N.J. Town to Require Landscape Contractors to Register

There are about 40 landscape companies in Carlstadt, New Jersey, but only one of them, Lawn Boy, is registered with the state Division of Consumer Affairs. Now, Bruce Young, deputy zoning official with the town, is looking to change all that. In order to make sure that lawn waste is properly handled, Young is proposing that all landscape businesses be required to register with the town, in order to operate there.

“This would allow us to address the issue of landscapers not cleaning up after their work,” said Young. “It’s a big problem when they blow grass into the street. The clippings end up in catch basins and our street sweeper. When these companies have no address listed, we don’t know where to send a warning letter or summons. It’s unfair, because then we have to go after the homeowner for littering.”

Approximately 60 warning letters have been sent to property owners already this summer, and two have resulted in $100 fines for littering. “We don’t want to punish anybody, but I want to read some landscapers the riot act,” said Young. “I want to give them to know, they have to clean up after their work, and if they don’t abide by the town regulations, they’ll eventually get a summons.”

His proposal will be discussed by the mayor and city council at their next meeting. According to Mike Cerra, assistant executive director for the League of Municipalities, the town could be firmer than it is now with landscape businesses. “Princeton is one town that has stricter restrictions on landscapers,” he said. “If they have to register with the town and an issue arises over the company’s work, the town has someone to go to for corrective action.”