City council held a public hearing Monday on a proposal for adopting regulations on donation bins.
The city had banned the donation bins in the past, as residents had complained about the maintenance of the public boxes. Some said that unusable goods—such as mattresses—were being dumped at the sites. These complaints were echoed in other parts of California where the donation bins popped up. Stanton and Corona were among the other California cities who had adopted bans.
In 2014 Planet Aid, a nonprofit that owns 20,000 clothing donation bins across the nation, won a Michigan court ruling that says the bans are a violation of 1st- and 14th-Amendment rights to free speech and equal protection. Planet Aid then sued Alhambra in April, citing the court decision.
Now, Alhambra is allowing the donation bins back into city limits. To address past concerns, council is considering an ordinance that would require bin-owners to get a permit. The ordinance would also enact a set of regulations on the boxes.
"There was concern about the condition of the boxes, the location of the boxes, as well as some of the trash and health issues associated with improperly maintained boxes," said City Attorney Joseph Montes. He said the new regulations will place limits on the size and location of the bins. The bins will also be required to be labeled with contact information.
One issue that residents had with the bins is that they seemed to pop up at random locations without the consent of land-owners. Alhambra's ordinance will require the property-owner and the owner of the bin to acquire a joint permit, making both parties accountable. The bin owner will need the consent of the land-owner, and the land-owner will be partly responsible for the maintenance of the bins.
No one from the public spoke at Monday's hearing. There will be a second reading of the ordinance at the next council meeting on Oct 12.