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Council leery of container homes

Staff writer

Two Marion City Council members said Monday that they wouldn’t want to see a shipping container home go up next to their own houses.

That was in response to a plan by Elite Container Homes to build a home out of two shipping containers at 201 N. Freeborn St.

Felix Ramirez, who owns three shipping container homes in Hillsboro that he rents on Airbnb, is one half of Elite Container. His partner, Dustin Burke, joined him at the council meeting.

Burke said he and Ramirez wanted to get council members’ opinions before moving forward with applying for permits.

A zoning change would be necessary because current regulations don’t allow people to live in shipping containers in Marion, according to Mayor David Mayfield.

New city council member Kevin Burkholder asked whether a shipping container home would be similar to a manufactured home.

“It’s more like a traditional home than a manufactured home because it would be built on site,” Burke said.

Council member Zach Collett wasn’t sold, however, even though city inspector and neighborhood services director James Masters said a container home would be more substantial than a manufactured home.

“I know I wouldn’t want it next to my house,” Collett said.

Ramirez pointed out that a mobile home is located in the same block as the proposed site.

“I can’t be held responsible for sins of the past,” Collett said.

Collett said he could see designating an area of such homes but not allowing them to be interspersed throughout Marion.

“In the right setting, I think it looks really cool,” he said. “I think we’d want to designate a certain area.”

Vice mayor Ruth Herbel agreed, saying that such homes shouldn’t go into an established neighborhood.

Container homes are a fad, Collett said, expressing concern about what they would look like in 20 or 30 years.

The home would have a crawl space foundation and a roof, Ramirez said.

“It will have the aesthetics of a house, just a modern house,” he said. “We can make it look as house-like as you want.”

Wichita has a 36-unit shipping container development called Revolutsia on Central and Volutsia Aves. It features small shops, including a salon, a barbershop, an artist studio, a gallery, restaurants, and a courtyard area for events. Container homes also are popular on the coasts, Ramirez said.

“We’re just late to the ballgame,” he said of areas such as Marion County. “This is the new wave of housing.”

His container homes would be targeted to first-time buyers and priced at $90,000 to $100,000, Ramirez said.

Mayfield suggested that Ramirez and Burke take their plan and architectural rendering to the city’s planning and zoning commission.

“I think you need to go to them first,” he said. “I would go that route right now.”

Last modified April 20, 2023

 

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