'They are not pretty'

Monte Sonnenberg

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

(Postmedia Network)

(Postmedia Network)

Norfolk will impose zoning restrictions on the use of shipping containers as auxiliary buildings.


In recent months, Norfolk’s bylaw department has received half a dozen complaints about the placement of the all-metal structures in residential areas.

The county is acting due to the potential for complaints and the possibility that the structures in the wrong location can be a drag on property values.

“They are not pretty,” Mayor Charlie Luke told Norfolk council Tuesday, adding he wouldn’t want to look out his front window and have a shipping container obstruct his view of the surrounding neighbourhood.

Planning staff expects to have an amendment for the county’s zoning bylaw ready for approval by the fall. Shipping containers in residential areas and other zones for which a building permit has been obtained will be grandfathered through the process.

In her report to council, senior planner Shannon VanDalen says shipping containers on land seem appropriate in commercial and industrial areas. However, the advisability of allowing them in institutional, open space areas and agricultural areas remains to be discussed.

Shipping containers typically come in 20-foot and 40-foot lengths. Under Ontario law, they are deemed a building when used on land. Because they exceed a minimum floor area of 107.6 square feet, situating a shipping container in Norfolk County requires a building permit.

Norfolk’s building department requires that shipping containers be located on a concrete pad or foundation designed to support them.