Construction debris, tires, old toys, household trash and four rotting coyote carcasses littered a large vacant lot at Spurr and Georgetown roads last week.
The site, across from Linlee Elementary School, is one of several illegal dumps in Fayette County that the city has targeted for cleanup as part of Keep America Beautiful's Great American Cleanup, which starts March 1.
The city will step up its war on illegal dump sites in Fayette County by issuing citations to land owners and prosecuting those who dump illegally.
Currently, the city's efforts center on dumps that citizens complain about. Now, the city will target known dumps and install surveillance cameras at some sites to identify the license plate numbers of people who dump the trash.
Trash will be searched for items of "evidentiary value" like envelopes and utility bills with names and addresses, said Lexington police Officer Scott Blakely. "Let's see if we can build a case" to criminally prosecute people who illegally dump, he said.
Urban County Council member Jay McChord, who proposed the initiative, said tackling the illegal dumps was something he and David Jarvis, the city's director of code enforcement, have discussed for about five years.
Mac Ferguson, nuisance control officer in code enforcement, said he will mail orders to property owners to clean up illegal dumps within 14 days.
If there's no response, the city will hire a contractor to clean it up and bill the owner for the cost, including the dumping fee at the city's landfill. If the person doesn't pay, a lien will be placed against the property.
"These are just some of the things we see," Jarvis said of the photos of dead coyotes at the Spurr Road dump site. "It's tires, gas tanks, dead animals."
With roofing season starting, large quantities of old shingles and roofing materials will be dumped, he said.
Non-violent offenders from the corrections facility might be used to clean up dumps on public property.
Items that can be recycled will be sent to the recycling center.
The city also will publicize the locations of public dumpsters, encouraging people to dump there rather than at illegal sites.
The city's Division of Code Enforcement issued a citation last week against JUBY LLC, listed as the owner of the 10-acre parcel at Georgetown and Spurr roads.
Local builder John D. Barlow received the citation. He said he does not own JUBY but picks up its mail.
After going out to the lot, Barlow said, he contacted a local firm to take two dumpsters to the site.
"We'll hire some people to put the stuff in the dumpsters that somebody illegally dumped in the middle of the night, and haul it off," he said.
Illegal dumping is a nuisance developers deal with regularly on construction sites or vacant land, Barlow said. His crews find sofas, washing machines "whatever people don't want" in the construction trash bins.
"This is the first time we've been cited," he said. "The only reason this one got this citation was that during all the 10-degree weather and the snow, no one was aware of it."