The Lompoc City Council voted unanimously on March 16 to more strictly enforce the city’s ban on illegal fireworks, increase efforts to investigate illegal dumping and take steps toward transferring more than 7 acres of Beattie Park to the Lompoc Cemetery District.

The council also appointed several volunteers to various commissions.

Newly adopted Ordinance 1678(21) amends Chapter 8.28 of the Lompoc Municipal Code to clarify violating the city’s ban on illegal fireworks is punishable as a misdemeanor to both those using the fireworks and the owners of properties where such fireworks are used. Property owners cited may release their tenants' contact information for law enforcement follow-up. City staff reported the ordinance also provides for the city to recover any attorney fees related to such citations.

“This is an attempt to curtail some illegal fireworks here and kind of instill a little bit of respect for other people’s property and the noise levels and for pet owners,” said Mayor Pro Tem Victor Vega.

In an effort to curtail littering resulting from aggressive scavenging, solid waste code enforcement officers recently wrapped up an experimental education program, which city staff said ultimately failed.

Solid Waste Superintendent Keith Quinlan said his staff worked with the Lompoc Police Department to engage individuals sighted scavenging along the code enforcement staff’s regular patrol route.

The Lompoc Municipal Code defines scavenging for any materials from any garbage receptacle in the city illegal on health and safety grounds. Council members noted some litter miners leave behind scattered trash and torn garbage bags, while the practice also puts the individual searching through trash at health and safety risk.

Solid Waste Superintendent Keith Quinlan reported that during more than 350 hours of route travels during the program period, officers engaged with 18 individuals scavenging, provided them educational materials and had one repeated contact. That person was issued a warning.

While the effort did not seem to curtail littering related to scavenging, it did bring to light ongoing illegal dumping issues. Staff recommended the city end the scavenging education program and focus efforts on the illegal dumping issue. Scavengers may still be cited if caught red-handed.

“Maybe the training doesn’t work, but maybe the citing as misdemeanor will,” Councilman Dirk Starbuck said.

The council also unanimously declared its intent to abandon an unused portion of Beattie Park and transfer the approximately 7.64-acre parcel to the Lompoc Cemetery District. A public hearing was scheduled for May 4 on the issue.

City staff said turning over the property would relieve the city of liability and maintenance costs while providing the cemetery district space for a memorial wall and peaceful refuge. The cemetery district will maintain the parcel including the arroyo to maintain water flow.

Series: Lompoc City Council

Read this collection of stories on Lompoc City Council from the past year. Read all of our coverage of local government in Vandenberg Village and the Lompoc Valley on LompocRecord.com.

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