In a 4-3 vote, the Mentor Planning Commission voted against allowing Blue Water Bin Management to have two collection bins at 6994 Heisley Road during its meeting Thursday night.
The Commission members who voted against the bins -- Sean Blake, Katherine Cimperman, Bruce Gamiere and Thomas Huth -- expressed concerns about Blue Water's accountability and the poorly graded charity to which it donates some of its money.
Blue Water representative Dominic Deluca told the Commission that the company donated money to the Childhood Disease Research Foundation.
"We are an arm (of CDRF) and we fundraise for them," he said initially.
When Blake asked Deluca if Blue Water was a 501(c)3 charity, Deluca said it was not.
"We're contracted to fundraise for them," Deluca said.
He added that Blue Water gives a percentage of the money it raises to Childhood Disease Research Foundation, though he did not know what that percentage was.
Huth asked Deluca questions regarding Childhood Disease Research Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 charity.
He asked if Deluca knew that CDRF received an "F" from CharityWatch; and, according to CharityWatch's August 2012 report, it only gave $2 of every $100 it raised to its nominal cause.
Deluca replied that he worked on the "operations" side of Blue Water and did not deal directly with the charity.
Commission members asked Assistant Law Director J. Peter Szeman if they should be concerned about the Childhood Disease Research Foundation.
"It's not our place to determine if they should be 501(c)3-qualified or not. That's up to the federal government," Szeman said.
Planning Commission Chairman Bill Snow, Nicholas Valeri and John Perkovich voted in favor of allowing the bins.
Snow said the role of the commission was not to judge a charity but to enforce the city's zoning code.
"As the law director indicated, it isn't a matter of us voting up or down on the nature of the charity," Snow said. "That's for the people doing the donating to consider."
However, Blake said he voted against the Blue Water bins because of zoning concerns.
He said that he did not think Blue Water would be accountable if there were a problem with the bins.
Blake noted that Blue Water Bin Management had a Cleveland address, but a Cincinnati headquarters and an Illinois phone number.
"They are an absolute ghost. when you google 'Blue Water' you get nothing," Blake said. "If something happens to their bins, we don't really have a good way of getting hold of them."
Also at the Planning Commission meeting:
- The Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Oriental Martial Arts Academy.
- The permit for the proposed Speedway service station on Heisley Road remained tabled.