HIGHTSTOWN: Collection bin placement mulled

By Amy Batista, Special Writer
The borough plans to make it easier for the placement of clothing collection bins around town.
The Planning Board recommended the Borough Council amend and supplement its zoning ordinances with a new section on “Clothing Bins.”
“We had a committee from Princeton that came forward (during a council meeting) and wanted us to put a clothing bin in Hightstown,” Mayor Larry Quattrone said.
He said the council “didn’t want to play with that” until the Planning Board reviewed the issue.Planning Board Chairman Fred Montferrat said, “We are comfortable with our draft resolution and sending it to council for recommendation.”
According to the draft resolution, the purpose of the new ordinance is to accommodate clothing bins intended for charitable purposes only in appropriate locations, while protecting the public’s health, safety and welfare.
Councilman Charles “Lee” Stults noted that garbage was once propped up next to the clothing bin at Michael’s Plaza.
“They talked to the building owner at that property and convinced them to move the clothing bin back,” he said.
He said the new ordinance would define where the clothing bins go.
“It will just help when inspectors are out,” he said. “It gives the zoning officer a lot of teeth.”
Planning Board Attorney Gary Rosensweig said the board had drawn up an ordinance regarding clothing bins years ago.
“I don’t know what the issue is in regards to this ordinance and why this isn’t being sent to council,” he said. “I don’t know why we wouldn’t refer this to council.”
He said the proposed ordinance is consistent with law.
“You have to show that you are a registered charity,” he said, adding that there are also limits on where the bins can be placed.
The ordinance would allow for one clothing bin to be placed in each church or other religious institution parking lot and at other such sites provided that bin placement meets all of the conditions in the ordinance.
Planning Board committee member John Lane asked who would be responsible for cleaning up around the area of the bins.
“The property owner,” Councilman Stults said.
When Planning Board committee member Dimitri Musing asked if the mayor and council saw a benefit to adding more bins, Councilman Stults said, “I would think if there is a place, if it is not going to detract from a business, or cause a detriment to where it is.”Mr. Rosensweig said violations of the ordinance could result in penalties of up to $20,000.
“That’s a lot of money,” he said, adding that the legislature is serious about regulating the bins. 