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Ogden City Council OKs code changes cracking down on abandoned shopping carts

By Deborah Wilber - | Jan 13, 2023

Deborah Wilber, Standard-Examiner

Abandoned shopping carts litter a bus stop near Walmart in Harrisville on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. Signage warning shoppers of unlawful removal of carts is posted before leaving the parking lot.

OGDEN — Abandoned shopping carts littering the city are now being dealt with under a new ordinance authorizing the city to take certain actions against people who unlawfully remove them from businesses’ premises.

In a 6-1 vote last week, City Council members approved the motion to amend the Ogden City Municipal Code.

“In the last year and a half, our local, free-ranging herd of carts has been doing quite well,” Ogden City Building Services Manager Jared Johnson said.

According to Johnson, shopping carts from numerous stores and varying locations outside of city limits end up in a lot of strange places, including the river.

Ogden’s Code Services Division reportedly loaded and removed 40 shopping carts from a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood following a call from a resident about the problem.

Johnson said the city has retrieved a lot of carts from stores not only outside Ogden’s jurisdiction or any neighboring jurisdiction, but from stores that closed 10 years ago.

By and large, Code Services will be handling the retrieval of shopping carts, particularly those that are unoccupied and left abandoned.

However, occupied shopping carts, such as those being used to transport belongings, will be deferred to homeless advocates to find alternative solutions.

Councilwoman Angela Choberka, the dissenting vote for the ordinance, said she has concerns it could be used to target homeless people using carts to transport belongings as well as others who use them to transport groceries when they have no alternative.

According to Johnson, store patrons who use shopping carts in a responsible manner to and from a residence to transport groceries with permission from the store will be asked to provide written documentation.

“It depends on the situation, but there are penalties,” he said of the new ordinance.

The first step for those found in possession of unlawfully obtained shopping carts will be an education session, Johnson said.

Owners of shopping carts are not completely void of responsibility, as they will be required to have proper identification on carts, post durable signage prohibiting the removal of carts from store properties as well as implement preventable theft measures such as proper storage.

Although owners of abandoned shopping carts are notified, assuming carts have proper identification, they could face storage fees of $2 per day for each cart retrieved by the city.

Retailers notified of shopping carts picked up by the city will have 30 days to respond under the new ordinance. If stores fail to do so within the allotted time frame, the city will have the authority to destroy them.

Johnson said the carts most likely would be given to a local recycler and any profit, no matter how small, would go back to the city to offset money used in enforcing the ordinance.

Choberka said she supports and appreciates business owners who take responsibility for carts left about in the community as well as those who take extra steps to prevent carts from leaving store property. But, she added, she did not feel comfortable passing an ordinance that will go on long after the current administration.

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