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Council Approves Charity-only Donation Boxes

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Lincoln will ban outdoor donation boxes that benefit for-profit companies rather than private charities.

The council voted 6-1 Monday to approve the ban, with Councilman Jon Camp the lone dissenter.

"We have gone too far. … I'd rather see government keep its nose out of this," said Camp, who had tried unsuccessfully to get the council to allow for-profit boxes with full disclosure on the boxes.

"This isn't a health and safety issue," Camp said, referring to an area that government often regulates. Local government should not be saying which charitable organizations can use donation boxes, he said.

But supporters said the 80 donation boxes set up in parking lots across Lincoln deceive donors, who believe the clothing stays in Lincoln and that the money goes to a charity.

March of Dimes is the charity listed on the large hut-like boxes, but 90 percent of the gross revenue goes to a for-profit company.

The donation box ordinance requires that at least 80 percent of gross proceeds from donation boxes goes to a charity.

That provision, an amendment to the original language, closes a loophole that would have let a charity own the box, with a service agreement that allowed the private company to keep most of the revenue.

The for-profit company has 90 days to remove the boxes from Lincoln, under the ordinance.

Grandview zoning

In other action, the council approved an annexation and zoning change that will allow developers Rokeby Holdings LLC to begin a new subdivision at South 70th Street and Countryview Road.

The Grandview Estates subdivision -- between Yankee Hill and Rokeby Road -- eventually will have 174 dwelling units that could include apartments.

The initial development will include 64 lots.

Source: http://journalstar.com


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