Supervisor seeks county regulation to clear streets of carts

Board to hear proposal requiring merchants to collect stray shopping carts

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A Riverside County supervisor will propose an ordinance Tuesday that would require merchants to collect carts taken from their establishments.

The move is aimed to prevent abandoned shopping carts from cluttering streets and obstructing walkways in unincorporated communities.

Supervisor Jeff Stone will introduce his Cart Assistance Recovery Tracking -- CART -- program during the Board of Supervisors' policy agenda.

Stone said his goal is for the county to model CART after similar ordinances enacted in area cities, including Banning, Hemet, Palm Desert and Riverside.

``Business owners who provide 10 shopping carts or more to customers for use on the premises of retail establishments shall develop, implement and comply with the provisions of a written containment plan, approved by the county, to prevent customers from removing shopping carts from the premises ... without prior authorization of the owner,'' Stone wrote in an agenda item submitted for board consideration.

The supervisor said individual businesses should be responsible for collecting carts removed from their property.

Under the city of Riverside's cart retrieval program, any grocer or other outlet that fails to pick up abandoned carts within three days of being notified of their presence may be subject to a $50 fine and the cost incurred by the city for collecting the cart.

According to Stone, carts left on street corners, in alleyways, or in front of private property ``constitutes a public nuisance'' and contributes to blighting. He added that pedestrian and vehicle traffic can be impeded and property values can be impacted by the regular presence of carts.

``While the purpose of this (proposal) is not to hurt businesses ... it is aimed at protecting businesses and `their investments,' while also providing a safe living environment for all of our residents,'' the supervisor wrote.

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