Proposed law attempts to curb shopping carts around town


Shopping carts at SavALot can only be released with a coin. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

By Jeffrey Merchan

“Will there be a hotline to turn people in?” asked a citizen during Monday’s public hearing on the new shopping carts law. Similar questions and concerns were brought up at the Common Council meeting about a chapter of the city’s municipal code entitled “Shopping Carts.” 

Peekskill business owner Brian Orsi shared his disapproval of the consequences of the law if adopted by the Common Council.  Two other communications sent to the city clerk that were entered into the record of the meeting were not read aloud to the Council. When asked after the meeting about the communications, City Clerk Cassandra Redd said, “Public comments on agenda items nor public hearings will no longer be read aloud. They will be placed with the record. The comments were from Peekskill Walks and Liz Greene. The communications wanted the issue to be addressed, but not in favor of how the law was written.  Their comments will be made public with the minutes,” said Redd in an email to the Herald. She added that once the minutes are approved they will be posted and she didn’t have a timeframe for that. 

 Orsi, owner of Bucko! on South Division St, said he felt there were questions unanswered. “ Are you going to have the Peekskill police round up folks from Bohlmann Towers and Wesley Hall who can’t afford the $150 fine?” In addition, Orsi highlighted who he felt would most be impacted by this proposed law, poor people and older residents, and people who use carts to collect cans. “I am also concerned about the folks in town – members of this community – who use carts to collect cans, actually doing this city a service by keeping this material out of landfill. I know two of these people: they are harmless, hard working people, and you’re trying to erase them from our community.” 

Shopping carts are a convenient way to collect recyclable cans.      (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

“Part of the reason why so many people have moved to the city of Peekskill these last few years is because of the diversity, and that includes class and lifestyle diversity.” “Yes, I would like there to be less shopping carts lying around, but there is absolutely a better way to address this issue without being cruel and threatening poor and old people with fines and jail time,” said Orsi.

CTown shopping cart at Depew Park last weekend. (Photo by Regina Clarkin)

He recommended three alternatives to the council –  designating drop off locations around downtown where the store would have to pick the shopping carts up, a coin lock cart system similar to Aldi’s, and allowing residents to purchase smaller shopping carts (Granny carts)  through City Hall. 

“This law is really focused on making sure there is responsibility on the part of every provider of shopping carts,” said City Manager Matt Alexander during the meeting. 

The new law, Chapter 465 of the municipal code, states that 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.  The code states it is up to the discretion of the business to determine which method is best for their business to control the carts. 

Attempts to reach CTown on Park Street, which routinely sends its employees out to collect abandoned carts, were unsuccessful this week.

Correction  This story was updated to reflect that the proposed law was not voted on by the Council after Monday’s public hearing.