By Justin Seward
Cypress County council will continue their storage container regulation at a later date after passing a couple motions that were brought forth at their March 3 meeting.
The item came to council after the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) passed a motion at its February meeting for council to review the storage container regulation in hamlets after a Suffield resident had submitted an application to refinish and convert an existing 8 ft x 20 ft storage container in to a storage shed.
The storage container is currently classified in a Hamlet Residential District.
In the Land use Bylaw 2018/04, under Section 62 (6)- Storage Container Regulation it states that “storage container will not be allowed as either a permitted or discrentionary use in any of the hamlet residential districts.”
Deputy Reeve Richard Oster’s motion was to have no action and wanted the bylaw to stay the same.
Council however defeated the motion.
“I have the feeling they do not belong in a back yard,” said county Deputy Reeve Richard Oster.
“To allow them to move in just opens up a can of worms for Cypress County to control the finishing of them so they blend in with the neighbourhood and look acceptable. If someboduy gets a permit to build a garage or shed, they’re going to put shingles on the roof or metal. They’re going to protect the sides on it. You’re going to have a finished product on the outside.
“A sea can comes on the site, and they say I need a few months to get it done and that drags on. How do we enforce that? When we run out of patience, can we just legally go on their land and pull that sea can out of there? Or do we go to the courts and get all this legal stuff done? So all I’m saying is ‘just say no right off the bat and we don’t have those headaches.”
Jeffrey Dowling, the county’s director of municipal services, says the justification of the public having these storage containers is if the exterior can be modified to make it appear that it’s no longer a sea can and they are steel structures and provides longevity and durablity and they’e sealed up tight.
“Essentially the shell is a sea can but the outer appearance looks like any other permissable accessory building,” he said.
Coun. Dustin Vossler put another motuion forward for county staff to bring back more information on regulations to a further meeting
“The only reason I wanted them to bring it back because there is the opportunity for people to take and build different kind of structures out of storage containers. So you can build any houses, shops and not necessarily having a storage container sitting on your porperty for storing just material,” said Vossler.
“I ask them to bring it back with some reccomendations and the Municipal Planning Commission’s take on it.”
Vossler was asked if this could be an opportunity allow for the tiny homes movement where these homes are archictecturally and socially advocated for and classified under 400 square feet.
“If we do open up to allow for tiny homes there is quite a big movement right now on building tiny homes and building tiny homes out of sea cans,” said Vossler.
“It’s something new and coming. I feel as though we should have a look at it.”
Coun. Vossler’s reccomendation to direct administration to review and provide reccomendations for an amendment to Bylaw 2018-33 to move the fire restriction from March 1- Oct. 31 to April 1 to Oct. 31 each year was passed by council.