Nashua wants yard debris out of street

NASHUA – City property owners could soon face fines of up to $1,000 for placing leaves, grass clippings or other forms of yard debris in the street.

The city’s Committee on Infrastructure is recommending the Board of Aldermen adopt the new yard debris ordinance. The next regular board meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at City Hall on Main Street.

An ordinance has already been in place for decades regarding placing or blowing snow into the streets and sidewalks. However, the law now would extend to leaves, branches and grass clippings.

“No person shall by himself or his agent or agents throw, push, blow or put any snow, ice, or yard debris, including but not limited to leaves, branches, and grass clippings, into the right-of-way of any way, street, lane, alley, or sidewalk,” the new ordinance states.

Nashua Corporation Counsel Steven Bolton said if someone were to receive a notice of violation, the person could be required to go to court. If he or she is found guilty in court, they could be fined as much as $1,000.

However, Bolton said he believes such a hefty penalty would be unlikely.

“I don’t think that would happen. I think the likely fine is in the $100 range,” Bolton said.

Nashua Alderman Michael O’Brien Sr. said the intention is for it to be a “good neighbor” type of law. He said with this ordinance, common sense should apply. He said enforcement will likely come when someone purposefully places yard debris in the roadway, rather than if the wind clearly blew the material into the street.

Bolton believes a warning will be issued by the police the first time around if they respond to a complaint about the debris. Officers will let the violator know if it happens again, they could find themselves facing a court summons.

“As far as I know, no one has been prosecuted for the violation. But, I do know the police have gone over and talked to people on occasion and the problem seems to take care of itself,” Bolton added.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or