§ 156.026  CARGO CONTAINERS.
   (A)   Statement of purpose.  This section regulates use of cargo containers (as defined in § 156.003, Definitions) throughout the city. Cargo containers, their use and related facilities are intended to meet the following purposes:
      (1)   To provide for safe and orderly storage, staging and maintenance of cargo containers in a manner that minimizes the noise, dust, traffic congestion, aesthetic blight, and other adverse environmental impacts of their use upon the surrounding area;
      (2)   To ensure that cargo container facilities are operated in a safe manner, based upon such factors as permitted height of such containers, contents stored within the containers, location of containers stored upon a lot, and methods of screening so as to prevent safety hazards and maintain accessibility for emergency and maintenance equipment;
      (3)   To ensure adequate visual screening and landscaping of cargo containers from the public right-of-way and adjacent properties is provided; and
      (4)   To ensure that the site is of sufficient size to accommodate safe storage of cargo containers.
   (B)   Permitted use.  Cargo containers shall be permitted only in zoning districts and used as follows.
      (1)   Cargo containers shall be permitted in the M-1 Limited Manufacturing and M-2 General Manufacturing Zoning Districts.
      (2)   Cargo containers may be used as a temporary use in any nonresidential zoning district, when accessory to a construction project or accessory to a move, provided they meet the requirements of this chapter.
      (3)   Cargo containers shall be permitted at government buildings or facilities, when used for the purposes of temporary storage of electronic recyclable materials, collected as part of a recycling program administered by the city, and meeting the requirements established in this section.
      (4)   Cargo containers shall be permitted when accessory to agricultural production by an active farmer or for hydroponic farming.
      (5)   Cargo containers shall be permitted on a commercial property owned by the city for the purpose of facilitating innovative uses of cargo containers for hydroponic farming and/or retail start-up businesses.
      (6)   Container modifications.
         (a)   Cargo containers may not be modified or retrofitted for habitation, except as specified in division (B)(6)(b) below. Containers shall be prohibited from having windows, heating and cooling, plumbing or multiple entrances. Cargo containers are allowed to have electric and ventilation systems installed that would be necessary to meet the minimum codes and standards for lighting and air circulation for storage purposes.
         (b)   Cargo containers may be approved in nonresidential zoning districts by the Zoning Administrator for innovative uses such as hydroponic fanning, retail spaces, entertainment uses, or temporary and start-up businesses. In such cases, the cargo containers shall meet applicable zoning, building and design standards.
   (C)   General regulations.  Use of cargo containers shall be in keeping with the following regulations.
      (1)   Materials stored.  Materials stored in cargo containers shall not include any material deemed hazardous, as defined by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, unless otherwise approved by the Fire District. All materials stored shall be consistent with a permitted use on the zoning lot upon which the container is stored.
      (2)   Containers stored on a zoning lot shall be accessory to an established permitted use on the zoning lot, and shall be operated and maintained under the same ownership as the use.
      (3)   Cargo containers shall not be used for the purposes of conducting business or selling merchandise, except as may be approved in division (B)(6)(b).
      (4)   Bulk and lot regulations.
         (a)   Prohibited locations.  Cargo containers shall not be located in required front or corner side yards. Containers should not be located closer to the front or corner side lot lines than the principal building(s) on the zoning lot.
         (b)   Setbacks. Containers shall not be located on or over property lines. Cargo container maintenance and storage facilities shall adhere to district setbacks, except that stacked containers shall increase all setbacks by 30 feet for each additional stacked level.
         (c)   Minimum lot size. There shall be no minimum lot size requirement for containers regulated in this section, except cargo container maintenance or storage facilities shall have a minimum lot size of 20 acres.
      (5)   Stacking. Stacking of cargo containers shall be prohibited, except in cargo container maintenance or storage facilities, provided they are not stacked more than three units high. Cargo containers on an approved mixed-use commercial property owned by the city, for the purpose of facilitating innovative uses of cargo containers for hydroponic farming and/or retail start-up businesses, shall be exempted from the stacking prohibition.
      (6)   Grouping requirements.  No side-by-side grouping shall exceed 20 containers in width, and no end-to-end grouping shall exceed two containers in length. The interiors of all containers in a grouping shall be accessible from the outside of the grouping.
      (7)   Number of containers.  There is no limit on the number of containers stored on a zoning lot, except in the M-1 Zoning District, the combined floor area of all containers on the zoning lot shall be less than 500 square feet. Owners of M-1-zoned properties, or their agents, requesting 500 or more square feet of combined floor area shall apply for a special use permit for open storage.
      (8)   Separation distance.  Cargo containers used or stored as part of a maintenance or storage facility shall be a minimum of 1,000 feet from any property zoned or used for residential land uses, nor shall they be closer than 30 feet to any existing structure or building.
      (9)   Access.  Based on the number of containers and location on a site, the city and/or the Fire District may require an access drive around the containers. Cargo containers may not be stored in a manner that blocks access to adjacent structures, buildings, public rights-of-way, public utility or drainage easements, or the container's interior.
      (10)   Prohibited locations. Containers may not be located in required landscape areas, public utility or drainage easements, required off-street parking or loading/unloading areas, or any other location that may cause hazardous conditions, constitute a threat to public safety, or create a condition detrimental to surrounding land uses. The placement of a container on a property should be so as not to impede Fire District access or operations.
      (11)   Landscaping and screening.  Cargo container maintenance and storage facilities shall provide a minimum 100-foot-wide screening buffer around the entire facility. Refer to § 153.50.120 of the development code for transition yard screening requirements, except that the berm should contain a 3:1 slope to a minimum height of 15 feet, and the amount of required plantings should be doubled.
   (D)   Additional standards.  In addition to the standards set forth in this section, cargo containers not part of a maintenance or storage facility shall comply with the following standards.
      (1)   In the M-1 Zoning District, containers shall be fully screened from public rights-of-way and adjacent properties. Permitted forms of screening are permanent enclosures, using brick, stone or similar material; permanent fence or wall; landscaping and berming; or any combination thereof. Chain-link fencing shall not to be used for required screening. Containers are to be placed on the lot in a manner that minimizes their visual impact on adjacent properties.
      (2)   In the M-2 Zoning District, containers shall be fully screened from public rights-of-way. Permitted forms of screening are permanent enclosures using brick, stone or similar material; permanent fence or wall; landscaping and berming; or any combination thereof. Chain-link fencing shall not to be used for required screening. Containers are to be placed on the lot in a manner that minimizes their visual impact on adjacent properties.
      (3)   Containers used at electronic recycling facilities operated by the city, and containers used in support of agricultural production by an active farmer, are to be painted a neutral color or, if the container is near a building wall or structure, it should be painted to match, as nearly as possible, the predominate color of that structure. Permanent enclosures using brick, stone or similar material; permanent fence or wall; and/or landscaping and berming may be used. Containers are to be placed on the lot in a manner that minimizes their visual impact on adjacent properties.
      (4)   Maintenance.  All cargo containers and any form of cargo container screening shall be maintained in a like-new condition, shall be safe, structurally sound, stable, and in good repair. Any visible sign of deterioration, including but not limited to, broken elements, peeling paint, or rust, shall not be permitted.
      (5)   Historically-sensitive sites, buildings or structures.  Cargo containers shall not be visible from any site designated or identified as a local or national historic landmark or natural area. This includes significant vegetative features, stream and creek corridors, buildings, sites, structures and/or identified viewsheds of historic and/or cultural significance. Cargo containers on an approved mixed-use commercial property owned by the city, for the purpose of facilitating innovative uses of cargo containers for hydroponic farming and/or retail start-up businesses, shall be exempted from this provision.
      (6)   Environmentally-sensitive lands.  Cargo containers may not be stored closer than 1,000 feet to any existing, inventoried wetland or identified floodplain or floodway.
      (7)   Signage.
         (a)   Containers used as part of a city recycling program, or used in support of active farming, are prohibited from having signage. Cargo containers on an approved commercial property owned by the city, for the purpose of facilitating innovative uses of cargo containers for hydroponic farming and/or retail start-up businesses, shall be exempted from this provision.
         (b)   Containers for all other uses regulated by this section shall have no signage other than company identification and logos, provided the signage is not affixed to the container.
      (8)   Placarding requirement.  Containers storing chemicals or other flammable liquids or gases are to be placarded per NFPA 704.
      (9)   Plans required.  Permit requests for cargo containers shall be subject to site plan review by and approval by the Zoning Administrator. Applicants for special use permits for container facilities must submit a site plan, landscape plan and lighting plan for city review.
      (10)   Additional standards.  During plan review, the city and/or Fire Prevention District may place additional or more restrictive conditions on the approval, including but not limited to, painting the containers to match building(s) on the property, location on the property, and limiting the number of containers in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.
      (11)   Fire District review and permitting. Conformance to all fire codes shall be required. All requests for containers will be subject to review by the regulating Fire Prevention District. An inspection is to be conducted by the Fire District after the container is loaded. If chemicals or other flammable liquids and gases are to be stored in a container, a permit shall be obtained from the Fire District.
   (E)   Temporary use of cargo containers.  Temporary use of cargo containers shall be allowed only as follows.
      (1)   Temporary use of cargo containers shall not require a permit from the city.
      (2)   Temporary use of cargo containers shall not be permitted in residential zoning districts.
      (3)   Cargo containers used in any nonresidential zoning district for temporary storage of construction materials and/or equipment used for a construction or remodeling project may be located on the property for the duration of the construction or remodeling project, provided the project is duly proceeding toward completion. Containers are to be removed upon expiration or lapse of a permit on the project, upon completion of the project, or upon issuance of the last certificate of occupancy, whichever occurs first.
      (4)   Time extension.  In the event of fire, tornado or other natural disaster causing substantial damage to the principal structure, a property owner may request a time extension to the above-stated time limits.
      (5)   Permitted locations.
         (a)   Cargo containers must be located upon the lot in which the remodeling project, construction project, or move is taking place.
         (b)   Yard requirements are identified in § 156.023. As an exception, the Zoning Administrator may permit the container in front or corner side yards, upon determining the lot affords no alternate location, and the location will not be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the community.
         (c)   All cargo containers regulated in this section shall be stored completely within the property lines of the subject property, and shall not be placed on any public right-of-way or public property. Containers shall not be placed in such a fashion as to impede or obstruct the flow of drainage waters, nor impede or obstruct emergency access to the property, or access to utility services or shut-offs. Units shall not be located within a vision triangle, nor impair public safety by interfering and obstructing the vision of persons using the streets, sidewalks or driveways on or adjacent to the property. The placement of a container on a property should be so as not to impede Fire District access or operations. The container should be placed on the lot so as to minimize the visual impact from adjacent properties and rights-of-way. Additionally, in nonresidential districts, the storage container shall not occupy off-street parking spaces required per the provisions of § 156.102, Schedule of Parking Requirements.
      (6)   Prohibited uses of containers.  Units shall not be used for occupancy or sleeping, housing of animals, housing or storage of firearms, housing or storage of hazardous, flammable or toxic materials, or storage of materials otherwise unlawful to possess (e.g., fireworks).
      (7)   Condition of units.  All cargo containers shall be maintained in a like-new condition, shall be safe, structurally sound, stable and in good repair. Any visible sign of deterioration, including but not limited to, broken elements, peeling paint, or rust, shall not be permitted.
      (8)   Number of units.  In nonresidential districts, each business shall not use more than two storage containers when used accessory to a move. On properties exceeding five acres, the number of storage containers may be increased with permission from the city.
      (9)   Surfacing.  Containers shall not be located on landscaped or unimproved surfaces, except when approved by the city for construction projects.
      (10)   Signage.
         (a)   No signage other than company identification and logos shall be allowed on any cargo container, provided the signage is not affixed to the container.
         (b)   Containers approved by the Fire District to store chemicals or other flammable liquids or gases shall be placarded per NFPA 704.
      (11)   Containers in the Historic District.  Containers located in the Historic District are subject to review and approval by the Heritage and Architecture Commission. Such containers shall be screened from public view to the greatest extent possible. The Commission may place conditions on the approval to protect viewsheds, the safety and the integrity of the Historic District. Certain properties may be denied approval for reasons that include, but are not limited to, location, the estimated duration of the construction project, the visibility of the cargo container from rights-of-way and adjacent properties, lot size, and the location impeding vehicular or pedestrian circulation.
      (12)   Moving purposes.  Each individual business shall not locate a cargo container on the lot more than two times per calendar year, for a time frame not to exceed 16 consecutive days each time.
      (13)   Fire District review and permitting. Conformance to all fire codes shall be required. All requests for containers will be subject to review by the regulating Fire Prevention District. An inspection is to be conducted by the Fire District after the container is loaded. If chemicals or other flammable liquids and gases are to be stored in a container, a separate permit shall be obtained from the Fire District. The Fire District may impose conditions or restrictions to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.
(Ord. 21-016, passed 8-18-21)