Apartment recycling, trash fees, and BYOB businesses topics of discussion for Houston city leaders

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Thursday, April 27, 2023
Leaders discuss apartment recycling, trash fees, and BYOB businesses
Houston city leaders are considering recycling options in apartment complexes, trash fees for residents, and cracking down on BYOB businesses.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston leaders may soon require apartment complexes to offer recycling, or else they worry landfills could soon fill up, costing taxpayers millions.

Apart from recycling, city leaders are also looking to incorporate trash fees for residential users and crack down on businesses that allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Why apartment complexes may have to require recycling

The city council says it's considering making apartment complexes offer recycling because it's something people want, and they need it to save space. The discussion took place Wednesday at a joint meeting between the quality of life and public safety committee.

They say the landfills could run out of room in the next 10 years. That doesn't give them a lot of time to create new landfills. A big way they say to slow this down is to have recycling at complexes.

About half of city residents live in multi-family housing. Right now, they aren't required to offer recycling. Council members say it could cost taxpayers millions if they don't act soon.

"The cost of new landfills is astronomical," Councilmember Abbie Kamin explained. "We need to extend the life cycle of landfills that we have as long as possible to give us enough time. What that means is diverting as much as we can from those landfills as possible. Recycling is the solution that."

Recycling at apartment complexes wouldn't come overnight. City leaders said if approved, it would take six to 12 months.

Trash fees could be coming to all residential users

Recycling at apartments wasn't the only discussion involving trash. City leaders are also exploring the idea of incorporating a trash fee for residential users.

Currently, there isn't one.

City council members raised concerns about seniors or low-income families affording the fee. Leaders said they'll work to incorporate programs to help people.

City leaders did not share numbers on what the fees could look like.

City leaders also looking to crack down on businesses that allow customers to bring their own alcoholic beverages

The proposal would require BYOB places that operate after midnight to get a permit or be subject to $500 fines if they don't.

The issue officers told city council members on Thursday is increased violent crime happening during late hours when other bars and clubs can no longer serve alcohol. HPD shared numbers on Wednesday.

Over the past six months, nine homicides took place at all bars and clubs. Nearly half of them took place after 2 a.m.

There were about 30 robberies. One-third took place after 2 a.m.

One-third of aggravated assaults also took place after 2 a.m. Officials know crime numbers but not how many BYOB businesses are in the city.

Those don't need a license because they don't serve alcohol. To close problem BYOB businesses, city leaders say they need an ordinance because right now, there's little they can do legally, even if a crime occurs at the location.

That's what they discussed Wednesday. The proposal would require BYOB places that operate after midnight to get a permit. If they don't, they could be subject to $500 fines.

"I mean, it's frustrating," Kamin said. "I was with neighbors (Tuesday) at one of their civic club meetings, and this issue came right back up. We know who the bad actors are. They are draining HPD resources, but they're also creating many, many problems not only to the safety of patrons that deserve to return home safely to the people living in the surrounding neighborhood."

The proposal would require the businesses to make several changes. They would have to get a metal detector, one security guard per 100 customers, a security video system, and exterior lighting.

Wednesday's meeting was just to hear about the issue and learn about the proposal. ABC13 is told the first vote on the ordinance could take place in three weeks.

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