A Vandalia couple’s plan for the expansion of their business with the use of a shipping container has led to the creation of a new city ordinance.
Vandalia’s mayor said that plan might be something that other communities follow, and that it could possibly result in some local manufacturing.
Kyle Barker told the Vandalia Planning Commission last Thursday the plan that he and his wife, Sheeba, would like to create from a shipping container a structure for their business, Shimoji Coffee.
That plan is part of the process of moving the coffee shop business from its current location off of Gochenour Street, east of Eighth Street, to their property on the curve of Orchard Street, between Seventh and Eighth streets.
The use of that shipping container is part of the Barkers’ plan to expand Shimoji from just a drive-through coffee shop, with seating available on the property.
The structure currently used for Shimoji Coffee will be going to Greenville for expanding the business to that community.
Those at the planning commission meeting discussed how some chains, including Starbucks and Kentucky Fried Chicken, have used shipping containers to create shops.
Dan Barenfanger, the city’s building official, supported the Barkers’ plan, clarifying that cuts in a container could affect its structural integrity, and that they would need to have a structural engineer check out their work.
“He’s done all of that,” said Steve Barker, Kyle Barker’s father.
“You can’t even look at it as a container” when its renovated,” he said. Referring to the structural strength of the containers, he said, “These things were made to withstand a hurricane.”
Mayor Rick Gottman also supported the Barkers’ plan, saying that other communities may see and also start allowing shipping containers to be used for this purpose.
“This could possibly grow into manufacturing for us,” Gottman said.
At Monday’s meeting, the Vandalia City Council approved an ordinance regulating the use of shipping containers.
Under the ordinance, the containers can be used for purposes other than dwelling with the city’s agriculture-1, general commercial and industrial zoning districts, with a special use permit required.
The containers may also be used, the ordinance states, as a contractor office or for equipment storage incidental to construction.
It also states that the containers can be used for storage for up to 12 months.
The city’s Zoning Board of Adjustments will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 29, at city hall to review the Barkers’ request for a special use permit.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the council approved four ordinances governing alcohol sales and consumption.
The council approved a new liquor license class, Class K, for event centers, and also set the number of Class K licenses available at one.
Link Holdings has requested such a license for its event center being developed at 1405 Veterans Avenue.
Under state law, the city council sets the number of available licenses and license applications are acted on by the mayor, who serves as the local liquor commissioner.
The council also approved an ordinance that includes event centers as a subsection of its alcohol sales definition in the business licenses and regulations chapter of the municipal code.
Aldermen also approved the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the public right of way, but only during special events for which a permit has been obtained.
They also approved requests for the closure of Fourth Street between Main Street and Gallatin Street for events at Charters Patio at Fourth and Gallatin streets.
The road closures were approved for band performances from 4-9 p.m. this Sunday and from 4 p.m.-midnight on Friday, Aug. 23, and from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3, a private party.
In other action:
• The council approved the transfer of Vandalia Lake lot No. 703 from Doug Corridori of Vandalia to Colin Ledbetter of St. Louis.
• The council approved the inspection of local bridges by the engineering firm of Hurst-Roche Inc.
• The council approved Gottman’s appointment of Dan George to the Vandalia Lake Committee.