One man’s use of a shipping container as a colorful billboard to welcome tourists into Kingman, Arizona, before the 2014 International Route 66 Festival has blown up into a fight with city hall amid accusations of hypocrisy and selective enforcement.
Pat McBrayer, a former city councilor, painted a Route 66-themed mural on a yellow container (pictured above) and placed it on a vacant lot he owns near Broadway Avenue and Stockton Hill Road (map here). The latter is a major roadway that takes Interstate 40 travelers from the west side of town to Route 66, a block from McBrayer’s container.
City codes allow such containers in industrial zones if they are surrounded by a tall fence. The city began citing McBrayer for his rail container / billboard in 2014. He says he’s spent $5,000 fighting the charges.
The Kingman Daily Miner reported:
People who have been targeted claim there is a double standard, saying the city, Mohave County, and Kingman Unified School District all use Conex containers and so do private companies, such as Kingman Regional Medical Center and the Burlington-Santa Fe Railroad.
The alleged selective enforcement and flouting of the city’s own rules gives ammunition to Tim Schritter, owner of Black Bridge Brewery, or Terry Thomson of the House of Hops.
And here’s the selective-enforcement issue:
Schritter has a pair of Conex containers in the patio area of the brewery on Beale Street. They have been repurposed at significant expense and are used as part of the brewing process or as an outdoor service bar.
Right up the street, Thomson also has a pair of Conex containers on the side of the building he owns that is home to House of Hops.
The difference, insofar as City Manager John Dougherty is concerned, is obvious. The brewery’s containers have been modified. Both are refrigerated and, most important, they are shielded from public view in the fenced rear of the property.
Schritter was allowed to keep his containers, but Thomson was told he would have to put his behind the building surrounded by a fence high enough to block them from view.
Here’s a photo of the reused shipping containers at the Black Bridge Brewery.
The story caught the attention of the Associated Press. Here’s another angle that seems to have escaped attention: Shipping containers are gaining in popularity as a form of alternative house construction because they’re sturdy and cheap.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few stories:
- 23 Surprisingly Gorgeous Homes Made from Shipping Containers
- 45 Amazing Homes and Offices Built from Shipping Containers
- The greatest homes made from shipping containers around the world
- 10 Examples of Shipping Container Architecture
If a new Kingman resident decides to make a fancy home from shipping containers, the city will have another fight on its hands.
This episode over the containers is a bit embarrassing — especially when Kingman’s leadership has overseen tangible improvements in the city’s business climate, especially historic downtown Beale Street.
The AP reported Dougherty is working to have the city rewrite zoning codes for containers. The city council next meets in early May.
(Image of McBrayer’s shipping container via Google Street View; image of Black Bridge Brewery’s patio via Facebook)