New Ordinance Regulates Use of Metal Shipping Containers

Metal shipping containers like these that are already in place will be allowed to remain. No add...

Metal shipping containers like these that are already in place will be allowed to remain. No additional containers will be allowed in Menifee.
An issue that has been discussed by city officials for five years was resolved in the July 30 Menifee City Council meeting when council members unanimously approved an ordinance regulating metal shipping containers within the city limits.

This ordinance pertains to the large shipping containers that often are loaded onto ships to transport items. They often are eight feet high, eight feet wide, and may be as long as 40 feet. There are an estimated 15,000 such shipping containers being used by residents in Menifee for storage, mostly on larger lots.

The ordinance represents a compromise of sorts as a result of discussions between council members, a recommendation of the Planning Commission and the work of an ad hoc committee. After hearing input from all parties, including a public hearing on July 30, the council adopted an ordinance which states, in part:

-- All existing metal shipping containers placed on residential properties within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance will be allowed to remain.

-- No additional shipping containers will be allowed in the city.

-- Shipping containers may be used for personal storage or for keeping materials used in a particular trade.

-- Containers located within 300 feet of a public right-of-way must be screened from view.

-- Containers must be kept in good condition and may not be connected to utilities.

-- Size of the container may not exceed 8x8x40 feet.

Previous discussion of eliminating existing shipping containers led to objections from the public. As a result, an ad hoc committee was formed consisting of council member Greg August, resident Roxann Thompson and Mike Machado, a consultant who advises rural residents on such issues.

The ordinance will be brought forward for a second reading and adoption on Aug. 6.

Council member John Denver, who was in favor of eliminating or reducing the number of existing shipping containers, agreed to join August, Wallace Edgerton and Mayor Scott Mann in voting to approve the ordinance. Council member Tom Fuhrman was absent while recovering from injuries sustained in a fall on his ranch.

"While this is half a loaf, I will vote for this because it's better than what we have," Denver said.

Thompson thanked the council for considering input from residents in making the decision.

"Many of us believe that being part of the process is crucial," she said. "Everybody we've approached about this has felt we've come up with a much better solution."

Owners of existing shipping containers will be required to provide written notification of this to the city within a year of the ordinance going into effect. There is no registration fee.