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Lakeland votes to allow shipping containers to be used as homes, businesses

The new changes could provide more opportunities for small businesses to grow and create more affordable housing in the area.

LAKELAND, Fla. — People living in Lakeland can soon use shipping containers as homes and as small business locations. 

Lakeland city leaders approved the ordinance Monday, which changes certain land development codes to allow for the changes. 

This means people can use shipping containers as single-family homes in mobile home and multi-family zoning districts, the ordinance said. The containers must be fixed to a permanent foundation and follow all local and state building codes.

With the changes, there could be opportunities for more affordable housing in the area.

Shipping containers can also be used for home-based businesses. 

Small-scale restaurants and certain small-scale businesses will also be able to operate in shipping containers, according to the ordinance. 

“The goal is to reduce the barriers to entry, [and] reduce the risk that comes with starting a new business. Conventional businesses, you have a large [amount] of startup costs. Anything we can do to make it easier and help them get their foot in the ground is the goal here,” Lakeland chief planner Matt Lyons told lkldnow.

The Ledger says the new changes could "pave the way" for Lakeland to create a space akin to Tampa's Sparkman Wharf. 

The containers can also be used for storing certain boats, RVs and trailers on private property. 

According to the Ledger, the unanimous decision from city commissioners regarding the multiple changes came after previous discussions in the past and "years of study from city staff."

For more information on the changes, click here.

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