Most cities have bans on portable storage containers inhabiting commercial zones. These steel boxes may be allowed in commercial areas in the city of Ephrata, Washington.
Wal-Mart and American Legion Lead the Way
This change was prompted by a request from Wal-Mart and the American Legion to allow boxes in the area. Wal-Mart needed to use the modular units during the extra busy rush of the holiday season. The officials of Ephrata city were accommodating to Wal-Mart, and the units are now removed.
The American Legion has had a box posted near its headquarters since the early 2000’s, and it contains flags, medical equipment, and other important objects. The unit cost the company $2,400. Mike Montaney, the Legion Post of Ephrata, said that using an alternate method of storage would be a costly swap amounting to $10,000. Montaney furthered this point by stating that the money to make up the cost would detract from community programs.
Easy and Accessible
These types of units are a positive asset to companies because they are economical and relatively easy to obtain. The units are also very secure and have a reliable locking mechanism.
There are almost no cities in Washington that allow containers in residential zones.
The major downside to units in commercial areas is their aesthetic effect on the area. City inhabitants do not want to see the boxes while they go about their lives. The boxes also pose a safety hazard if the area floods, because they would float and possibly cause damage.
The city council of Ephrata is currently in conversation about changing the present ordinance. The staff is looking at law models and how they would affect city areas. One council-member, Kathleen Allsot, said the city should set a maximum number of storage containers allowed on one property. As long as there is balance in the number of units, these boxes could be a helpful and productive addition to the city.