Charleston is proceeding with a plan to limit the amount of time portable storage containers can sit in residents' driveways, but city officials have agreed that an originally proposed 14-day limit would have been too restrictive.
Charleston City Council gave initial approval Tuesday night to a revised plan setting a 30-day limit for on-site storage containers such as the PODS or UNITS brands, with 30-day extensions possible upon request.
Councilman Larry Shirley noted that in his West Ashley district, some residents of the Bridge Pointe townhomes in Shadowmoss had portable units on site for months as their homes were being repaired following flooding in October. He said the open-ended provision for 30-day extensions addressed his concern about the original ordinance, which would have set a 14-day limit with one 14-day extension possible.
"With the emergency clause we have in there, I think it's almost a non-issue," Shirley said Wednesday. "If we find that we've got some problems later on, I think that it could be tweaked."
The ordinance could be further revised as it moves through the review process, but a 30-day limit would match regulations in Charleston County and in Mount Pleasant, officials said.
The issue, raised by Councilman Aubry Alexander, has been driven by neighborhood concerns about storage containers kept at residential properties for extended periods of time.
Companies that rent the portable containers typically offer to drop them off at a customer's location, then pick them up when they have been filled and store them in a warehouse until the customer wants them back, but some customers choose to keep them on their properties.
Some neighborhood groups consider the containers, often brightly painted with brand names, unsightly.
The proposed ordinance would also require that the containers be immediately removed if there is a tropical storm warning or a hurricane watch. Barbara Hensley, business manager for local PODS company Charleston Portable Storage, LLC, told City Council members that her company would have no trouble complying with that provision.
The plan will be discussed Sept. 16 at a Charleston Planning Commission meeting.