Leaves dumped on Albuquerque streets: Is there a rule?

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A lot of people spend hours and hours raking and bagging their leaves this time of year. But what about the holdouts on the block who don’t bother, or just rake everything out into the street?

That was the subject of a complaint in the country club neighborhood.

The city said in the last year, the Solid Waste Department collected more than two million pounds of leaves. A lot of it was from homeowners putting bags of leaves out by the curb, but not everyone is taking the time to do that.

With big trees comes a big cleanup.

“We are out doing maybe seven bags of leaves a week to keep our property clean,” Amy Gillespie said.

Gillespie spends a few hours a week mowing, raking and bagging leaves at her home in Albuquerque’s country club neighborhood.

“I take pride and ownership in my property looking nice,” Gillespie said.

But it seems not everyone in the area does the same.

The city received a complaint over the weekend about a homeowner who reportedly moved all their leaves from their yard into the street and median, and wanted to know if it was legal.

Neighbors said some people don’t clean up at all.

“It is frustrating,” Gillespie said.

“There are so many to me that look like they do absolutely nothing,” neighbor Marty Epstein said.

While there is not an ordinance requiring people to rake their leaves or bag them, the city does have a Storm Water Quality Ordinance that prohibits people from dumping leaves in the street.

“The logic behind that being, we do not want stuff ending up in the gutters, drains, arroyos and rivers that could clog it up,” Planning Director Brennon Williams said.

The city gets a call a week from people complaining about neighbors ignoring their leaves, but some don’t get what the big deal is.

“They’ll blow away eventually,” Albuquerque resident Rebecca Alcocere said.

“I think if leaves are the biggest problem we are facing in Albuquerque, we are doing pretty good,” Albuquerque resident Dannie Sweeny added.

For most people that call this area home, they would like to see everyone doing their part.

“Have pride in your neighborhood, yourself and your homes,” Epstein said.

The city said people can face up to a $500 fine for putting leaves in the street, but it’s never gotten to that point. People usually clean up after getting a warning.

The city picks up green waste every fall. Put the bags by the curb on your normal garbage pickup day between December 2 and December 13.

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