Avondale Adopts Shopping Cart Ordinance
For immediate release: June 4, 2020
Avondale Adopts Shopping Cart Ordinance
The Avondale City Council this week approved an ordinance intended to address the issue of abandoned shopping carts in the city. The ordinance, adopted by the City Council on June 1 requires businesses to take specific measures to prevent the removal of shopping carts from its premises.
The ordinance states that New Retail Establishments on or after July 31, 2020 shall have restrictive devices on shopping carts. Existing Retail Establishments on or after July 31, 2020 shall have restrictive devices on shopping carts and file a certification with the City by July 31, 2022 that shopping carts are equipped with devices. An alternative to shopping cart restrictive devices is a contract with a shopping cart retrieval service.
In 2000, the State of Arizona imposed uniform shopping cart regulations prohibiting abandonment and removal of carts by the public. However, the regulations did not require business owners within municipalities to implement measures to prevent shopping cart removal from their property. The absence of regulation leaves municipalities to take on abandoned shopping cart issues.
“Abandoned shopping carts have been an ongoing issue for some time. They are a blight to the community, and they also pose a public safety risk,” explained Martha Ortiz, Avondale’s Code Compliance Manager. “Often, these carts are found on sidewalks, vacant lots, and streets far from the place of origin.”
Prior to bringing the ordinance to the City Council, the Code Compliance Division implemented several measures to curb the issue of abandoned shopping carts. Lift gates were installed on code compliance vehicles to help with the removal of shopping carts, particularly when they were an immediate safety hazard to traffic and pedestrians. A mobile app allows residents to report abandoned shopping carts. Last July, the City approved a shopping cart retrieval service contract to help retrieve abandoned shopping carts in the City. While the shopping cart retrieval service has reduced the number of abandoned shopping carts, improving both the safety and visual appearance of the City, the new ordinance will help to further reduce the number of abandoned shopping carts, by preventing shopping cart removal from a business’ premises in the first place.
A major requirement for businesses in the new ordinance is the requirement of restrictive devices on shopping carts. Businesses that provides shopping carts to the public must install a restrictive device to their shopping carts six (6) months after the ordinance is implemented. An alternative to the restrictive device requirement is that a business owner may elect to contract with a shopping cart retrieval service to remove any carts in the City from their store. However, if they fail to pick up shopping carts, the City would still have Code Compliance staff impound them. The City will charge an annual $50 certification fee if the business elects to contract with a shopping cart retrieval service. The certification fee covers administrative costs for shopping carts retrieved by the City and/or its contractor.
The ordinance also includes a $45 per cart impoundment fee to cover staff’s time between retrieving abandoned shopping carts, travel to the City's Public Works yard for storage, unloading of shopping carts, and return of shopping carts to owners.
An additional requirement when contracting with a shopping cart retrieval service is that a business owner must adhere to the public notice and identification requirements which needs to include the following elements:
• Each shopping cart must contain identifying business owner information, name, address, and phone number.
• Posted public notices in English and Spanish notifying customers that removal of shopping carts is a violation of the law.
The proposed ordinance declares abandoned and removed carts a public nuisance and authorizes City Staff to impound carts and hold business owners responsible for failure to comply with the law. The requirement of restrictive devices would mitigate an increase of abandoned carts. The proposed ordinance is meant to be a comprehensive set of regulations, designed to empower City Staff to impound carts, hold persons liable for violations, and compel business owners within the City to adopt preventative measures.
For more information, please contact the Code Compliance Division at (623) 333-2701.
Avondale, Arizona is a community where people share a deep sense of pride in what has been accomplished and how far we have come. In Avondale, there is strong belief that the blending of a broad spectrum of cultures comes from a true sense of harmony throughout the community. Here, people and businesses are welcomed with open arms and supported in a way that exemplifies a dynamic, intelligent and driven city, ready to take on the future. Avondale is Aspiring. Achieving. Accelerating.