St. Charles Planning & Zoning Commission green lights homes made out of shipping containers

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ST. CHARLES, MO (KPLR) – Zak Smithey has photographs of the home made out of shipping containers he and his wife are building at 3416 Elm Street.  They both attended a St. Charles Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing Monday night where commission members chose not to recommend to the city council restrictions on future construction of shipping container structures.

A measure before the planning and zoning commission would have recommended the city council restrict construction of such facilities to areas where mobile homes are located.

Planning and zoning commission member Steve Hollander acknowledged to his fellow board members that he is the architect of the Smithey’s home.

Hollander said, “Every time we start limiting people's freedom and individuality I start to cringe.  I'll drive through the new subdivisions.  They’re all nice houses, as a stand-alone.  But when you see six of them in a row, that's just not my kind of neighborhood.”

Smithey told the commission members, “Safety and code issues, structural issues... sure.  But I'm following all safety and code issues.  And as he said it's a very unique house, but I think that's part of what St. Charles is-- a culmination of unique houses.”

Mary Klinghammer also spoke in support of shipping container homes.

“It's a great solution for economics; it's great for the environment,” said Klinghammer.  “There are a lot of reasons to be in favor of container houses.”

Commission member and real estate agent Cort Schneider said, “In the areas where this is even possible, I don't see it impacting property values whether good or bad.  I just think it's unique and different.”

Commission member John Feldt said, “I think a lot of times when you think of this you think of the unfinished container.  But if you Google these type of buildings and you see the finished product, some of them are spectacular and very nice-looking too.”

No one spoke out in opposition to homes made out of shipping containers.

A second public hearing is scheduled before the St. Charles City Council July 5.

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