Community Services

What changes were recently made to the code regarding cargo containers?

On Oct, 27, 2015, the changes to the development code did the following: clarified the organization structure, tied the development code to the current building code, replaced terms for different storage structures to the term cargo container which has a definition in the code, and lessens the requirements related to temporary use of cargo containers within Washoe County.


1.   Organization/structure, name changes, and format changes:

a.   Director of Community Development changed to Director of the Planning and Development Division.

b.   Department of Community Development changed to Planning and Development Division.

c.   Building and Safety Department changed to Building and Safety Division.

d.   District Health Department changed to Health District.

e.   Listing only the number or figure rather than both [e.g., 11 instead of eleven (11)]  No numbers were changed just the way they were listed in the text.

2.   Section 1, WCC Section 110.306.10, Detached Accessory Structures (subsection g, Cargo Containers):

a.   Modified subsection 13 to require a building permit when the cargo container is more than the allowable exempted square footage in WCC Chapter 100, rather than citing 120 square feet.  The 120 square feet was changed to 200 square feet with amendments to WCC Chapter 110 in 2014;  however, this Development Code section was not updated.  Using the term “allowable” rather than a specific square footage will minimize future required Development Code amendments.

3.   Section 2, WCC Section 110.306.35, Outdoor Storage/Outdoor Display:

a.   Subsection (c)(1), Commercial Vehicles Defined.  Modify the definition of Commercial Vehicles to change the term “cement truck” to “concrete truck”, which is a more comprehensive definition for such vehicles.

b.   Subsection (c)(2), Exceptions.  Add subsection iv to exempt commercial vehicles used in conjunction with on-going construction activities having a valid building permit.  This new subsection extends the current general exceptions to outdoor storage in subsection (d)(1) (exception if temporarily stored for the purpose of construction and during the time permitted by a valid building permit) to the outdoor storage of commercial vehicles.

4.   Section 3, WCC Section 110.310.35, Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, Travel Trailers, Commercial Coaches and Recreational Vehicles:

a.   Subsection (h), Temporary Contractor or Owner-builder’s Materials or Equipment Trailers and/or Portable Storage Containers.  Replace the terms “trailers”, “portable storage containers”, and “temporary factory built units” with “cargo containers”.  Cargo containers are defined in WCC Section 110.306.10(g) as follows:

(g)        Cargo Containers, to include Sea-land Containers, Cargo Containers or Other Portable Storage Containers not Designed for Independent or “In-tow Trailer” Highway Use.  Cargo containers designed and constructed as a standardized, reusable vessel to be loaded on a truck, rail car or ship may be established as a detached accessory structure for the sole purpose of storage with the following restrictions:

The current codes refer to “trailers” and “portable storage containers”.  Neither term is defined in the Development Code nor are these terms used elsewhere in the Development Code.  Replacing both of these terms with “cargo containers” will allow the public and staff to refer to WCC Section 110.306.10(g) for a definition of “cargo container”. The term “cargo containers” includes portable storage containers as currently written within this subsection (allowing a person to temporarily use a portable on-demand storage container with a valid building permit as currently authorized in Code).  Using a defined term makes it easier for the public and staff to understand and conform to this subsection’s regulations.  

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