If you've been thinking of moving in some of those small shipping containers for storage and you live or run a business inside the city of Grayson, you may want to reconsider. City Council took action last week to enter into the first reading of a planning and zoning ordinance that would limit use of small trailers and require those utilizing them for business storage to paint them to match their building or otherwise screen them from view.

The issue was brought to council by the city's planning and zoning commission. They explained that while the containers were intended to be used for temporary storage and shipping, because of their cheap price point they are now being purchased and used for permanent storage.

Currently the city has no code that can be enforced to limit their use, but the new ordinance would change that. The proposed changes to the zoning ordinance would include changes to article 17, stating that if you are using them for permanent storage they must be out of sight and screened from view. Other suggestions in the ordinance include provisions that would require them to be painted to match the building.

They aren't currently approved for use as a living space either, but with the growing popularity of the containers and the tiny home movement, the commission believes it is only a matter of time before someone tries to employ one or more of the containers for a residential use.

The ordinance would also require the containers to be up to the code established by the International Code Council if being used for training purposes.

The new ordinance would also forbid the use of quanset huts, the large domed tents that resemble old-fashioned airplane hangars, for retail business usage. Businesses that are already using the quanset huts, however, would likely be grandfathered in.

Council also moved to approve plumbing repairs to the Senior Citizens Building. The water bills for the location have recently doubled, but city crews have been unable to locate the leak. This could be, in part, because the lines serving the building have had concrete poured around them. Finding and fixing the existing leak would require tearing up and then replacing that concrete, leading to a very high cost. Instead the city has accepted a quote to completely redo the plumbing in the building at a cost of $2,000 to $2,500 plus the cost of any drywall repair.

The city also approved a motion to ask the Genesis Recovery program to pay rent on its use of the building at a reduced fee of $50. Current cost to rent the building for personal use is $75 per day.

In other action council moved to adopt an ordinance granting right-of-way for electrical lines to Kentucky Power and accepted department reports.

Alcohol beverage control officer Willis Johnson reported that he has accepted one new application for a new business. He also informed council of his plans to visit Somerset to see how they handle temporary outdoor alcohol sales for festivals.

The police department reported that they are expecting to receive the new vehicles they ordered before the month is out. The park department reported on continuing growth in restaurant tax revenue. The road department reported that they have begun blacktopping work and would be starting on sidewalk repairs this week.

The fire department, meanwhile, reported that they are already over their maintenance budget and still need more work done on their vehicles, though they don't yet have a dollar amount on those repairs.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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