Outdoor Trash Cans are Hit and Miss at Elk Grove Fast Food Joints

UPDATED | November 27, 2013 | With over 25 in its city limits , one of Elk Grove's biggest attractions are drive-thru fast food...

UPDATED | November 27, 2013 |

With over 25 in its city limits, one of Elk Grove's biggest attractions are drive-thru fast food restaurants. While the city is fat with fast food joints there is one thing not all of them can offer visitors - outdoor trash cans.

Recently an Elk Grove News reader brought this to our attention when they noticed the city's newest addition to its stable of burgeoning fast food joints, the McDonald's on Bruceville Road and Whitelock Parkway, did not have outdoor trash receptacles. Curious, our reader inquired with the City of Elk Grove why this obvious design feature on the newest Golden Aches did not have what seemed to be a staple of every fast food joint.
An Elk Grove resident alleges trash from the Elk Grove Bruceville Road McDonald's is ending up in their neighborhood because this outlet does not have any outdoor trash receptacles. This city says the restaurant was not required to place outdoor trash cans for customer use. 
According to the response our reader got from a city code enforcement representative, the McDonald's is not in violation as the approved design for the outlet did not include an outdoor trash receptacle. Code enforcement specialist Cathy Lantsberger wrote: "I have looked into your concerns and found there is a business license on file. I have checked with the Planning Department and there were no garbage cans on the Design Review."

As a follow-up, EGN wrote to Elk Grove Planning Director Taro Echiburú  inquiring if trash receptacles were required for fast food restaurants. As of this posting, Echiburu has not responded.

An informal sampling of fast food joints showed mixed results. Among outlets found to have outdoor trash receptacles were the Inn n Out and Burger King on East Stockton Blvd. and the McDonald's and Jimboys Tacos on Elk Grove Blvd. east of Highway 99. Those lacking were the McDonald's on Laguna Blvd. and Laguna Springs Drive, the Carl's Jr. on Bruceville Road and the aforementioned Golden Arches near the city's newest Walmart.

As our reader pointed out in their inquiry to the city, this was a glaring design flaw that is negatively affecting a nearby neighborhood. "Needless to say, you can imagine that customer trash is consequently ending up in the neighborhood, and is readily identifiable as sourced from McDonald's" the inquiry read.

One can only hope when the new McDonald's, AM/PM and liquor store to be located on Sheldon Road and Highway 99 goes through the design review process, our city planning department isn't asleep at the wheel again. And lets hope the Bruceville Road McDonald's franchisee is a responsible stand-up sort of business person, does the right thing and voluntarily installs outdoor trash receptacles.

If Elk Grove is to become a tourist destination, the last thing we want greeting all those vacationers are fast food wrappers littering our city's attractions. 

UPDATE: EGN received the following correspondence from the planning department.

"Any establishment with an outdoor dining area is required to have at least one outdoor trash receptacle. The code is silent when there is no outdoor dining area but those establishments are still required to maintain their property free of trash, so, while not specifically required, it would be to the owner’s advantage to have outdoor trash receptacles. This is something that could be included in the design review process (when a design review is required) but if there is a trash problem at any given establishment, the provisions in the Municipal Cope relative to nuisance should be sufficient to address the issue."  

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Oscar the Grouch said...

This is what happens when contract planning bureaucrats do everything by the book-problem is, the book is biased towards the developers. Step aside city, let developers do what they do best--make money and leave!

Anonymous said...

Seems requiring outdoor trash cans at a fast-food outlet would be a no-brainer for the city planners. The business at Bruceville, next door to Walmart and between two schools will obviously mean lots of trash in the canal and nearby neighborhoods. Maybe some change will be made when/if the Sheldon Center is built and all that trash blows into the lake at Shoreline.

But then again, we must be patient with our city leaders...they've had bigger fish to fry lately........the SOI!

Anonymous said...

Even if the design review process does not require trash containers be placed outside, this doesn't stop McD from walking over to Wally world and buying a trash can to put outside its business. I thought these new businesses were going to be "neighborhood friendly?" Doesn't seem to friendly to find milk shake containers in one's front yard. Come on corporate giants...become part of the fabric of your neighborhood; don't just move it; turn on your blaring parking lot lights; and fatten up the kids in the neighborhood. Be proactive. Place some trash cans around the property. What could it cost you?

Anonymous said...

Maybe get the elementary school kids in the area to donate a can and paint it for Mickey D---EG's form of public art. For Gil Moore, they could paint a Hawaii theme!

Sarah Johnson said...

I'm sorry Elk Grove Planning and Code Enforcement Departments, but this is the height of INSANITY! To respond to a resident's inquiry by saying that the design that was approved did not include trash cans is SOOOO beside the point! There is no reason we cannot have some COMMON SENSE here.

Anonymous said...

The Gray Man is smiling all the way to the bank...

Silent Dogood said...

All I can say is WOW!! Not that there are no outside trash cans but at the comments on this article. What makes any of you think that by having trash cans outside the establishment that it would stop anyone from littering in our neighborhood?

Ok I will give you that maybe, just maybe 5% of the people would take the time to use the trash can. The inconsiderate person that is going to throw the empty cup out the car window or the jerk that is going to drop his cheesburger wrapper on my front lawn is going to do it anyhow because they don't care.

Stop blasting the city and the business owner because our society is too lazy to go back inside or wait until they get home to throw something in the trash.

Lynn said...

Silent Dogood, It may not stop anyone from littering, but it may stop someone. There will always be those that litter, however by not providing the trash cans I think it is making it even easier! This is about planning and design! Fast Food is for convenience; so a trash can outside would provide the convenience fast food sells. Our city doesn't really have any design standards...and by now with the "hybrid zoning of the SEPA"...well let the piecemeal and anything goes continue. A vision takes some steps; the city wants tourists...so when they arrive would you like to have them greeted with trash? Silent Dogood; since you live in the neighborhood how about putting a trash can on your front lawn...maybe the "jerk" would put his cheeseburger wrapper in your can.

Sarah Johnson said...

Silent Dogood, The point is that for the City to not have design standards for these things is WRONG! And the WRONG is compounded when the response given to an inquiring resident is that the approved plans didn't have trash cans is just ASSININE and is not the sort of response that is helpful or meaningful. Once again, we look like some backward community that after 13 years still doesn't know how to plan things. Whether or not people use the trash cans is a different issue. They sure can't choose to use them if they aren't even there.

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