Youngstown pushing for more regulations on drop boxes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Block after block, clothing drop boxes are dotting the lots in Youngstown.

A number of those drop boxes are not even allowed on the land where they are located. Now, the city is pushing for stricter regulations on the containers.

“They just go in the middle of the night and drop them down,” said Youngstown 7th Ward Councilman John Swierz during a safety committee meeting on Thursday.

He and other council members said the drop boxes are being placed on vacant lots, which is illegal. They also said they are not being emptied enough.

“If they don’t take the material out three times a year, they are subject to having that box removed from there,” Swierz said.

So what is legal and illegal when it comes to the clothing donation boxes?

A drop box that is on the property of an operational business is legal. But, if the drop box is on a vacant lot, it is not allowed because of zoning issues.

To stop the clothing drop boxes from overpopulating these vacant lots, Swierz is pushing for stricter city laws.

“Some illegal things are going on there,” he said.

Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees agreed.

“It is not uncommon for criminals to use common locations to hide drugs or weapons to distance themselves from the scene of a crime,” Lees said.

He compared drop boxes to vacant houses in the city, meaning it is easier for criminals to hide illegal things from law enforcement.

The Safety Committee voted to take the drop box issue to city council at the next meeting.

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