New rules for shipping containers approved
Okotoks: Businesses have year to comply with bylaw changes
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 06:00 am
Business owners have a year to bring shipping containers used for storage on their properties in Okotoks in line with new regulations approved by town council last week.
A series of amendments to the Town’s land use bylaw limit approved on July 15 regulate the use of the 20 to 40 foot long containers to certain areas in town, as well as setting new regulations about maintenance, paint jobs and where they can be placed on a property.
Okotoks Rentals owner Todd Reidlinger said he will abide by the new regulations, although he doesn’t expect to have to do much.
“I’ll definitely follow any guidelines they tell me, whether I have to put up screen fencing or something like that,” he said.
Reidlinger said he has always ensured the containers at his business aren’t an eyesore.
“We keep it neat and tidy just for that purpose of making our business look good,” he said.
However, Colleen Thome, Okotoks development officer, said permits won’t be required for existing containers as long as they’re brought up to the new standards in the next year.
“They won’t need to (obtain a development permit) provided they bring it in compliance and that’s only for those that we have an inventory of as of July 15,” she said.
A development permit will be needed for any new shipping containers in town.
Containers that won’t be allowed must be removed within six months.
The Town has compiled a list of 60 properties in Okotoks where containers are used.
Property owners on the list will receive a letter from the Town outlining the changes.
“We will be sending out the letters this week and more information will be available for property owners in the near future,” said Thome.
She said property owners can call the Town’s planning department to get more information about the changes.
The changes allow shipping containers as a discretionary use in all industrial areas and under three specific commercial zones – the central business district, highway commercial areas (which covers some lots along Southridge Drive) and gateway commercial areas, such as the Cornerstone commercial area. Containers will be permitted at any location in town on a temporary basis for buildings under construction or renovation.
The containers must positioned in either side or back yards and they cannot take up parking stalls. They would need to be clean, rust free and painted the same colour as the primary building and murals will be allowed. Any containers not meeting this requirement must be screened from roads and residential areas either by trees and vegetation or with the use of a screening fence. As well, containers cannot be used as a sign.
All references to shipping containers in residential areas have been removed from the land use bylaw and issues will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.