Make sure you build into the development phase of a construction and demolition (C&D) diversion ordinance a process for input and feedback from potentially impacted stakeholders. Knowing their concerns early on may prevent delays and challenges that may occur later in the adoption phase if these concerns are not known early in the process.
Potential interested parties you may want to solicit input from during the development phase of your C&D ordinance include:
- Diversion facilities.
- Waste haulers.
- Contractors (building and demolition).
- Solid waste joint powers authority.
- Jurisdiction’s attorney.
- Jurisdiction staff (e.g., building and engineering departments).
- Jurisdictions in surrounding areas that may already have a C&D ordinance, or who are thinking of adopting one.
Below is a sample of the kinds of information you may obtain when soliciting input from potential stakeholders early on in your ordinance development:
Diversion facility operators in your area will be able to provide feedback regarding the availability of C&D diversion facilities in the surrounding area, and their tipping fees. This will help you to evaluate the adequacy of your existing infrastructure for recovering C&D materials, and therefore to determine the feasibility for contractors to meet a particular diversion goal.
Haulers may provide you with feedback on any cost differences for hauling materials to diversion facilities versus disposal facilities. In addition, some C&D diversion ordinances require builders to use the jurisdiction’s franchised hauler. However, some builders may not like the idea of having to use a franchised hauler, and would prefer to have a choice of haulers, including the flexibility to use a specialized hauler that offers other services in addition to recycling (e.g., jobsite cleanup, flood control measures, etc.) You will need to consider the various hauler options that are available in your jurisdiction and to determine what would work best for your situation.
Contractors for both building and demolition may be more receptive to a C&D diversion ordinance, and will have an easier time complying, if any forms required are easy to complete and similar to any forms required in surrounding jurisdictions. Because contractors will likely be primary the parties complying with your C&D diversion program, it is crucial that they be invited to participate throughout the development and adoption process of your ordinance, through public announcements, council meetings and meetings prior to construction, with jurisdiction staff and project managers. This will help to ensure that all parties are aware of the C&D ordinance requirements and can provide their input and suggestions for consideration.
Also, it is possible that contractors who work in your jurisdiction may already be recycling their C&D material, and you may want to take that into consideration when drafting an ordinance. This will help the adoption and implementation phases go more smoothly, and ultimately should contribute to the success of your ordinance.
Solid Waste Joint Powers Authority
Consultations with a local solid waste joint powers authority may provide feedback on available outreach materials (or those that would be useful) and methods for, or questions on, ordinance implementation. In other words, why reinvent the wheel, when you can learn from your peers’ experience?
Your jurisdiction’s attorney may help you develop and/or refine ordinance language, as well as to identify any potential restraints on enforcement options to include in the ordinance, such as penalties and fines, and deposit requirements. General law cities and counties especially should work with their jurisdiction’s attorney when developing the ordinance to make sure there are no limitations with including a deposit requirement in your ordinance, or fines/penalties for noncompliance.
Jurisdiction Staff (e.g., Building and Engineering Departments)
Input from staff in your jurisdiction who will be responsible for implementing the ordinance is integral to the successful implementation of your ordinance. Staff will be able to provide input regarding workload impact, ideas for ensuring contractor compliance, and information on how they currently handle public C&D projects. Knowing the concerns of staff that will be implementing the ordinance will be invaluable, as the task of education and outreach regarding compliance with the ordinance will likely be left to them.
A frequent concern with implementing a C&D diversion ordinance is the staff time involved with implementing it. One jurisdiction with a C&D ordinance found it helpful to assign one or two staff to provide outreach and education in the beginning of the implementation phase, but as time went on, less staff time was necessary as the affected community became more familiar with the ordinance. Jurisdictions in surrounding areas that may already have a C&D ordinance, or are thinking of adopting one are also a valuable source of input.
You will likely have a more successful ordinance if you include all parties that may be involved with implementing and complying with your ordinance during the development phase. It is important to know what the potential concerns and issues are of staff, contractors, haulers, and diversion facility operators prior to ordinance adoption and implementation. Conversely, not consulting with the impacted parties in the development phase may lead to unnecessary challenges down the line for jurisdiction staff implementing the ordinance, or for contractors who have to comply with it and ultimately could make your C&D debris diversions efforts less successful than they otherwise would have been.