The City Council recently approved some amendments to the city zoning code concerning portable storage and refuse containers, street parking, driveway composition and the number of structures on properties.
The amendments were presented to the council at its March 22 meeting by City Planner Brad Bates, who noted that the Planning Commission had approved the changes earlier in the month.
The changes limit how long portable storage containers and roll-off refuse containers can be on a property to 30 consecutive days.
They also indicate that portable storage containers cannot exceed 10 feet wide by 10 feet high by 20 feet long and that roll-off refuse containers can’t exceed 30 cubic yards in capacity.
Exceptions are made if the container is related to construction activities for which an active building permit is issued and in force by the city, the amendment states.
“Our Code Enforcement Department gets regular complaints throughout the year about the location of them and the length that they are there,” Bates said.
“Sometimes people are demo’ing a house, and they have a roll-off for months on end there and have it dumped periodically.
“The same is true with the PODS and the length that sometimes people have them there when preparing to move,” he added.
The zoning code also was updated to reflect that driveways must be composed of asphalt or concrete, not simply a gravel composition with a binding material.
Bates said officials have been discussing this change for a while but that it’s really geared toward new construction, not existing driveways.
“Existing driveways will be allowed to remain as is and run with the property for the rest of time,” he said. “There is no sunset clause that requires citizens to bring existing driveways up to code.”
Another amendment directs that commercial vehicles must be parked on a “space or lot constructed of an all-weather material intended and reserved for the parking of an automobile.”
Bates said this change is simply about saying that commercial vehicles cannot be parked on the street or in yards.
If residents have too many vehicles for their driveways or parking areas, a private vehicle should be the one to be parked in the street.
The final zoning code change is in regard to accessory structures on a homeowner’s property.
Previously, the number of structures allowed was governed solely by a formula that took into consideration the square footage of the residence.
The change limits the number of accessory structures to three in all instances, Bates said.
However, the previous formula is still in effect, as well, meaning that even three structures could be considered in excess of the allowable collective square footage, he said.
“A lot of these (changes) are about improving enforcement capabilities,” Bates said.
He said the Board of Adjustment “had suggested we look at amending the code to deal with the number of buildings on a property as a standard to go by.”
“They were getting a lot of applications where people were asking for a third or fourth structure that put them over the allowed size requirement,” he said. “They wanted something that they could point back to and say, ‘You are beyond the threshold set by the city.’”
The changes to the zoning code will go into effect at the end of April.