When my parents lost their home and business in 1942 to one of Laurel’s famous fires in the business district, we stayed with friends in town and the bathroom facilities were outside, a two-holer, my first and last experience with one.

Today of course they are outlawed especially in town where everyone is hooked to sewer.  Replacing the out houses are portable toilets seen at ball parks, special functions such as festivals and they are allowed beside pools, except Laurel.

Apparently a couple of homes in-town have been using them for years so people would not have to come into their home dripping wet to use the bathroom.

Recently Laurel Code Enforcement Officer Paul Frick  acting on a tip  found 5 portable toilets in the limits of the town and stunned the owners,  with notices to remove them, or in some cases when he couldn’t find the owners at home he called the vendors to remove them.

I have to interject something here; I have argued with the town that when I have a violation, just call me instead of the cost of a registered letter and I’ll fix it. No they said they must have proof I was contacted. And I understand how some people might say they were not notified.

But if this is policy, why weren’t the vendors or the home owners sent a registered letter?  Imagine coming home and finding your portable toilet missing.  I understand a door hangar was left with a message, but….

A former council woman said 12 years ago, when she was on the council I believe, was told by the then enforcement officer it was ok.

I know who that person was and there are violations today from his decisions, bushes too close to the road,  tall fences up to the sidewalk causing blind spots for drivers. Back in his day everything was a go.

The town attorney says Fricks decision was legal.

While I can understand the dissention among those with portable toilets, I doubt if they have 20 plus people like I have on a weekly basics using our pool in the summer, cook-outs, etc.  And the family reunion and birthday celebrations my wife threw had 75 guests and upward. We put in a toilet in our utility room for the small ones ussing the pool, the adults use any of our other two in the house. Parents and kids are told to dry off before they hit the porch. Once in a while some little guest of the kids tends to get by.

I’m not sure if I want to view a portable toilet from my house.  They are serviced on a regular basics so I’m sure there is no odor.

So as hard as it was for me to accept no wells in town, I’m sure those who had portable toilets find Frick’s decision difficult to accept. Frick made the correct call.

The town is going to make a new ordinance that would allow portable Johns on construction sites, maybe for a special event at your home such as a wedding reception, but having one year-round will still be a no-no.



  1. The new ordinance then will have to cover the portable Johns at the athletic fields and the 4th of July celebration, and the other events that have them. I agree having one year round is not good and if you need it that bad then add a bathroom.

  2. Boy am I glad we live out in the country. We have had 2 wedding receptions, a graduation party and my 50th birthday party (a few years ago) at our farm and rented really nice port-o-pots from Peninsula Oil. If someone in town, or the country, has an out house that is draining into a stream, river or pond, there may be a problem. But really Laurel, do you want to impose a CRAP/PISS ordanance? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    The schools, town and anyone else that wishes to rent and pay for port-o-pots for a function should be able to. Less stress on our water/sewer system.

  3. I just could not believe that they took up so much time in the council meeting and the laurel star had a huge write up just for a discussion about portable toilets, funny!

    • In journalism stories such as this are usually because of lack of good news, or as we call it, “A slow news day.” Another words council meeting had nothing else interesting. Tony had to submit a story for his paper, and the portable toilets was the highlight of the meeting.

  4. Not saying that portable toilets are not unsightly, they are….but if they are used for a pool party, aren’t pools suppose to be fenced in, thus hiding the toilet?..oh, i forgot the real issue is that the town is loosing money on water and sewer rates, instead of having a conservation perspective.

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