NAVARRE — Rick Vargas moved the dumpster away from the road and closer to the Spanish villa he has under construction.
He started his biggest home project yet with the large bin sitting near the corner of Fourth and Frontera streets in Navarre. It overflowed with trash all right, just not from his construction site.
“It got filled in one day,” Vargas said. “We have a lot of trashy lots in Navarre that need to be cleaned up.”
Blake Swilley and his wife, Roselle, live in a newer home in Navarre and have grown weary of people illegally dumping furniture, televisions, mattresses and even household garbage in a wooded lot across the street.
“It’s hideous,” Blake said. “The last two years, it has really gotten to be ridiculous. People are dumping everything in here.”
Santa Rosa County leaders have heard residents’ complaints and have started to come up with some solutions as they prepare to rewrite garbage hauling contracts with Waste Pro of Florida Inc. and Emerald Coast Utilities Authority in 2020.
County Commissioner Lane Lynchard suggested creating a place where people who live in the south end could drop off large items for pickup.
Commissioner David Piech said he supports that idea and other options, such as once or twice weekly garbage collection and penalties against homeowners who fail to sign up.
“We need something way more complicated than what we have in place,” said Piech, who has firsthand experience with illegal dumping near his home on the west side of Holley by the Sea.
“It’s a problem,” Piech said. “I see it at the end of my street in the morning. The other day I saw a TV thrown out. Instead of doing the right thing, it piles up.”
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office actually oversees the illegal dumping, not the Santa Rosa County Code Enforcement Department.
Sgt. Rich Aloy said the problem areas include places with little traffic and dark or low-light conditions. He declined to name the trouble spots.
“We have known areas we regularly deal with,” said Aloy, the Sheriff’s Office's public information officer. “If it’s something we can enforce we will do it.”
Depending on the situation, Aloy said, the Sheriff’s Office often works with Santa Rosa County Code Enforcement or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Swilley said he and wife's area “is a bad one” for illegal dumping. He would like to see more deputies monitor the area.
“The cops come here but all they do is keep speeding down,” he said.