Portable Garages

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The Land Use Bylaw Project: Temporary Portable Garages

The issue of temporary or portable garages has been a contentious one in recent years, and as a result, we have taken a hard look at how they are handled in High Level in an honest effort to strike a balance between effectiveness and aesthetics in the community.

Currently, temporary or portable garages do not require a development permit, but they are only permitted in front yards between October 15 and April 30. This may be fine if you are using the garage as a way to keep snow off your car in the winter, but what if you are using it for storage or some other use that is not reliant on the weather?

We are proposing a split in how temporary and portable garages are handled, in order to provide some options for residents depending on their needs.

For temporary (fall/winter) use, we are proposing a shift in when you can put your temporary garage up – moving that date back to the beginning of October, because everyone knows you really can’t trust northern weather past September.

For portable (year-round) use, you would require a development permit, and they would need to be inspected every two years by the development authority or by an appointed bylaw officer. These inspections would be primarily to ensure the portable garage is still in good working order and has not become an eyesore that will annoy your neighbours.

Currently, temporary portable garages are permitted in the front of any lot in any Residential Land Use District during the permitted Fall/Winter use (Oct. 30 to April 15). And you can keep them up year-round on the side or in the back of your property year-round with a development permit.

For permanent use with a development permit in a front yard, we are proposing that would only be allowed on lots that measure up to a maximum of 600 square metres (6,458 square feet). As long as your lot does not exceed this size, you would have the option of getting a development permit and keeping your portable garage up year-round in your front yard.

We recognize there are many times when a portable garage would be useful year-round. Whether you are using it for permanent parking or storing firewood in it, it makes sense for you and we believe you should have that option. We just need to ensure they remain in good working condition and that we keep them from becoming unsightly.

Having the ability to set up a permanent portable garage with a permit is something you see in other communities, and we think it’s a great idea for High Level residents. We want to make this work for everyone in the community – and in return, we are hoping local residents will work with us and do their neighbours a favour to ensure their permanent portable garages and their temporary garages remain in great shape.

The Town of High Level is currently reviewing and developing their Land Use Bylaw. As part of that process, local residents are strongly encouraged to take part in the process and help direct future development in High Level.

For more information, please contact Hayley Gavin, Land Use and Planning Manager, by phone at 780-502-0778 or by email at development@highlevel.ca.

A complete list of all proposed changes to the Land Use Bylaw is available HERE.