RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Soda cans, plastic bottles and bags littering the ground have become an on-going problem for some Richmond residents and they’re tired of it. “It’s not nice to live next to,” said Richmonder Michael Fahl. Fahl lives next to especially messy dumpsters.
The dumpsters overflowing with trash sit between his apartment complex on Arthur Ashe Boulevard and two restaurants- Subway and Chanello’s on Broad Street.
“There’s just always a lot of litter here. I have seen sometimes where it has like flies and it smells from a pretty good distance,” Fahl said.
He believes it’s a health hazard. He told us he’s seen rodents. “I have seen plenty of rats run back and forth,” Fahl said.
Two of the three dumpsters belong to the pizzeria and sub shop. Fahl believes the restaurants are to blame. He told us, “I have seen some employees from both companies just kind of lackadaisical throw trash and not really follow-up with whether it made into the bin or not.”
8News stopped in to ask both restaurants about it. We learned both businesses and the owners of Fahl’s apartment complex were all issued that very day notices to comply from the City of Richmond.
It’s a warning to pick up the trash.
However, both businesses claim they’re not at fault. They claim a group of people experiencing homelessness has recently set up camp in the area.
Both Chanello’s and Subway managers told us the people without housing frequenting the area are constantly rummaging through the trash and harassing their employees. They say they’ve called the police but were told there’s nothing they can do.
Fahl also told us, he’s contacted the police and other City departments multiple times.
“I called the Clean City Commission and the person on the phone seemed very uninterested in what I had to say when I finished the conversation she said- well I will pass it along.”
But it wasn’t.
8News has learned because Fahl didn’t contact RVA311 to request service and because both Fahl and the businesses called the Richmond Police non-emergency number and the wrong sector lieutenant for the area, their complaints were never shared with the right people.
When we shared what we learned with Fahl, he was frustrated to learn City departments aren’t sharing information with one another. He called it a “broad failure” on the part of the City. “I feel like a lot of it is attributed to neglect,” he had told us.
After reaching out to police, 8News was told this was the first time the Sector Lieutenant for that neighborhood had heard anything about this.
After our call, Sector Lt. William Phibbs jumped into action and has now linked in the police department’s HOPE Unit which does outreach with homeless people.
Fahl says since 8News began looking into this he’s noticed some minor improvements around these dumpsters. That couch is still sitting there though.
8News will continue to monitor the situation.
8News also reached out to the apartment complex about their “notice to comply,” but no one got back to us.