Leesburg Council Clamping Down on Donation Boxes

The overflowing donation canisters seen in many shopping centers in the area may become more scarce, thanks to new regulations passed by the Leesburg Town Council last week, including a $250 fee to place those boxes.

Council members had decried the donation boxes as a nuisance. They appear seemingly overnight on shopping center property, often without the owner’s consent. Many of these boxes are also seen with items scattered on the ground around them.

Town staff members proposed a series of amendments to the town’s Zoning Ordinance to cut down on the visual clutter. Council members took some of those a step further, including imposing a $250 zoning permit fee that must be paid by the owner of the donation box after receiving property owner consent to place the box in a specific location.

The new regulations also specify where such donation boxes are not permitted, including within public rights-of-way, within a required off-street parking space, or a pedestrian path, among others. Donation boxes are prohibited in residential districts, unless the principal use of the property is a permitted institutional and community use, such as a church. The boxes are also prohibited in the downtown B-1 district and the Crescent Design District. 

The council also agreed to a collection schedule that requires donated items be picked up on a biweekly basis, unless otherwise agreed upon by the zoning administrator. 

According to Zoning Administrator Mike Watkins, 90% or more of the donation boxes currently in the town limits are not compliant with the new regulations.

Some council members contemplated prohibiting donation boxes in town altogether, but ultimately the council decided to see if the regulations would create compliance and, thus, a more attractive appearance for the boxes. Under the adopted ordinance, the regulations will remain in effect until Jan. 25, 2023, with the council expected to review them ahead of that date. 

“Put it on your calendar, a year from now we want to hear back,” Mayor Kelly Burk said to Watkins after the vote. 

The measure passed 6-0-1, with Vice Mayor Marty Martinez absent for the Jan. 25 vote. 

6 thoughts on “Leesburg Council Clamping Down on Donation Boxes

  • 2022-02-01 at 3:56 pm
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    I’m a fan of these donation boxes. Granted, they must be maintained so they don’t become eyesores. But they serve a good purpose. I’m glad Leesburg stopped short of banning them. If a box is overflowing with clothing, undoubtedly a good Samaritan will step up & rectify the situation. We can all pitch in to help the disadvantaged. Happy Lunar New Year Loudoun!

    • 2022-02-03 at 5:57 am
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      Look into it Tim. Ask anyone, and I mean anyone, who runs a local charity. Those donation boxes are a hustle. They divert donations from worthy local causes.

      Make no mistake-the companies that run the boxes are for-profit companies. Most of the clothing is bundled up, sold by the ton and shipped to the third world. This might sound awesome but the end result is that it kills any local clothing industry and the jobs that go along with it.

      Because the for-profit Blue Box folks ‘donate’ a portion of their profits they masquerade as charities, and for most folks, their sham works.

  • 2022-02-01 at 5:31 pm
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    I guess the council never takes the time to notice that most of these collection boxes get filled up also!
    If you can’t find a donation box any more, just drop things off at the town hall!

  • 2022-02-01 at 6:57 pm
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    Fine move by the Leesburg Town Council! Hoping that the Loudoun County government also acts. An added concern is figuring out who are putting out these boxes. Very hard to figure out who is profitting.

  • 2022-02-02 at 8:11 am
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    Eventually, the (D)s will find a way to tax the air we breathe.

    They’re addicted to it.

  • 2022-02-02 at 11:45 am
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    Giving this a bit more thought…

    Why is the Town Council getting involved with this, other than them seizing an opportunity to create more bureaucracy and a revenue stream?

    At its core, this is a private property issue. If the owners don’t want these boxes on their property or don’t find them to be maintained properly, then it is fully within their rights and responsibilities to either have them removed or demand action by the organization which placed them.

    The (D)s will never ignore a chance to grow the government. No matter how trivial of a matter.

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