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January 18, 2018 City Council Regular Meeting
24. Motion to Adopt Abandoned Shopping Cart Ordinance

First reading of this ordinance was held the meeting of January 4, 2018. 

Abandoned shopping carts cause nuisance conditions throughout the City, impacting property values, promoting blight and deterioration, and interfering with pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Abandoned carts also require expenditure of City resources to retrieve carts from neighborhoods, canals, ditches and other rights of way. 

In 2013, in response to an increasing number of complaints regarding abandoned shopping carts throughout the City, the Property Maintenance and Sanitation departments conducted a five-month citywide cart scan to determine the extent of the problem. Data showed that over 200 carts were left each month in the City rights of way or on public and private property.  Staff worked with merchants, who implemented voluntary measures to address problem areas. However, four years later this problem continues, necessitating a more formal program. 

Staff researched national best practices that address abandoned shopping carts, removal of shopping carts from premises, and enforcement of abandoned carts. It is recommended that the City of Savannah adopt an ordinance that requires retail establishments to develop a cart prevention and retrieval plan. All establishments with more than 10 carts must develop a plan that includes:

  • Owner information
  • Cart inventory
  • Signs affixed to carts with ownership information
  • Cart theft prevention measures
  • Cart retrieval measures

Failure for any business to comply with the requirements of this ordinance would result in a fine not to exceed $500. The City would also implement a $375 cart retrieval fee charged to the business should the City be required to retrieve an abandoned cart and return it to the business.  

State Statute (O.C.G.A. § 16-8-21) also makes removal of shopping carts from private property and abandonment of shopping carts a misdemeanor.

Stakeholder meetings to discuss the draft ordinance were held October 24 and 30, 2017.



Margaret Williams, Assistant Director Human Services Department
Financial Impact
Non-compliance fee $500 City cart retrieval $375
Review Comments
AbandonedShopping Carts Revd 2d reading 011818.pdf
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