City may regulate use of cargo containers as accessory buildings; public hearing

Cargo containers at Kustom Container, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2013 | Photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The constant need for storage and shipping has kept the residential demand for large cargo containers consistent, but the City of St. George is considering adding a regulation to its zoning code which could impact how these containers may be used as accessory buildings.

Approximately 17 million cargo containers are scattered throughout the world; and stretching as long as 53 feet, and weighing over 10 thousand pounds empty, they are not easy to hide.

The popularity of these containers has grown in the construction industry where temporary, secure storage is necessary at many ongoing building sites. But, the usefulness and versatility of these containers has fueled their proliferation throughout residential areas as well, both above ground and sometimes below.

“A 10-year-old shipping container that has been refurbished or is brand new looks twice as good as a 10-year-old shed with paint falling off, warped boards, and the asphalt shingles falling off,” Scott Roper, Owner of Kustom Containers, said. “They are just too useful. You can’t match it with anything else.”

Well placed and properly maintained, shipping containers are far more secure than traditional sheds, lock out a myriad of pests that get into typical storage units, and are mobile enough to even help with disaster relief in suburban areas.

Despite the growing popularity, some residents are not as excited about the residential use of these containers, and the impact they have on the aesthetics of the area.

On Tuesday, the St. George Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing to consider a request that the city’s zoning code be amended to regulate the use of cargo containers as accessory buildings.

Roper said that even though it appears to be a yes-or-no issue, there are ways to compromise. Owners of containers might be required to maintain certain aesthetics through painting, location, size, and other attributes to minimize the visibility of the containers, and hopefully make both sides happy.

The planning commission is a recommending body. At this point in the process no final, law-making decision is being made. The process goes through several stages. Therefore, this early in the process is a good time for members of the community to get involved with issues that matter to them.

“Formally, the city does not yet have a position on the issue” Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, said. “But the public is welcome to participate and become educated on the topic.”

City representatives encourage people to be involved, express interests and concerns, and be aware of local changes. The planning commission meets twice a month, on the second and fourth Tuesdays each month starting at 5 p.m. at the City Office Building unless otherwise noticed.

“As always, the purpose of the process is to involve the public,” Mortensen said. “We encourage people to get involved on the topics important to them.”

Residents are also invited to submit written comments to the planning commission prior to the public hear.


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Event recap

What:  Public Hearing, City of St. George Planning Commission

When:  Tuesday, May 14,  5 p.m.

Where:  St. George City Hall Council Chambers, 175 East and 200 North


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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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