Removing Trash Bins from Maintenance Yard

The trash containers in the park maintenance yard will now be closed according to Palisades Rec Center staff, in an effort to decrease the rat population.

Trash Bin Relocation Addressed

More than 70 residents and tennis players attended the special Park Advisory Board meeting at the Palisades Recreation Center on October 30. Attendees were given the ability to comment on an October 17 decision that had been made to move the trash cans from the maintenance yard next to the tennis courts off Frontera Road.

Members of the community found out about the relocation after that meeting and sent Park Director Erich Haas emails asking why no one from the tennis community or the people living nearest to Frontera had been contacted.

Even though the special meeting was about approving the bocce courts/Veterans Gardens, time was given for special comment about the proposed plan.

“When people felt like their voices weren’t heard, I asked if they could speak tonight,” Haas told the board. “We’re not discussing tonight, we’re only taking comments. Let’s be respectful of everyone’s comments and let’s solve the problem together.”

The audience was given a brief history: Jimmy Dunne, who is spearheading the Garden/bocce project had noticed the maintenance yard, which is adjacent to the project. Thought was given to taking out 1,400 foot of asphalt and adding to the park’s green space. The garbage bins, located in the yard, and which had seemingly produced an overabundance of rats, as well as complaints by neighbors of early-morning garbage-pickup noise, were to be moved next to the tennis courts.

Haas said they had asked a member of the board Gustaf Soderbergh to build a rat-free, odor-free enclosure, which could be located next to the tennis court, and that the design would presented at the January quarterly meeting.

Rob Ellison spoke first. “I am one of the residents that will be affected by the move of the dumpster” and said he had three comments. 1) “I want to understand the move from the maintenance yard. The tennis parking lot is not a maintenance yard. Rats and noise, we would have the same concern as the neighbors you’re trying to help;” 2) “Nobody is well served when neighbors are fighting neighbors. We should get our heads together to find a solution. If you move the trash to Temescal, those residents should be heard, too.” [Moving the bins to Temescal had been discussed but abandoned when it was learned garbage trucks would not be able to access trash.] 3) “Frontera poses a safety issue, children walk through the parking lot and use the dirt area [where the bins are proposed to go] as a walking path.” And he asked if those bins are overflowing, what would stop people from putting the trash next to the bins.

David Card, who has been working on the proposed Potrero Canyon Park for decades said. “All you have to do is fix the rat problem. Have no overflow on the bins and ask the city to hire an exterminator. Rats will move to wherever there is food.” He said that the lot off Frontera is supposed to become a major entrance to Potrero Park and was worried that parking would be lost if the bins were moved.

About 20 people spoke, echoing the same sentiments. Other audience members nodded in agreement. “Why are we moving the trash bins from a maintenance yard?” “We have a dedicated maintenance yard, why don’t we use it?” “I can’t believe the trash will be totally contained.” “Moving the bins, won’t get rid of the rats.” “The notion that you’re fixing a problem, but you’re just making a bigger problem.” “I don’t see how there’s room on Frontera for bins.” “This is not a reasonable solution.”

And “It [maintenance yard] is a pragmatic area that does its duty. We can make the existing yard better with lids on cans. More frequent pickup. Different hours.”

One person had started a petition to stop the dumpster relocation (

The next day, Circling the News received a letter from Jimmy Dunne

The Park Advisory Board had voted to move trash containers from the maintenance yard to next to the tennis courts. That led to extensive discussions, but now will most likely not happen after tennis players and community members disagreed with the placement.

“Dear fellow Palisadians at the Park Board meeting last night:

“Last night’s meeting was a great example of how terrific Palisadians are. 

“Everyone had opinions, and everyone was able to express them – while being respectful of the Palisades Board and everyone else in the room.

“After hearing everyone’s ideas, my takeaway was that having the bins at the tennis courts is not the way to go.

“After the meeting, I talked to a number of folks on the board, and they also felt the idea of having the bins in the parking lot of the tennis courts wasn’t the right road.  I’m confident in saying this idea is dead.

“Rob Ellison (a terrific Palisadian who spoke at the meeting) has agreed to form and chair a committee.  I’ve agreed to be on it.  We’ll get a handful of folks together to go after this to see if there’s a better place for the bins to go.  Maybe it’s not at our park at all.  Maybe we won’t find a better spot.  Maybe we will.

“But I promise you this; we’ll do our homework, we’ll talk to the folks at Parks and Recreation downtown and some of the elected officials–and get back to the Palisades Board at the January meeting.

“And Gustaf (a great, great guy) – won’t be creating the drawings.

          “We’re all a part of a great family of Palisadians – and this meeting was a reminder of how special and passionate our incredible town is,” Dunne wrote.

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3 Responses to Removing Trash Bins from Maintenance Yard

  1. David Peterson says:

    Thank you Jimmy Dunne, Bob Harter, the Park Advisory Board, my Huntington neighbors and all of the residents who attended Tuesday’s meeting. I was not able to attend and had been worried about what might happen. You have all helped restore my faith in the process of thoughtful and respectful community discussion and decision making. Kudos to all.

  2. gilbert dembo says:

    David Card is right, Frontera will be one of two planned entrances to Potrero Canyon Park. This entrance will be the gateway to the 50 years and 50 million dollars spent so far on the Potrero Canyon Park Regional Park. Garbage bins should not greet the visitors.

  3. Linda Friar Ph.D says:

    It was pointed out to me by an environmental attorney that placing the bins right in the midst of spaces where many people are walking and playing tennis poses potential health hazards. The Park receives trash from other areas and there is no way to know the contents, which could include hazardous waste material. There is always some spillage The current placement is fenced, locked, and not directly near areas of heavy public use.
    The proposed change is unsafe for more than one reason It forces everyone, including children, to walk in the parking lot as well as exposing people to potentially unhealthy waste materials.

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