MAPLETON – The township will review regulations on use of shipping containers and seacans on local properties as part of an upcoming housekeeping amendment to the local zoning bylaw.
Council discussed the issue following a report from chief building official Patty Wright during the April 13 meeting.
The current bylaw restricts the containers to storage uses on commercial, industrial or agricultural properties, with a limit of three per property, except for some temporary use provisions, when up to six are allowed.
Wright told council she felt the current bylaw was adequate to deal with the containers.
“I’m finding it’s fairly consistent, if not a little more liberal, than some of our neighbours,” she stated.
“We’re on par with Minto. North Perth would only permit one per property and they are not allowed on small acreages.”
She continued, “It’s kind of a complex issue because some bylaws are silent on it and they require you to get a building permit, engineer, and meet with all the other requirements of the zoning – that would be Wellington North.
“I think our bylaw is in pretty good shape seeing these containers can be unsightly in places if they not maintained and they become a property standards issue.
Some people love them some people hate them.”
Wright noted if council was interested in changing the bylaw immediately, the township would incur the costs of a zoning amendment, including public meetings and planning consultations.
Another option, she suggested, was to alter it as part of a housekeeping update to the zoning bylaw in the future.
Councillor Michael Martin said there is a case for relaxing restrictions.
“It would seem that it is the quote/unquote ‘unsightliness’ of the containers that’s the problem,” said Martin.
“I think if they’re placed appropriately or clad properly they can be quite useful.”
Martin said he doesn’t see why the containers couldn’t be treated like any other accessory structure.
“I think there could be some room for some modernization of this particular bylaw,” he stated.
Wright said council could consider requiring buffering or ensuring containers are located in rear or interior yards if they decide to relax restrictions.
She said she expected to have a comprehensive housekeeping review of the zoning bylaw in front of council by the end of the year.
“I wouldn’t think council would want to incur costs now, if we’re going to be doing a housekeeping bylaw at the end of the year,” said Mayor Gregg Davidson.
Councillor Marlene Ottens said, “This is brought up by councillor Martin, I’m assuming because … as I understand it, he has a desire to see these permitted in people’s backyards.
“So if we would change the bylaw at all … would they not adhere to current codes as far as lots size, accessory structure size that sort of thing because we don’t want these large structures in tiny backyards?”
Martin said he agreed with both Davidson and Ottens, and moved that council consider the matter as part of the next housekeeping review of the zoning bylaw.
Council approved the motion.