Council sets rules for donation bins

By Mike Genet

A couple months after Blue Springs decided to require annual permits for donation bins, the city of Independence has decided to follow suit.

The Independence City Council this week unanimously approved a series of additional regulations for donation bins and donation centers, including a permit requirement for the bin owner. 

The annual permit fee for a donation bin will be $25. Other regulations include that a bin must:

• Be on a durable, drainable surface (not gravel or grass).

• Have a sign that clearly states what the donated items are for and to prohibit illegal dumping.

• Have secure, one-way access and receive adequate maintenance.

• Be removed if the business license for the business where the bin is located expires. 

Without the permit process, “We don’t have a way to actually track who has them on their property,” Rich Arroyo, assistant community development director, told the council. After Blue Springs passed its new measures, he said, “We took it as an opportunity to revise and change it.”

City staff did not give an estimated number of such bins around the city.

Existing city regulations allow for one donation bin for a site of 5 acres or less and two bins for any larger sites, and they must be on lots adjacent to open and active businesses. Bins also must be set back at least 100 feet from any right-of-way line.

Donation centers, such as a thrift store or a year-round donation business, will be required to have some form of lighting and 24-hour surveillance in place by July 1, 2021.

Council Member Dan Hobart asked that city staff add some type of requirement as how large such a sign must be.

“This is getting in the weeds a little bit,” Hobart said. “Not that it’s necessarily going to be a big problem, but there’s going to be one who puts up a sign the size of a postage stamp.”