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Thread: Restrictions on collection boxes and/or automated vending structures

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    Restrictions on collection boxes and/or automated vending structures

    Does your municipality restrict used clothing donation/collection boxes or automated vending structures like those shown here: http://www.icehouseamerica.com/

    If so, could you quote the ordinance section or provide a link?

    We're running into this more and more here in Athens, GA and I'm looking for some good ideas. Thanks

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    guess that's a "no"

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Not so fast ... we just got an inquiry about them last week, and I was going to feature it in a "how would you regulate it?" post.

    When I first heard "icehouse". I was picturing a traditional Texas icehouse. Instead, it was something like this:



    The inquiry regarded a site on a vacant lot in our city's historic downtown, subject to SmartCode zoning. It was to be the only use on the lot. An icehouse alone wouldn't meet minimum development standards under the SmartCode, which requires a multi-story building filling a large portion of the lot and built close to the property line.

    We don't consider it a vending machine, since it's not easily portable, and it has a door and space for a person to enter and freely move around. In a conventional commercial zoning district, an automated icehouse would be permitted subject to all architectural, signage, lighting, landscaping, and rooftop mechanical screening requirements. All utilities must be underground. Basically, we're going to regulate them the same way as any other site-built commercial structure.

    For clothing donation boxes: the following is from our draft unified development code. it's classified as an accessory use; you can't have a donation box freestanding on a vacant lot.

    10.311.4 Donation box

    10.311.4.1 Definition
    Donation box: container or structure located outside of an enclosed building, used for collection of charitable or for-profit donated items.

    10.311.4.2 Permitted locations
    Donation boxes are considered subject to special exception review in the B-1, B-2 and I-1 districts. Special exception approval applies for two years. After two years, the donation drop-off box must be removed, or the special exception approval renewed.

    10.311.4.3 Conditions

    One donation box may be placed on a property.

    Donation boxes cannot obstruct pedestrian or vehicular circulation, nor be located in public rights-of-way, required building setbacks, landscape areas, areas in front of the primary building on the site, drive aisles, required parking spaces, fire lanes, loading zones, or other unsafe location.

    Donation boxes may have a capacity of ≤6 cubic yards (162’3), and a height of ≤6.5’.

    Donation boxes must be painted or coated in a color that is compatible with the context of its setting. Bright primary, fluorescent or contrasting colors are prohibited.

    Donation boxes must be clearly marked with:
    • The specific items and materials requested for donation;
    • The name of the operator or owners of the donation container;
    • A local telephone number where the owner, operator or agent of the owner or operator may be reached at any time, and;
    • A notice stating that no items or materials may be left outside of the box.

    Donated items must be collected and stored in the box. Donated items cannot be left outside of boxes. Donations not fully enclosed in a donation box are considered a zoning violation and public nuisance, with the donations and box subject to removal by the city at the owner’s expense.


    We're probably going to change the term "primary color" to something that is a bit more specific that better describes bright colors.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Thanks. That is very helpful.

    Our code enforcement people are all over these donation boxes now that they have discovered that most of them are actually for commercial purposes. The company that puts most of them out around here has been putting all of these cancer society urls on the boxes to make people think that they are donating to a legitimate cause, whereas donations are actually sent to the company's used clothing stores.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bryix View post
    TThe company that puts most of them out around here has been putting all of these cancer society urls on the boxes to make people think that they are donating to a legitimate cause, whereas donations are actually sent to the company's used clothing stores.
    Planet Aid is another similar operation. My opinion: you regulate the use, not the user and it shouldn't matter whether the box is for a legitimate non-profit organization or a quasi-for-profit company. The way we look at it, a collection box is a collection box.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
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    That's probably the way it will end up here, as well. Our interest in regulating them stems from the preponderance of these not-quite-a-charity boxes.

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