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There’s a lot of trash talking in Fernandina Beach

Trash rules seem to apply to city residents and businesses, but not to the city or the City Manager.  It is apparent we are living in the “do as I say not as I do” world in Fernandina.

For instance, in a recent article titled “Talking Trash” by our City Manager, Dale Martin on May 28, 2021 he was talkin’ about the lack of compliance with regulations and the enforcement actions of the Code Enforcement Team to keep businesses and residents in line. See an excerpt of his article below.

The problem of placing garbage outside the totes is a growing issue downtown: the weekly bulk waste collection is not part of WM’s commercial collection. Over the past few weeks, WM staff have reported more significant curbside disposal of trash and cardboard which is outside the scope of the contract. City Code Enforcement is working with (and citing) downtown businesses that continue to place trash curbside….  Cooperation and consideration are key components to keep our residential and commercial areas clean and attractive.  Fernandina Observer, Dale Martin Comments, May 28, 2021

Dumpsters on City Property

We believe Mr. Martin should take a look at his responsibilities before throwing trash talk to the businesses and residents. The pictures above are dumpsters on city property right on the riverfront where tourists park and walk to the marina. Not only is this an eyesore and an embarrassment for our city, there are several violations of city ordinances happening in these pictures. 

The dumpsters are not being maintained and notice there is garbage stacked outside the city marina dumpster that is on city property at the marina parking lot.   This is a heavily traveled tourist area where the city is irresponsibly creating blight.  Is this what the city manager is defining as keeping commercial areas clean and attractive? 

We also discovered this interesting violation. City ordinances state “Commercial containers … shall not be kept upon property not in the ownership or tenancy of the person by whom the garbage is accumulated”.  Why would a private Salty Pelican dumpster be placed on city property? 

Who authorized the Salty Pelican to place their garbage dumpster on city property?  Are other businesses in the city doing the same thing?  Where is the code enforcement officer who is citing businesses in the historic district on trash violations?

We should all be asking the City Manager to be accountable for his own trash and city property before he sends code enforcement out to cite and fine local businesses.  It’s hypocritical and makes for strained relationships between the Business District and our city leaders.

For anyone who is interested, here are some of the city ordinances that reference the placement and care of trash in the city. It’s always interesting to read how you might be out of compliance!!


Sec. 66-6. – Use of public receptacles for refuse and trash.

It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for any person to have brought in or to dump, deposit or leave any bottles, broken glass, ashes, paper, boxes, cans, dirt, rubbish, waste, garbage, refuse, recyclables, or other trash in or contiguous to any park, playground, beach, or public recreational area, or left anywhere on the grounds thereof, but such garbage and refuse shall be placed in the proper receptacles where these are provided; but where public receptacles are not so provided, all litter, rubbish or waste shall be carried away by the person responsible for its presence, and properly disposed of as provided in this chapter.

Sec. 66-44. – Accessibility of garbage and recycle containers.


Commercial containers shall be kept in a place easily accessible to the inspectors and to the employees and contractors of the city. They shall not be kept upon property not in the ownership or tenancy of the person by whom the garbage is accumulated, and shall be subject to inspection and approval of condition by the inspectors of the sanitary garbage collection and disposal system of the city.

(c)   Central business district. The Central Business District is a vibrant and historic area of the city that is dependent upon residents and tourists visiting, therefore, aesthetics and traffic safety are extremely important to the success of the Central Business District. Containers shall be kept in a place accessible to the inspectors and to the employees and contractors of City upon request. They shall not be kept upon property not in the ownership or tenancy of the person by whom the garbage is accumulated, and shall be subject to inspection and approval of condition by the city or city contractors. After 6:00 p.m. on the day before the day designated by the city as being the pick-up day for garbage and other refuse, the owner, tenant or occupant of the property shall be responsible for placing the container adjacent to the street nearest the property and used by a sanitation vehicle for removing the accumulated garbage, trash and recyclable materials. The container shall be placed not less than two feet nor more than five feet from the sidewalk, curb, or road pavement of the street or thoroughfare being used by the trash pick-up vehicle. After the can or container has been emptied by the city or its contractor, the containers shall be removed from the street or thoroughfare at the earliest convenience of the owner, tenant or occupant, provided that under no circumstances shall a can or container be left adjacent to the street or thoroughfare after 11:00 a.m. on the day of collection or within two hours after the can or container has been emptied by the city or its contractor, whichever is later.

Sec. 66-45. – Inspections; penalties for violation; remedy by city.

A first violation of this chapter within any 12-month period shall be punishable by a citation and fine of $100.00 to the property owner and/or tenant occupying the property. Appeals of citations for violation of this section shall be made to the special magistrate as provided in chapter 2 of this City Code. If more than one violation of this chapter occurs within any 12-month period, the tenant and owner of the property shall be notified in writing of the violation, and the city shall proceed to prosecute the violation through the code enforcement board process as specified in chapter 2 of this City Code. If the code enforcement board finds a violation, the owner may be fined up to $250.00 per day and lien(s) may be placed on the owner’s property. 

Nothing contained in these regulations shall prohibit the city from enforcing these regulations by any other means including, but not limited to issuance of a written warning, a notice of violation, a civil citation, a summons, a notice to appear in the county court, an arrest, or a civil action for injunctive relief. The enforcement procedures outlined herein are cumulative to all others and shall not be deemed prerequisites to filing suit for the enforcement of these regulations or any section of this City Code.

Jack Knocke, founder of Common Sense Fernandina is a business consultant and a resident of Fernandina Beach. He keeps us informed about what’s happening in the get-a-way town of Fernandina Beach, Florida.


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