An unattended donation bin that asks for clothes and shoes sits neatly and cleanly in front of Ripon Elementary School.
This one appears unlike some of the others in San Joaquin County.
“Some of these bins are being used to dump old televisions, sofas and other unwanted stuff,” Mark Winchell said at last week’s Ripon City Council meeting.
The Councilman and his colleagues questioned if these for-profit bins should be banned from the City of Ripon or regulated.
This was in response to the San Joaquin County civil grand jury report from June 10 that recommended the county and all cities enact ordinances requiring owners of the bins to receive written permission before placing the collection bins.
Without permission, owners would be forced to remove the “Charity Begins at Home” bins. They would also be asked to post signs stating that the bins are being operated for-profit and not charity.
“The report states that (these bins) are unregulated, not maintained, and often placed on private property without permission of the owner,” said Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart.
There’s only the one bin in town in the front of Ripon Elementary.
“In Ripon, these bins are treated like a business and must go through a minor site review with fees associated with it in order to be placed on a certain property,” Zuidervaart said.
He added that bins had been placed at the SaveMart Shopping Center, the Ripon Roadhouse and Leo’s Auto Service but were promptly removed by the owner for not following the proper procedures.
Mayor Leo Zuber was in favor of looking at all options.
“If the bin is dumped on private property, the owner could resist – but what if you’re a business that wanted a bin? How can the City say ‘No,’” he said.
As for an ordinance – Ripon doesn’t have one as of yet – Zuber is looking for “something with teeth in it.”
Vice Mayor Jake Parks believes council should look at regulating and not banning since the group has been cooperating with the City.
The county and the cities of Stockton, Lodi, Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Escalon and Ripon are required to submit a response to each finding and recommendation in the grand jury report. The responses, in turn, will be forwarded to the presiding judge of the SJC Superior Court within 90 days.
Zuidervaart has directed staff to bring back options in a proposed ordinance for banning or restricting the bins for further discussion at the July 14 Council meeting.