Solutions proposed for written materials issue

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By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

After complaints by citizens regarding visual blight in the community, Grove City leaders enacted new legislation that targets unsolicited written materials.

In February, Grove City Council voted to amend the property offenses portion of the city code to include the unsolicited written materials, modeled after legislation passed in Upper Arlington. At the April 15 meeting, the company that delivers those materials addressed city council and laid out a plan of action.

William Stille, vice president of circulation with Dispatch Consumer Services, said the company will make a commitment to work with Grove City.

“We will honor our commitment. This community is huge to us,” said Stille.

The legislation is in reference to The Bag, which delivers advertisements as well as The Columbus Messenger Newspapers. It says no person shall deliver, place or distribute unsolicited written materials to any premise other than on a porch nearest the front door, through a mail slot on the front door, in a distribution box located on the property, securely attached to a hook on the mailbox or within a mail slot, or personally to the occupant of the property. This provision does not apply to the United States Postal Service.

Violations of the code would be classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $250 per violation.

The legislation targets delivery drivers who toss the materials out of their vehicle into driveways or the street. According to Stephen Smith, law director for the city, the legislation gives the city the ability to cite the driver throwing the materials out of the vehicle or the organization itself.

According to Stille, the delivery drivers will place The Bag contents either on a secure hook on the mailbox post or to the front porch if requested. For the mailbox posts that do not have a hook, Dispatch Consumer Services will install a hook.

“This will take a few months to get all the hooks up,” said Stille.

Councilwoman Christine Houk said she has spoken to residents who complain that they do have a hook on their mailbox post, but the delivery driver still throws the materials onto the ground.

“I’m not sure this solves the problem of litter being blown around,” said Houk.

Councilman Roby Schottke said some of the city’s older neighborhoods have mailboxes attached to the house, so the drivers toss the materials into the yard or on the sidewalk.

Stille said Dispatch Consumer Services plans to increase its verification process of its delivery drivers, which are independent contractors. Residents can request that The Bag be brought to their front porch. Residents can also ask the materials not to be delivered at all.

Houk said the city’s legislation is going to stay on the record but said it will be complaint driven.

“The goal is we don’t land in the legal component,” said Houk.

For more information, contact the city at grovecityohio.gov or contact Dispatch Consumer Services at dispatch.com/thebag.

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