07/24/14 12:00pm
07/24/2014 12:00 PM
The town recently published an updated brochure on its yellow bag program. (Tim Kelly file photo)

The town recently published an updated brochure about its yellow bag program. (Credit: Tim Kelly, file)

Picking up town-issued yellow bags is as common on a Southold residents’ grocery list as a carton of milk. They are a necessary part of the self-hauling, “Pay As You Throw” garbage disposal system the town implemented more than 20 years ago. (more…)

12/31/12 5:04pm
12/31/2012 5:04 PM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Police at the scene of Monday’s garbage truck accident in Southold.

Oakwood Drive in Southold was closed late Monday afternoon after a Go Green Sanitation truck struck a low-hanging wire while collecting garbage and pulled a utility pole down into the center of the street, Southold Police said.

Officers on the scene said they were awaiting a response from the Long Island Power Authority. Although live wires ran across the pavement, power was still on in nearby houses.

No injuries were reported.

11/16/12 11:02am
11/16/2012 11:02 AM

Southold’s 18-year-old garbage plan is staying exactly as it has been since its inception.

The town will not alter its state-approved waste management program which includes the yellow bag requirement for two basic reasons, said Supervisor Scott Russell. The first is it has increased the town’s recycling rate, the supervisor said. The second is the state Department of Environmental Conservation is unlikely to sanction a change.

Mr. Russell’s comments came during a brief public informational session on Southold’s waste disposal system at Town Hall Thursday night.

The meeting took place a week before the end of a 120-day grace period during which carters were exempt from the requirement that customers who leave their trash out for pickup must first place it in town yellow bags.

According to the town, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, all carters must again follow the yellow bag rule.

The town agreed to the grace period to give it time to reconsider the yellow bag law in light of its litigation against the Southampton-based Go Green Sanitation company, which does not require it customers to use the yellow bags.

A number of Go Green customers have said the company also does not keep recyclable materials such as bottles and cans separate from the trash it collects.

Go Green owner Frank Fisher, who was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting, declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.

Only a handful of carters and residents showed up for the meeting, which included a brief Powerpoint presentation by Supervisor Scott Russell, who explained that the town’s bag law has been effective in ensuring that residents recycle their garbage.

Mr. Russell added that, in light of the program’s effectiveness, the state DEC would be unlikely to approve any alternative plan.

Anthony DiVello of Mattituck Sanitation asked the board if the town will enforce the rule, since his company has lost business to Go Green Sanitation.

“We comply with all the rules. We don’t like them either, but we comply,” he said. “We’ve lost a lot of business because of it… How long can this go on before we decide to do the very same thing?”

“Every carter who picks up garbage curbside will have to live by the law as it is drafted,” said Mr. Russell.

07/13/12 8:57am
07/13/2012 8:57 AM

Trash left out by a Go-Green customer that wasn’t picked up Thursday.

There’s no garbage strike going on in Southold, but on some streets it looks like it.

Customers of Go-Green Sanitation were left wondering what would become of their trash  Thursday when, in keeping with a state court temporary restraining order, the company ceased its scheduled trash pickups.

The town had requested the restraining order as part of its litigation against Go-Green, which officials say has failed to comply with the local code requirement that all trash left out for collection must be placed in special town yellow bags.

One Go-Green customers, who asked not to be named, said the company has not identified any plans to deal with the garbage it usually collects.

“Our trash smells in this summer heat and as of yet, there is no sign that Go-Green is moving towards a solution for us,” the customer said. “You would need a pickup truck to move the trash and recyclables we have amassed after the holiday weekend.”

In a letter sent to his his customers Thursday, Go-Green owner Frank Fisher apologized  “for this highly unexpected inconvenience. I need your help to change the town code so this never happens again.”

He urged his customers to contact Town Board members and ask them to overturn the “outdated and ambiguous section of the town code.”

He added that the restraining order is to be argued in court Friday morning and if the order is lifted the company will make pickups this weekend.

“I want to assure you that I have no plans to raise my rates or pull out of Southold Town at this time,” Mr. Fisher wrote.

Supervisor Scott Russell said the problem is of Go-Green’s own making.

“Mr. Fisher had an obligation to let his customers know that litigation was ongoing and he didn’t do that.” the supervisor said. “He took people’s money so he has an obligation to pick up their refuse and do it in a way that complies with the town code.”

On Wednesday, six days after the town obtained the restraining order, police ticketed a Go-Green employee for picking up trash that was not in yellow bags in the Laughing Waters section of Southold. The employee, Larry Burch of Southold, was also cited for operating without a town carter’s permit.

The town revoked Go-Green’s carter’s permit after issuing similar violations in February. The town created the permit requirement in response to its battle with Go-Green.

“The town code expressly prohibits carters from collecting waste from residents that is not in a yellow bag,” said town attorney Martin Finnegan. “Go-Green’s business model is in blatant violation of the town code and encourages its customers to violate the requirement. The court’s issuance of an injunction underscores the fact that convenience and profitability are not justifications for violating the law.”

Go-Green provides its customers with 96-gallon wheeled trash containers that are more than three times the size of a standard garbage can. The company long maintained that customers need not place their trash in the town bags before rolling the containers out onto the street.

Shortly after the company conceded the town’s position on another issue, the need for residents to separate out cans, bottles and other recyclable materials for separate disposal, Supervisor Russell said, “Maybe someday that company can actually live up to the term ‘go green.’ ”

The company was slapped with its first yellow bag violation of the year this past March 29.

In May the town ran an advertisement saying yellow bags are required “for everyday residential household waste, whether the resident brings waste to the transfer station themselves or has a private carter picking up their garbage at curbside. Basically, this means your kitchen garbage has to be in town bags.”

The town and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have often said repeated violations of local and state trash disposal codes could jeopardize the town’s operating permit for the Cutchogue transfer and recycling facility.

Although the town continues to ticket Go-Green, those cases are on hold in town Justice Court pending the outcome of the state Supreme Court action.

The two sides are scheduled to return to the state court next Thursday, July 19.

08/05/11 10:24am
08/05/2011 10:24 AM

The owner of a garbage collection company who had a run-in with Southold Town earlier this year for bypassing the town’s recycling code has been accused by Southampton authorities of illegally running several businesses and an apartment from a Flanders site.

Frank Fisher, 32, of Flanders, whose Go Green Sanitation company eventually added recycling collections for his Southold customers, also owes $5,710 in unpaid taxes on the Flanders property, said Southampton officials.

Mr. Fisher,  who twice before was issued summonses in Southampton for using a residential property commercially, was cited again Thursday for an illegal apartment and other building code violations.

Mr. Fisher did not return phone messages seeking comment.

David Betts, the chief investigator for Southampton Town’s code enforcement department, said there were three commercial businesses operating on the one-acre property. The three businesses are Go Green Sanitation, Fisher Landscaping, and a masonry business, Mr. Betts said.

“There were garbage trucks parked over night, and a few hundred garbage containers from the business were stored there,” Mr. Betts said. “The property is zoned residential and he’s using it commercially. That’s illegal.”

There were also masonry supplies being stored on the property, Mr. Betts said. Mr. Fisher, who lives at a different address on Priscilla Avenue, was issued similar charges on March 11.

“The investigation was in response to neighborhood complaints,” Mr. Betts said. “We has issued violations in March, and we did another inspection and found he was still in violation.”

Mr. Betts said Mr. Fisher did clean up some of the property since March, when it had several large roll-off containers stored there. Those containers were removed, but the property is still being used commercially, he said.

On Thursday morning, code enforcement went back to 52 Priscilla Avenue with a search warrant and found that the home’s basement was illegally converted into a separate apartment with three beds, a kitchen, and a bathroom, according to town officials.

There were no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in the basement dwelling, and the ceiling height was 6 feet, 9 inches, both violations of the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, officials said.

In addition, there also were numerous alterations made to the building without a building permit or rental permit, officials said.

These include moving the heating plant, changes in plumbing and electrical wiring, and cutting into the foundation to make an emergency escape window.

Mr. Betts said the only escape window, which opened into a deep area wall, was also surrounded by a four-foot high chain link fence. “Even with the ladder provided, escape would have been difficult at best,” he said.

In the upstairs portion of the house, there were three legal bedrooms, but one of them was overcrowded, and there were no smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors, and no rental permit. The rooms were occupied by two small children, their mother and father, and one unrelated adult female, he said.