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Thread: Zoning to control shipping containers/pods

  1. #1

    Zoning to control shipping containers/pods

    Our City Administrators have asked me to prepare draft zoning rules to prohibit or regulate the placement of shipping containers near big box stores (somewith names that start with a "W.") Their preference is to prohibit them completely. The biggest issue is aesthetics, but I also want to look at how text on the signs might be regulated as a sign.

    I'd appreciate any feedback I can get on what has been successful and unsuccessful in your community.



  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
    Sep 2001
    skating on thin ice
    Except within any Industrial, Rural or Highway Commercial zone, no vehicle body or trailer shall be used as a building or for storage, and then only in conformity with the provisions for buildings, structures and accessory buildings.

    This is the provison from my old community. You could adapt it to exclude or include other zones or limit their use during the zoning amendment process. This provison held up in court when someone placed a trailer body in a "General Commercial" zone.

    As for trailers being signs, this is one of the hardest things to effectivley regulate.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Dec 2001
    West Valley, AZ
    you'll see at least two old threads related to this question.
    we allow a limit of 1 week for pods/shipping containers on residential property, on paved surface. The container must be one designed for consumer and/or residential use.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  4. #4

    Shipping Containers

    We recently went through this issue. A couple of years ago the City passed an outright ban on these "freight containers". This has since been deemed too restrictive and we were directed to come up with new regulations allowing them. In comparison with other cities, the regulations are all over the place, but in summary here were the different ways they were treated (at least in the cities we looked at):

    1. Treat them as a structure under the building code; require building permits, etc. (this is what we chose to do)

    2. Treat them as outdoor storage

    3. Prohibit them

    4. No specific regulation of these (in most of the places we talked to, this just means they allow them with no restrictions, although others interpreted their ordinance to mean any of the three choices above).

    Because treating these as structures under the building code created many problems (required ventilation, ADA-compatible doors, lighting/electrical requirements, etc.), our solution was to classify them as "temporary structures" regardless of the length of time they are present on the site. Under our building code, that eliminated or reduced many of the requirements. However, a building permit and inspections are still required, providing something of a disincentive to using these.

    A few more requirements we imposed:
    - Only allowed in Industrial and most Commercial districts
    - In Commercial districts, the containers are only allowed in the rear and must be the same color as the principal building
    - Must be screened from the ROW and from less intensive districts with a continuous hedge and trees at 20' intervals (fencing is allowed as an alternative where landscaping is impractical)
    - Finally, the container can't have any advertising or signs, other than incidental labeling

    This ordinance is fairly onerous, but that was by design as a compromise to those who wanted to prohibit them completely (i.e., allow them but make it difficult to meet all of the requirements).

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