Law in NP would ban outdoor defecation

Law in NP would ban outdoor defecation

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The smell in one local neighborhood has gotten so bad that residents there say they can’t use their yards and pools.

The source of the offending odors is not animal excrement, as is often the case in this densely populated town, but human waste left by one man, a resident who routinely uses his backyard for defecating and front yard for urinating.

The topic came up under a seemingly innocuous agenda item at the June 4 Town Council meeting: “Councilman Giusti requests discussion and vote on the possibility of an ordinance on one’s personal use of property and the possible negative impact on neighbors.”

As it turns out, says Giusti, there is no existing law prohibiting the Chandler Street resident from doing what he’s doing. He said it’s important for the nearby residents to be able to use their properties without suffering from the habits of one neighbor.

“There’s nobody that should have to live in those conditions,” he said.

The Town Council voted unanimously last week to send the matter to its ordinance subcommittee.

The state’s law on indecent exposure doesn’t seem to cover what this resident is doing, said Giusti. Police have been notified of the activity over the past several months but haven’t been able to do anything about it, he said. The resident is even known to use the yard during the day, relieving himself even as school buses pass by.

A review shows the state statute on indecent exposure/disorderly conduct says it should only be deemed such a crime if exposure is intentionally done for the purpose of arousal.

Chief of Police David Tikoian told The Breeze he’s reviewing whether there might be an existing local ordinance or state law that the resident in question could be cited under.

“The North Providence Police Department welcomes the opportunity to work in collaboration with the ordinance committee to address the issue of public urination and/or defecation on one’s personal property,” he said. “This type of behavior is not only disrespectful, inappropriate and odd, it may be viewed as a potential public health issue.”

Police will work with ordinance members and other government parties to determine which, if any, ordinances or state laws “may be currently available to address this issue, as well as the possibility of creating a specific ordinance for council consideration to address this accordingly,” said Tikoian.

“Either way, this type of behavior is not conducive to a safe, clean, harmonious, respectful neighborhood living environment,” he said.

Tikoian thanked Giusti for offering police a seat at the table as officials conduct their deliberations.

Building Official Mike Carnevale said there’s typically a different and more stringent standard for citing single-family homes compared to an apartment housing. After doing some research over the past week, Carnevale said he is legally allowed to inspect the home and deem it uninhabitable based on its condition and a lack of sewer and water access, forcing the eviction of the resident. He said he will go to a judge to see about whether he can get the house closed up or torn down.

Giusti noted that there are young children living around the home in question, and they shouldn’t be subjected to these kinds of sights. He said he made the motion to send the matter to ordinance “so we can put an end to this nonsense.” Hopefully, he said, a new local law on the books will “put an end to this stuff.”

Chandler Street is not located in Giusti’s District 1, but in District 3. He took an interest because a relative lives near the home in question.

This appears to be a matter of the offending resident generally living in squalor, Giusti said, and the situation has gotten worse over the past two years.

District 3 Councilor Anthony Martone thanked Giusti for bringing up the issue, saying it’s a concerning one. This has been a difficult situation for multiple departments to deal with, he said, and he’s happy to see the council taking it up.

Comments

The neighbors better hope he is not Grandfathered In. How many other communities are in the same situation,no laws against that.

It's an awful situation for the neighbors for sure, and needs to be addressed, but also sounds like this man needs some help. I hope the town assists to provide services before they have his home "closed up or torn down."

Milkman, do you know of others communities where this happens?