INDEPENDENCE, Missouri — Independence, Missouri leaders passed an ordinance late Monday cracking down on what they call “a major concern” to the city, with shopping carts littering the streets and sidewalks.
Now, business owners will be required to submit an abandoned cart prevention and recovery plan as part of their annual permits.
Walk through Independence and those abandoned and stolen shopping carts aren’t that hard to find.
“It seems a lot in Independence that people are picking up the shopping carts that you see them coming down the street and they all have little gifts in there,” customer Collette Bierig said.
For at least a year, city leaders in Independence have been trying to find a solution to what the ordinance calls a public nuisance and a potential danger to the health, safety and welfare of the public.
“One of the things that we’re noticing in our commercial corridors in particular and even in our neighborhoods is the number of shopping carts leaving the premises and ending up in places where they shouldn’t be,” the Independence Mayor said. , Eileen Weir.
So now business owners will be required to submit plans on how to prevent shopping carts from being stolen and recover them if they are. Some Independence stores require a quarter deposit to obtain carts, hoping to deter theft.
“I don’t mind, I’d rather pay to get a cart than chase one,” Bierig said outside Save A Lot.
Weir said stores could also install wheel locks to prevent them from leaving the property, although she acknowledges this comes at a cost. But so does the loss of a cart, as now stores can be charged a discount fee for each cart that city teams have to track down and return.
“We feel like it’s an expense to the store if they lose inventory and it certainly reflects negatively on the city when you’re driving down the road and you see shopping carts left in the public right-of-way” , Weir said.
The ordinance passed by a 6-to-1 margin also reinforces that stealing a shopping cart is a felony and one that the city will prosecute.
Independence leaders are not aware of any metro city with similar laws, but said it reflected its new order after some other communities around the country.
“I think it will be a big step forward and we will see if it has a big impact and if it does, maybe other areas around Independence will consider adopting similar ordinances,” Weir said.
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