- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - This northwest Arizona city is re-examining its rules on shipping containers after businesses were told using them as structures does not comply with code.

One of the business owners has spent thousands fighting the city of Kingman in court.

As of 2014, up to 10 Conex containers are allowed in city areas zoned as industrial, provided they are shielded from view by a fence, The Kingman Daily Miner reported (https://bit.ly/1YLiAZh).

But people targeted for using the Conex-brand cargo containers say they are victims of selective enforcement, as the city, Mohave County, and Kingman Unified School District all use containers, too

Former City Councilman Pat McBrayer painted a Route 66 themed mural on his Conex, which sits in a vacant lot he owns. Kingman was a stop on the historic highway, and McBrayer said he put his container on the property before the International Route 66 Festival the city hosted in 2014, before the shipping container zoning code was changed.

Since then, McBrayer said, he has spent $5,000 in legal fees fighting the city and trying to keep the container in place.

“Remember the city was getting people to clean up their properties and make Kingman look nice for the festival? That was our idea,” McBrayer said. “It was community service.”

McBrayer has a trial coming up in May. He will argue he has been discriminated against and that containers were legal in commercial areas when he put his on the lot. He said he met all the necessary requirements when the container was placed.

Other business owners who installed containers before the zoning change are also asking to be grandfathered in. Tim Schritter, owner of Black Bridge Brewery, was told in November he needed to get rid of containers he uses as part of his brewery. He said he spent $9,000 insulating and refrigerating the containers, but was told he would be guilty of a misdemeanor if he didn’t remove them.

Schritter also said it’s unfair that municipal shipping containers seem to not be as closely monitored.

“City government is in violation 33 times,” he said. “I just think sometimes common sense could go a long way and that isn’t happening,” he said.

City Manager John Dougherty is working to have the city rewrite the zoning codes for containers.

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Information from: Kingman Daily Miner, https://www.kingmandailyminer.com

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