At the Jan. 9 county planning and zoning advisory board meeting, and the Jan. 16 county commission, County Attorney Michael Shuler performed the first public readings of a proposed ordinance governing the use of metal structures and pole barns as single family residences..

The ordinance, which will not apply to storage buildings, was drafted after controversy developed over the March 2017 construction of a pole barn for equipment storage in the residential area on South Bayshore Avenue in Eastpoint. Commissioners said they received complaints the structure was unsightly and potentially lowered property values in the neighborhood.

In October, Eastpoint resident Ricky Banks addressed commissioners and argued against banning metal structures because he said they represented a 60 percent saving in construction costs.

Commissioners instructed Shuler to investigate the legality of using metal buildings as dwellings. Shuler drafted the proposed ordinance after determining that metal structures are allowable as residences under the county’s comprehensive plan.

The proposed ordinance, which would govern the appearance of such structures in residential areas, will be revised by Shuler after review of comments by P & Z and county commissioners. Shuler will return for a second public reading at a county commission meeting this month.

Under the proposed ordinance the main entrance to the building will face the front of the lot and a covered porch will run the entire length of the front of the structure. Pole barns and metal structures would be limited to single-story construction and be attached to a foundation or anchored by pilings or poles buried in the ground.

The structure must have a pitched gable roof at an angle between 12 and 45 degrees.

The exterior walls of pole barns or metal buildings used as residences must be covered with a material other than metal, i.e. wood, brick, hardy board or similar “traditional materials.” Shipping containers could not be used to construct residential dwellings.

Metal structures could not be used as multi-family dwellings and may not combine storage with a single family dwelling except for storage within the actual residence. For example, a builder could not construct a 2000-square foot pole barn, create a 500-square foot apartment within it and use the remaining 1,500 square feet for storing construction equipment, boats or vehicles.

Attached garages must match the residential portion of the structure in exterior design and roofing.

The structure could not be larger than 2,000 square feet of heated and cooled space under the proposed ordinance. Square footage of an attached garage is not included in this calculation.

After reading the ordinance, Shuler said he planned during revision to add a clause specifying the number and placement of windows and doors.