Connex Woes Be Gone!

I wrote last week about my shipping container woes (Connex).  Here is an update on that.

Bluffdale City

I went in and met with the Bluffdale City Code Enforcement Officer, Ben Henrie.  He’s a very nice guy who seemed willing to find a way to make things work for me.  I was impressed with that.   He discussed with me several options for how I could make this work within existing code.


He had printed out a picture of what another resident had done with their connex.  This person had put a pitched roof over the top of it using what appeared to be pre-built trusses.

I kind of laughed at that because the connex’s are already water proof and so the roof was superfluous.  It also did NOTHING to hide the sides of the container (the part that is visible) from the neighbors, and it was the appearance that made the container not work with city code.  All adding a rood did was add to what the neighbor saw, not hide it at all.  But it moved the container into a category of a building, and that fit that code just fine.

I don’t want to do this.  It is needlessly expensive and provides no benefit other than to satisfy arbitrary rules imposed by government.   Also, I might in the future want to bring my container from MO, and would probably then use them as the walls of a “barn” and put a roof over the middle.   I don’t want to put up one roof and then in a few years tear it off to build another one.


If, as Ben and a co-worker (Pam) were telling me, the only real issue is that the connex shouldn’t be visible to neighbors, I would be happy to get it covered.   My dad has a plethora of 2×6’s from a fence he de-constructed, and I would use them to make an edging around the top that I’d hang something from to hide the container.   That would be something like a tarp or visqueen.  They kind of frowned at that, but didn’t sound like they had a reason it wouldn’t fit the code.  It would hide the appearance of the container.


Ben did say that another way around things was to put a “sight blocking fence” around it.   It was here I think that he emphasized that the real issue is that it is a visual nuisance to the neighbors and that if it can’t be seen than it is perfectly acceptable.   Heaven knows I don’t want to build a fence around one, so this option won’t work for me either.


With the issue being sight, this should be acceptable.  I didn’t mention it, and neither did they, but I don’t see how they could object to it.   I don’t want to do this, but it is doable.


When we left we didn’t really have a good answer from Ben’s boss on what I could do to make a connex fit into the code.   The boss wasn’t there and couldn’t be reached.   They were having a staff meeting later that day however, with all persons who would have input on this including “the head man” who would have final say on these issues.  I was told by Ben and Pam that they’d bring it up and see what was determined.

I reached out to Ben today to ask how that meeting went and what I can do.  He said that they came to the conclusion that I CAN have a connex.  He said as long as it is only one, and that it is in the back yard, that it is allowed under the current code.   I asked for something in writing from them to that effect.  He sent me this: “After my staff meeting it has been determined by the planning department that one container placed in the rear of the property will not constitute open storage under the current interpretation of the city code.”

Ben did tell me over the phone that the code was likely to change in the next 5 years or so.  He wasn’t sure how it would change, but said that I shouldn’t have a problem.   Apparently all the decision makers were present, and they agreed I’d be fine.

Getting a Connex

After posting about my woes finding a container, I got a message from someone telling me that they sell them in SLC and to give them a call.  So with my good news in hand, I called.  They do indeed have a variety of them available that I could have delivered in about a week.  \

I’ve found me a connex.  So I looked at finances, and the only woe at this point is affording one.   I don’t exactly have thousands of dollars lying around.  In fact, because I’m trying to pay for a home that no longer exists (rather than just declare bankruptcy), I’m decidedly upside down financially.

So… now what?   Do I leave thousands of dollars of stuff out to be snowed on, stolen, or rusted?  Or do I spend thousands I don’t have to protect that stuff AND to help clean up both the yard and the garage/driveway here at my parents place?  I spend a couple thousand I don’t have in one situation, and potentially waste/ruin several thousand more if I don’t.

That’s the rock and hard place I’m trying to work out today.

Any good ideas?


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