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‘Spot zoning’ ban delays container home proposal

Staff writer

Developers have submitted a request to rezone a Marion lot to allow construction of a container home, but their application was improper because it would have resulted in “spot zoning.”

Planners initially heard last week from owners of Elite Container Homes, who want to build a shipping container house at 201 N. Freeborn St.

Felix Ramirez and partner Dustin Burke showed planners drawings of the sort of home they said they wanted to build.

Zoning chairman Darvin Markley told planners before Ramirez and Burke made their presentation they should not speak in favor of or against the developers’ idea because no application had been filed.

Planners did have questions, however.

Bruce Skiles asked whether new or used containers would be used.

“Brand new,” Ramirez said, later admitting that “new” meant having been used only once to carry transoceanic cargo.

“Will these meet HUD specifications?” Markley asked.

“Yes,” Ramirez answered.

Skiles said that many container homes had been installed in recent years in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

“They look nice,” Skiles said.

Shipping containers have been used to make apartments, dormitories, and houses, Ramirez said.

The lot at 201 N. Freeborn St. is “kind of parkish,” Burke said.

“We think it would fit right in,” he added.

Burke said container buildings attracted younger families.

“If you guys think you want to do this, you need to get with (zoning secretary) Margo (Yates) and put in an application,” Markley said.

The men did submit a rezoning application and asked for a hearing, but the application for rezoning must be changed because zoning is done by larger area, not by individual lots.

Ramirez owns three container homes in Hillsboro. They are rented as guest houses. He also owns land north of 3rd St. where he plans to build several container homes.

Hillsboro modified its zoning regulations a year ago to permit alternative-construction homes, but Ramirez has not returned to Hillsboro planners with an application.

He said last week that he still planned to build in Hillsboro.

Last modified May 3, 2023

 

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