Editorial: County can't regulate for ugly

Cargo containers are those large steel boxes used to transport freight between ships, trains and trucks. They typically come in two sizes: 8 feet by 20 feet and 8 feet by 40 feet.

Oh, and they are ugly.

Members of the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Zoning Commission met this past Wednesday and one of the topics they weighed in on were regulations that would allow county homeowners to keep cargo containers on their property.

The smaller size has been permitted since 2004, under certain rules, such as having a lot that is at least two acres and that the container be painted to match the house or an earth tone.

Wednesday's discussion, mostly between Supervisor Chip Davis and P&Z commissioner Tom Reilly, went something like this:

"They originated as sea cargo containers," Davis said, "and I can take you out on Wagoner Road and I'll show you parcels that are greater than 40 acres, greater than 50,000 acres, and you can spot those things a mile away, and they look like crap."

"Oh, I agree with you," Reilly said, but "while they look like crap, are we going to get into the business of governing and regulating esthetics?"

Davis sees this as a "first-class county." We should regulate them.

Reilly added that the containers are no different than small sheds. "If you're saying you can't put them in your yard because (they're) ugly, I can go out and build a 399-square-foot shed that's ugly and there's nothing you can do about it," he said, calling regulation by esthetics a "slippery slope."

We agree with Reilly. The key to this is the homeowner and property rights. If you own the property and stay within health and safety guidelines as well as logical use rules, you should be allowed to do what you want.

In addition, if you do not like certain property uses - such as animals or structural requirements (think: cargo containers) - buy your property where the area or subdivision has codes, covenants and restrictions (CC&Rs).

That is your choice and, for some people, using a cargo container for storage is their choice.

But, again, they are ugly.