EagleHerald Staff Writer

Marinette—The City of Marinette Planning Commission discussed Wednesday the use of industrial cargo containers as storage units or sheds in residentially-zoned areas of the city.

City Building Inspector Curt Demlow said there are multiple residences in the city that have large, industrial-type cargo containers in their yard, which are being used as sheds.

He has also received numerous inquieries from residents who are interested in having such storage containers on their own property. Demlow said the city should come up with some rules about these containers, as he does not believe they are appropriate for residentially-zoned districts.

“We’ve been getting some questions as to whether we would allow those (cargo containers) and we’ve had people just putting them in residential zones as sheds without permits. They say ‘oh it’s just temporary,’ but in my opinion that’s an industrial look, it’s an industrial use, there is no logical reason for it be in a residential area,” Demlow said.

Multiple commission members agreed.

Alderperson Jeffery Skorik said these storage containers are also subject to corrosion and can be used as a way to circumvent building permits.

“If they want a garage, they could put one in their yard and cut the side out, I think it’s a slippery slope,” he said.

Commissioner Steve Lang asked if there could be exceptions for people who are using the containers as temporary storage units and not as a permanent structure in their yard. He offered the example of a family going through an interior remodeling and they need somewhere to put their belongings while the project is being completed.

“There would be some provisions for those types of situations and there would be timelines associated with them,” Demlow said.

City Attorney Bob Gagan said he and Demlow would work together to create an ordinance on this issue and bring it back for further review.

The council also discussed language updates to its current ordinance dictating how long political signs can remain up before and after elections so the city ordinance is in compliance with the state ordinance.

In another matter, the planning commission also reccomended the approval of a proposed plan to build a new building at Tyco Fire Products LP on Stanton Street.

The building would replace a current trailer that is used to pump contaminants from the ground. The new building would provide a better structure for such a task.

“What we’re proposing is a solid-extraction building,” said Kevin King of VJS Construction Services, Pewaukee, Wis. He explained that JCI/ Tyco wants the extraction equipment inside a building, which would also hold tanks to store groundwater contaminants extracted from the ground.

He also affirmed the building would be secure and would prevent further contamination. “If there were a leak of any kind, it would be contained within the building,” King said.

The commission voted unanimously to recommend approving this project to the common council.