It is the primary purpose of Longview Municipal Code, Chapter 7.34 (LMC), Shopping Cart Regulation, to provide for the prompt retrieval of lost, stolen or abandoned shopping carts in order to promote public safety and improve the image and appearance of the city. It is also a purpose of this chapter to have the owners and operators of businesses providing shopping carts use the means available to them to deter, prevent or mitigate the removal of shopping carts from their business premises, and to retrieve any carts that may be removed despite these efforts.
It is a further purpose of this chapter to prevent the illegal removal of shopping carts from the business premises, to prevent the continued possession of illegally removed carts, and to prevent the accumulation of illegally removed carts on public or provide properties (Ord. 3399 § 1, 2019).
Declaration of nuisance
Retail establishments provide shopping carts for the convenience of customers shopping on the premises of the businesses. A shopping cart that has been removed from the premises of the business and left abandoned on public or private property throughout the city constitutes a public nuisance and a potential hazard to the health and safety of the public. Shopping carts abandoned on public and private property can create conditions of blight in the community, obstruct free access to sidewalks, streets and other rights-of-way, interfere with pedestrian and vehicular traffic on pathways, driveways, public and private streets, and impede emergency services. It is for these reasons that such lost, stolen, or abandoned shopping carts are hereby declared to be a public nuisance which shall be subject to abatement in the manner set forth in Chapter 7.34 (LMC), or in any other manner provided by law.
Potential penalties of unauthorized cart removal
LMC 7.34.050 (2) (b)
Notice to Customers. Written notice shall be provided to customers that the removal of shopping carts from the premises is prohibited. Such notice may be provided in the form of fliers distributed on the premises, notices printed on shopping bags, direct mail, notices on business websites, or any other means demonstrated to be effective. Conspicuous signs shall be placed and maintained on the premises near all customer entrances and exits and throughout the premises, including the parking area, warning customers that removal of shopping carts from the premises is prohibited by state and city law.
(1) It is unlawful to do any of the following acts, if a shopping cart has a permanently affixed sign as provided in subsection (2) of this section:
(a) To remove a shopping cart from the parking area of a retail establishment with the intent to deprive the owner of the shopping cart the use of the cart; or
(b) To be in possession of any shopping cart that has been removed from the parking area of a retail establishment with the intent to deprive the owner of the shopping cart the use of the cart.
(2) This section shall apply only when a shopping cart: (a) Has a sign permanently affixed to it that identifies the owner of the cart or the retailer, or both; (b) notifies the public of the procedure to be utilized for authorized removal of the cart from the premises; (c) notifies the public that the unauthorized removal of the cart from the premises or parking area of the retail establishment, or the unauthorized possession of the cart, is unlawful; and (d) lists a telephone number or address for returning carts removed from the premises or parking area to the owner or retailer.
(3) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.