Black Bridge Brewery Rickety Cricket
What has been more than a year-long contentious debate and discussion regarding use of cargo container boxes resurfaced during the May 2 Kingman City Council meeting.
The controversial topic gained increased public attention in March, 2016 when rival beer businesses downtown were confronted with alleged violations of an ordinance prohibiting use of such containers for storage on C-2 zoned parcels. And both businesses were referenced during the council meeting discussion.
Principal City Planner Rich Ruggles showed examples of ordinance violations that included an image of two containers in use in the back porch area of the Black Bridge Brewery. Co-owner Blake Schritter told council members that the units are essential in their beer brewing enterprise.
“We have to have these containers, or we’re out of business,” Schritter said.
Council member Stuart Yocum spoke in favor of citizen and business-friendly ordinance revisions for use of the containers. In a clear reference to the Rickety Cricket Brewing building under construction next to the House of Hops, Yocum expressed his view that the corrugated exterior of that structure is no more appealing to the eye than cargo containers.
Co-owner Terry Thomson said that the corrugated metal siding will be finished with a nice stucco exterior as the Rickety Cricket building project advances.
Vice Mayor Jen Miles supported Yocum’s call for a more liberal approach and greater tolerance for use of the containers.
“I’m inclined to agree that going in C-2 is probably in the best interest of being business friendly,” Miles said. But she said she believed that appropriate guidelines and restrictions should be part of the mix.
The council voted to direct staff to begin drafting proposed ordinance revisions that would allow use of cargo containers in C-2, along with appropriate guidelines.
Defining those guidelines will be the challenge for staff and council going forward. Discussion at the meeting meandered as council members spoke about whether the guidelines should involve aesthetic considerations such as color and fencing.
“My general thought with fencing is that I think many times the fencing looks worse than the containers,” said Council member Vickie Kress.
It’s expected to take a number of weeks or more for staff to bring a revised ordinance proposal back to Council for discussion and possible action.
There was acknowledgement during the Council meeting that there are dozens of C-2 container use violations throughout greater Kingman. City attorney Carl Cooper noted that staff essentially suspended enforcement of the violations while ordinance revisions have been discussed at length at the Planning and Zoning Commission level.
Yocum conceded the city is in violation of its own ordinance and must comply with whatever the council adopts in the future.
“I don’t think we should be exempt from our own rules,” Yocum said. “That is hypocritical and if we’re not going to allow this, we need to lead by example. We need to remove all of our own containers…within the violating zones.”