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Geneva may regulate donation bins

Published: Friday, Oct. 12, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – In an effort to regulate donation boxes so they do not become unsightly, Geneva aldermen recommended approval this week of a zoning amendment to address the problem.

The Geneva Plan Commission also agreed, after a public hearing in June, that collection bins that are not properly located and maintained can create nuisances.

Aldermen acting as the Committee of the Whole voted, 8-0, to approve the recommendation with two absent: Fifth Ward Aldermen Ralph Dantino and First Ward Alderman Charles Brown. Final action will be taken by the City Council.

Community Development Director Dick Untch said the amendment would require bin operators and owners of the property where they are located to be responsible for them equally.

The amendment would require a permit for $250 to cover the city’s cost and will last a year, Untch said.

“We are not making money; we are covering our costs for administrative paperwork,” Untch said. “I think it’s a reasonable fee.”

The amendment allows collection bins in commercial and industrial zoning districts and in residential districts such as schools or churches, but not on a residential property itself.

“It is certainly the belief of staff that donation bins located next to or abutting the principal building on the property goes a long way toward bringing them into the realm of store management,” Untch said. “There is some natural desire to police these bins when they are located next to a building as opposed to separated off to the edge of the property or parking field.”

Untch said if a property or bin owner is unresponsive to problems, the owner would be cited and go to adjudication like any other zoning violation.

Resident Carol Smith said she uses donation bins and supports having them in Geneva.

“I think there is room for them in the community,” Smith said. “Recycling textiles is a huge, important concept for me. I urge you to find a way to have bins in Geneva.”

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