Lee’s Summit puts limits on donation bins for charity

rpulley@lsjournal.comFebruary 28, 2014 

Donation bins for clothing will be limited to one per property in Lee’s Summit.

The City Council on Feb. 20 passed an ordinance 5 -2, regulating the bins number, locations on a site and requiring permits.

It will affect businesses like Red Racks downtown and donation bins located at SummitWoods Crossing and other locations.

Council members Bob Johnson and Dave Mosby voted no, Ed Cockrell was absent.

The ordinance does not apply to bins for recycling waste such as glass or paper.

Councilman Rob Binney had pushed for the rules after getting complaints from residents about some donation bins being neglected, clothes spilling over onto the ground and trash dumped around them. He said there had been problems along Missouri 291.

Johnson asked what the pressing need was to regulate the bins, saying he hadn’t gotten any complaints.

Binney told him he’d had complaints. Kathy Hofmann, the other District 1 council member, also said she’d gotten complaints about the bins.

Dale Coy, who frequently attends council meetings to comment on its activities, criticized the rules as unfair because they are inconsistent.

He notes the single clothing donation bin can’t take up a parking space, although large bins for glass can take up several, and big-box stores can put display sheds or garden supply sales in the parking lots.

“I can’t understand why charitable recycling of clothing – which improves sustainability, keeps things out of the landfill, and makes folks feel good for donating – needs to have special regulations far exceeding those of other recycling,” Coy said in an email.

Scott Blomquist, president of Team Thrift, a Lee’s Summit company which operates Red Racks stores in association with the Disabled American Veterans, could not be reached for comment.

In an earlier interview, Blomquist said he agreed that bins need to be regulated but the restriction of one bin per property might be too restrictive. At the time of that interview in November (as the ordinance was being drafted), Red Racks in downtown Lee’s Summit had two donation bins. Now it has four.

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