County news # 2The Marshall County Commissioners conducted a public hearing during their meeting on Monday to consider amending the current ordinance pertaining to Development Standards and Accessory Structures.

The County Plan Commission voted to prohibit the use of shipping containers as storage units.  County Plan Director Ty Adley presented the amendment to the commissioners and said this amendment is just clarification that shipping containers are not permitted within Marshall County as an acceptable means of storage.  He said some individuals consider shipping containers to be accessory structures where we consider them to be part of the transportation business.

Adley said they had several conversations with members of the public who had shipping containers on their property.  So for everyone’s clarification this amendment will add the shipping containers to list of items that are not considered accessory uses.  The shipping containers were added to a list which includes mobile homes, manufactured homes, construction trailers, recreational vehicles and semi-trailers.

During the Public Hearing, John Grolich, President of the County Fire Association told the commissioners that there are several fired departments in the county that are offered shipping containers free of charge for storage and training.  He asked that the ordinance specify that emergency services such as fire department can have them.  He went on to say that departments are struggling with funding and can’t always afford to purchase a storage unit for all the equipment they have.

Commissioners Overmyer asked if the Plymouth Fire Department had a shipping container training facility and Grolich confirmed and added that they also have two shipping containers at the site for storage.

Commissioners Stan Klotz who sits on the Plan Commission said the intention of this amendment is not to restrict this kind of use but to restrict people bringing them in and dropping one next to their house.

Adley said he would consider the fire department training facility as would be considered a piece of equipment.

Commissioner Overmyer was concerned on having to interpret the intent and felt it should be spelled out.  He said you don’t want to make exceptions without having it in the ordinance.  Overmyer suggested sending it back to the Plan Commission for further review and consideration.

The County Building Commissioner spoke during the public hearing and said, “A shipping container is a shipping container, that’s what is it made for.  It has no use for storing anything.  It does not meet any building codes.  It does not protect anyone who enters that building or anything inside it.  I say, get rid of them, no exception.”

The amendment was sent back to the Plan Commission for further consideration.

The second ordinance up for consideration was second reading of the Solar Farm amendments.  The commissioners made several recommendations following the first reading.  While Adley said they were approved by the Plan Commission, the County Attorney had not seen the ordinance amendments.  Commissioner Stan Klotz said, “I’m not comfortable making a decision until the attorney has time to review and interpret the changes.”

The commissioners tabled action until their January 4th meeting.