You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, May 24, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti DDA may install security cameras to deter illegal dumping

By Katrease Stafford

Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Director Tim Colbeck said installing security cameras may be one way to stop recurring illegal dumping downtown.

"Over the years, we’ve had our ration of misues," Colbeck said. "People dump couches, construction materials and it costs the DDA a lot of money every year to correct the problem."


Nearly 80 tires were dumped at the Midas location at 404 E. Michigan Ave. at the beginning of May. DDA Director Tim Colbeck said the DDA districts, particularly downtown, are facing the same issue as well.

Katrease Stafford |

The proposal for security cameras came to the table at the recommendation of the Economic Restructuring and Design Committee.

"The committee has been really firm they want cameras installed," Colbeck said.

The DDA has particularly noticed the dumping within its three dumpster enclosures in the North Huron, South Huron and North Adams parking lots. The three enclosures cost the DDA about $20,000 annually.

In addition to couches, Colbeck said tires and even a piano have been dumped.

"We had someone leave a considerable stack of tires," Colbeck said. "It would always be a Monday morning (when we noticed.) Someone's coming over the weekend. More than anything we get furniture and we know it's not coming from people that live downtown. The DDA can't let it sit there, though. We end up having to pay bulk to have the items removed."

Colbeck didn't provide a specific number, but said the costs are fairly high and mount quickly depending on the items.

According to the DDA, at least once a month, the dumpster enclosures become "unsightly due to improper use." previously reported that the Midas at 404 E. Michigan Avenue also has experienced issues with illegal dumping. Although the Midas isn't within the DDA's district's, the problem has been recurring at that business as well.

On May 6, Colbeck sent a letter out to business and property owners within the downtown district urging them to encourage the appropriate use of the dumpsters.

"One of the largest problems we have is trash simply not being put in the dumpsters," Colbeck wrote.


At center is the dumpster enclosure in the North Huron parking lot in downtown Ypsilanti.

courtesy photo

The DDA has added an extra garbage pickup to deter the dumping and to try to alleviate some of the issues.

At a April 24 committee meeting, Member Kevin Hill, also the owner of the Wolverine Grill, stated the the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti was considering partnering with the DDA to add security cameras for the dumpster enclosures.

Committee member and Sidetrack Bar and Grill Owner Linda French said that cameras should be installed throughout all of the districts, but Hill said the issue came up directly related to the dumpster enclosures and has grown into a beautification and safety item for the downtown district.

The committee discussed the potential to grow a camera program to the other districts in the future but that it would be prudent to begin with a single area rather than expend funds for security cameras district wide.

The DDA has received cost estimates of the security cameras from different companies, ranging between $3,500 and $8,000.

Committee member Jake Albers stated that cameras for the enclosures should be considered a pilot program to see if they are in fact effective.

"There has been discussion, but not any firming up of details," Colbeck said. "We're treating this is a first pass at something bigger. If indeed we see it could have a bigger impact, it would be considered for expansion."

In addition to deterring illegal dumping, Colbeck believes it may improve security in the area.

The DDA has started to approach possible partners to house the security equipment, including Puffer Reds Owner Eric Williams and the Ypsilanti Convention and Visitors Bureau building owner Doug Winters.

However, the DDA has yet to receive any firm commitments. If a business owner were to agree to have the cameras installed, DDA staff and the Ypsilanti Police Department would have access to the materials if requested.

"We haven’t worked out all the details yet," Colbeck said. "We have our attorney looking at the legality of it."

If a person is caught illegally dumping, the city can impose fines, Colbeck said. The first violation fine is $50, and the first repeat violation is $150. The second subsequent violation is $300.

A person could also face a civil infraction from the state of Michigan if caught dumping, ranging from $800 to $5,000.

"We’re trying to reiterate that there are indeed consequences to this," Colbeck said. "We recognize there needs to be improvements with the system. If we get cameras in, we catch them. It's within the jurisdiction of the building’s department to (fine them.)"

The DDA board is expected to discuss the issue further at its June 20 meeting.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Chase Ingersoll

Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

I hope this helps: The Carleton Farms landfill in New Boston was only $20.00 per ton when the landfills/drop off centers in Washtenaw county were charging more than $20 per cubic yard. So DDA wants to manage a high cost economic problem, by making the activity a crime. They can do that but then that undermines them calling themselves a "Development" and they should be called DA, for Downtown AUTHORITY. Tires....10 years ago in another town, I just started picking up every dumped tire I saw, throwing it in the back of the pickup truck, drilling train holes in them and stacking them in my driveway. In a matter of weeks I had more than 100 and a call from a neighbor to code enforcement. I knew the head of the department and shortly thereafter they put on a recycling day and on the way to the pickup point they stopped at my house and got all of them. It worked out for everyone, but the head of code enforcement - he had worked in the private sector construction for years and was just a sort of practical person. There is a solution out there that won't take any public resources or would take less than what is already being spent, but I guess finding such a solution is not in the DDA's interest.

Stan Hyne

Sun, May 26, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

The problem is twofold. Some people don't respect other peoples property. But it costs money to throw things in the dump. It doesn't cost anything to throw things in a ditch or on other peoples property.


Sat, May 25, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

The DAY has been trying to make themselves relevant for years. Now they are trying to waste tax payer dollars in order to do it.

Honest Abe

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 4:48 a.m.

Midas? Let's just say that property is less than well kempt, regardless.

Jonathan Cassino

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

I own ModelCave and am a member of DAY. I believe installing security cameras in the public parking areas is sensible. I am at times amazed with stuff that shows up in and around the dumpster area. Construction debris, old tires, fixtures, furniture, mattresses, rolls of old carpeting, truck loads of over stuffed trash bags. Unsightly to say the least. Hardly the first impression Ypsilanti wants left with anyone. As far as privacy goes I see no issue with cameras in a public parking lot. These are not hidden cameras, in fact I believe there will be signage indicating the cameras presence. Security cameras are virtually everywhere these days. If you don't want to get caught doing something on video that you shouldn't be doing than perhaps a public parking lot isn't the place to do it.

Jonathan Cassino

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

The majority of my customers are from out of town and park in one of these lots. Many of them have never been to Ypsilanti before. Its not a good first, second or third impression to have a parking lot strewn with garbage from overflowing dumpsters.

Depot Town

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

first impression? dumpsters aren't the first place most people visit when coming to ypsilanti.

Honest Abe

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

By the way - The DDA is joke. I own a business in Ypsilanti and I refuse to allow the DDA to poke their noses into it. I also made it clear to them some time ago to not even step foot on my property. They have no business with my business. Period. Also, to Linda French - that's a great idea. Lets just post cameras everywhere! I just love having cameras EVERY WHERE I GO! (NOT). You've made enough money and received PLENTY of grants and free money, why don't you pay for the cameras? if you're so worried. I can live without Big Brother always watching me.

Honest Abe

Sat, May 25, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

So, to clarify, it costs the DDA money or does it cost the TAXPAYERS money? Thanks.


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

If it was that simple as putting up cameras, Detroit could have solved their dumping problems long ago.


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

This dumping costs plenty. The cameras are cheap. Why is there any need for further conversation?


Fri, May 24, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Cause it might not do much good. Do cameras in banks, stop bank hold ups ?