Bylaws to say bye-bye to residential shipping containers

The District of 100 Mile House bylaws for shipping containers located on residential properties are up for changes

The District of 100 Mile House bylaws for shipping containers located on residential properties are up for changes after being scrutinized at council’s Committee of the Whole meeting of Jan. 24.

Council discussed a report prepared by district planner Joanne Doddridge on research she gathered as a result of “more and more” residents asking if shipping containers are permitted for storage use.

“About a year ago, we did a bylaw amendment to restrict their use for residential uses and residential buildings, but our bylaws are otherwise silent on whether shipping containers are permitted or not.”

Any issues with their use mostly stem from the unsightly nature of the containers, she noted.

“There’s a lot of controversy in different municipalities about them. Some people think they are eye-sores, and some people think they are functional.”

Staff had asked council for direction on if, where and under what circumstances containers might be allowed within the district limits to prepare any necessary bylaws, she said.

Mitch Campsall was absent for the meeting, and acting Mayor Dave Mingo wanted to know what other municipalities are doing, and what the building code reflects.

The district doesn’t currently allow them for structural use, she replied, but this is not mandated by the province.

“Shipping containers are not regulated by the B.C. Building Code or by any other known standard.”

While many other municipalities studied allow their use, she explained most don’t allow the containers in residential areas, except for temporary use as short-term storage of tools and materials for construction work performed in conjunction with a building permit.

Doddridge noted the containers are often utilized for secure storage of ATV’s, motorcycles and other larger items.

“Some people are really advocating for their use because they’re inexpensive, and they’re reasonably portable.”

Others prefer to see a container rather than “a yard full of junk,” she added.

Coun. Bill Hadden said homeowners should not be faced with shipping containers adjacent to their properties, but in commercial areas they can “work very well,” especially in longer-term construction zones.

Mingo concurred, saying he was not in favour of containers in a residential setting, but did approve of their use in construction and industrial area.

Coun. Spence Henderson said Doddridge’s example of a 30-day permit for regular residential storage (such as moving), with a 30-day potential extension, seemed “plenty,” with perhaps a longer timeline for construction storage.

Mingo pointed out that even for building a house, 60 days seemed adequate for tool storage during construction.

Council agreed it could potentially allow container use with adequate screening installed in non-residential development permit areas, and that in industrial areas they were not a problem.

Councillors moved to request staff draw a bylaw amendment for their review and consideration.