Is your shipping container hot enough for Callander?

·4 min read

Callander is working on some by-law modifications to address storage containers and temporary shelters within the municipality. The idea is to “regulate the appearance” of them to maintain a pleasant visual image for the town.

Shipping containers and other forms of temporary storage are not the most eye-catching, and many residents have complained to town hall “regarding the visual impact of storage containers,” staff detailed to council, “especially within our urban area.”

Potential eyesores do not mesh well with the municipality’s latest strategic plan, which aims for the region to be “a picturesque, clean, and well-kept community that operates as a tourism destination in all four seasons.”

To help achieve this vision, Callander plans “to regulate the placement and aesthetics” of storage containers and other temporary shelters. The issue was raised this past summer, when staff brought a report on the topic to council on July 20th.

That report mentioned the complaints about containers, and suggested a review of the current by-laws, and that city council create a separate by-law to specifically regulate these containers, “more notably those within the urban area.”

“Shielding the containers and structures from street view was the primary focus,” of that July report, staff noted. Since then, staff have been reviewing similar by-laws within other municipalities, and have come to recommend that Callander consider two main points to include in such a by-law.

See: Callander sends shipping containers back to the drawing board

First, a zoning by-law amendment would add “new enforcement language” that specifically “regulates storage containers and temporary shelters.” The second addition would entail “adding language within the Community Standards by-law and/or Property Standard by-law to deal with the aesthetics” of the containers.

“Shipping containers and temporary shelters are unsightly and have an industrial-like appearance that is not compatible with Callander’s vision,” staff mentioned in a report to council.

A few ideas the council is considering are to require building permits for storage containers and consider them a permanent structure upon one’s land. Nobody can live in your storage container either, “unless converted under and compliant with the Building Code.”

Containers will not be allowed to be used for the purpose of advertising or display and can only be located on a property as an outbuilding, so the property must have another building already standing upon it.

See: Use of travel trailers and storage containers may face regulation in Sundridge

Those are some of the general provisions being considered. Things get more specific as we enter the various zones within the municipality. For those in the urban residential areas, including the urban waterfront, containers “must be sided and aesthetically pleasing,” and must comply with accessory structure regulations laid out in the zoning by-law.

For the rural residential zone dwellers, the container “does not need to be sided if it can be appropriately shielded from view of the street and neighbouring properties,” by a fence or some bushes. Rear yard only for these containers, and only one allowed per acre, with a maximum of two, regardless of how large your land hold.

If you have less than one acre in your rural residential zone, the storage container must be sided and treated as an accessory structure.

What goes for commercial and industrial? For commercial zones, containers must be in the rear yard and sheltered from view from other properties, and “cannot be used for the purpose of self-storage unless sided.”

There is a maximum of one per acre, and no more than two per property. As for the industrial, containers must be 30 meters from the road, and one is allowed per acre with a maximum of four per property. They must be in the rear or side yard and hidden from view, and just as in the commercial zone, cannot be used for self-storage unless sided.

See: Second Almaguin community to consider restricting sea containers

Staff also noted that people who currently have storage containers will have “nearly two years” to bring them into compliance with the new by-laws and are considering reaching out directly to those residents in the upcoming months to inform them of any changes.

None of this is written in stone yet. Since proposed changes involve zoning amendments, a public meeting will be held at an upcoming date to allow residents to voice their views. After the consultation, the issue will return to council with specific recommendations for the by-law.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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