be fined


The shopping cart area outside C Town on Park Street. Photo by Jeff Merchan

By Jeffrey Merchan

For years, the City of Peekskill and local businesses have tried to find solutions for the extensive amounts of abandoned shopping carts around the city. A proposed local law is an attempt to end this problem. At Monday’s Common Council meeting, members voted to schedule a public hearing to get input about a new chapter of the city’s municipal code entitled Shopping Carts that addresses abandoned shopping carts on public property. The public hearing is scheduled for May 22, 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.  

The following stores will be affected by this proposed law: C-Town, Save-A-Lot, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Stop-n-Shop, Dollar Tree, Apple Market, CVS, Walgreens, and Home Depot (Town of Cortlandt).

According to proposed Chapter 465 of the municipal code, tenants or owners will have 90 days from the adoption of the proposed law to take means to prevent removal of shopping carts from the property such as patrolling premises, installing wheel locks, utilizing a lock mechanism or coin deposit, or a perimeter locking device. Owners will have 90 days to mark shopping carts with their name and address and display signs, in English and Spanish, near all customer entrances and exits notifying customers that removal of shopping carts is prohibited by law and violators are subject to fines and/or imprisonment.  

Carts at city garage before going to scrap metal.

First time violators of this proposed law will receive a fine not exceeding $150 or imprisonment not exceeding five days or both. Each subsequent violation, will result in a fine not exceeding $500 or imprisonment not exceeding 15 days or both. 

Costs for business will vary depending on how many carts each business owns and the measures the business utilizes to enforce the proposed law. The Department of Public Works will be responsible for the costs to ensure compliance including labor and equipment to collect the shopping carts and all associated paperwork. 

Shopping carts retrieved by the city will be stored and a notice will be mailed to the owner at the address provided on the cart. These notices will inform owners that shopping carts can be redeemed after paying $50 per shopping cart. Shopping carts with no identification will  be put up for public auction. If not sold, the shopping cart will be destroyed and disposed of. All proceeds from a redemption or sale, will be deposited in the general funds of the city. 

C-Town supermarket, on Park Street, has been at the forefront of the abandoned cart problem in Peekskill. In previous years, a manager and an employee drove around Peekskill three days a week picking up abandoned carts in a store van. That practice continues and the hours vary depending on what employees are available. In addition, C-Town asked employees to take pictures of abandoned carts when off duty and message managers. At one point, barriers at the front of the store were considered but managers realized there is very little space at the front of the store and many of their customers walk and need the carts to transport groceries.