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Glendale moves forward with donation drop box regulations

Posted 4/5/17

By Cecilia Chan

Independent Newsmedia

Where and how many donation drop boxes can be located in Glendale may soon be on the books.

City Council in a recent workshop gave input on a draft …

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Glendale moves forward with donation drop box regulations


By Cecilia Chan
Independent Newsmedia

Where and how many donation drop boxes can be located in Glendale may soon be on the books.

City Council in a recent workshop gave input on a draft zoning ordinance text amendment regulating the boxes, which in some areas of the city create blight with items strewn outside the donation bins. Glendale’s proposed ordinance is similar to what Peoria, Surprise and Phoenix have in place to regulate donation boxes.

"I’ve noticed that they are just moving the boxes into Glendale because we don’t regulate them," Councilwoman Lauren Tolmachoff said. "It’s high time we get on board with it."

Planning Director Jon Froke said the proposal is to allow for boxes in office and commercial zoning districts and commercial sites zoned planned area development, require a temporary use permit and require some sort of box identification with stickers.

The temporary use permits, which would be approved administratively, would be good for three years. Staff is recommending a permit fee in the range of $200.

"We are looking to cover expenses and not make money on this," Mr. Froke said.

It is also anticipated that each drop box would need a business license. Business operators with multiple locations in the city would need to obtain one business license instead of multiple licenses.

And, the number of boxes allowed would depend on the property size, Mr. Froke said.

For 1 acre, one box, for 1-3 acres, two boxes and for 3-plus acres, a maximum of four boxes.

Councilman Bart Turner asked about Northern Crossings, a 480,000-square-foot retail center located on 55 acres at 59th and Northern avenues. Would the site be considered one site, he asked.

Mr. Froke said Northern Crossings has different landowners and that each particular parcel can have bins.

Mr. Turner said he was satisfied because although it is one shopping center, each individual parcel with individual owners would each have individual rights to have a bin.

Also, no more than two donations bins can be clustered together in any one location. There also are restrictions such as no placement of the boxes in fire lanes.

Under the proposed ordinance, the property owner or authorized agent and the entity obtaining the temporary use permit are jointly responsible for keeping the area around the boxes free of litter and debris, and remove any graffiti within 24 hours of discovery. The entity obtaining the permit also is responsible for keeping the box in good condition. Code enforcement would oversee the compliance.

Council members raised concerns with parts of the proposal.

"If you have a business property and do not have 1 acre, you don’t have a box?" Mayor Jerry Weiers said. "I have problems with that personally."

He said property owners have the right to say no to a box or remove it and to tell somebody that they do not even have the opportunity to put a bin on their property did not sit well with him.

Mr. Froke said the proposal would be adjusted to allow for one box for 1 acre or less.

Councilman Turner said he was open to waiving the fee for nonprofits who have a donation box but he did not agree with the proposal that would exempt boxes on public and private schools sites, police and fire stations, city libraries and churches from having to have a temporary use permit.

"They need to comply just as other parts of the city," he said.

Councilwoman Joyce Clark agreed that all boxes should be regulated

"If you have a certain segment not under the jurisdiction of this ordinance, it would drive boxes onto those properties," she said.

Mr. Froke said the policy can be citywide and noted other municipalities did not regulate boxes on sites such as schools, churches and libraries.

Councilman Ray Malnar said with a three-year permit, what happens if a group such as a Boy Scouts troop only want to put out a bin once a year or every other year.

Mr. Froke said staff had not drilled down to that level of detail and was instructed to include that information in a report to council.

Staff also proposes a three-year compliance with the ordinance.

"A three-year approval period would allow us to get the program up and running and let property owners and bin operators time to get use to the new review period relative to the TUP," he said. "It would allow staff and the development community to try to start and get all these boxes located legally in Glendale."

The draft ordinance now goes to the Planning Commission for recommendation and return later to council for a vote.