Portable Storage Containers

​​​​Effective June 1, 2005, the City of Virginia Beach requires all portable storage containers to have a permit.
Definition of a Portable Storage Container
A portable, weather-resistant receptacle designed and used for the storage or shipment of household goods, wares, building materials or merchandise.
This term shall not include roll-off containers or storage containers having storage capacity of less than 150 cubic feet. (Example of a roll-off container: city yard waste & debris containers or open/unclosed containers.)
Portable Storage Containers General Requirements
Applies to all zoning districts (except Industrial/Commercial zoning districts).
  • No more than 1 portable storage container having a storage capacity no greater than 1088 cubic feet shall be permitted on a zoning lot.
  • Up to 3 storage containers may be allowed on a zoning lot, provided that each individual container has a storage capacity of no greater than 350 cubic feet.
  • One sign no more than 6 square feet may be displayed on any portable storage container.
  • No container shall be located closer than 5 feet to any side or rear lot line or on any portion of a zoning lot, except behind the nearest portion of the principal building adjacent to a public street.
  • On lots where there is no principal structure, the containers shall comply with the front yard setback for that zoning district. (Mostly applies to sites under construction.)
  • No portable storage container shall have dimensions greater than 16 feet in length, 8 feet in width, or 8 ½ feet in height.
  • If site conditions prevent locating portable containers in conformity, containers may be placed in a driveway provided the 2 required parking spaces are unobstructed and the container is closer than 10 feet to the paved portion of any street. However, if site conditions prevent these requirements from being met, the portable container may be placed on any portion of the driveway.
  • All portable storage containers shall be in a condition free from rust, peeling paint and other forms of deterioration.
Permit Requirements
  • Portable storage containers shall be allowed only upon issuance of a permit by the Zoning Administrator, except when used in connection with an agricultural activity in an agricultural zoning district.
  • Containers are allowed for a period not to exceed 16 consecutive days in a 6-month period.
  • During construction, reconstruction, alteration, or renovation of a principal structure 24 hours before and after of such activity, containers will be allowed for a period not to exceed 30 days within a 6 month period.
  • Permits shall be displayed on the outside of the container in plain view from the nearest street.
  • Permits cost $15.00 per zoning lot (regardless of the number of containers on the zoning lot).
  • No permits will be required for containers located on a zoning lot less than 72 hours. However, the container companies will be responsible for displaying a permit card on the container, which must include the delivery and removal dates on the permit card.
Residential, Apartment and RT-3/RT-4 Zoning Districts
Applies in these districts when the principle use is residential in nature or in conjunction with the construction of multi-family dwelling.
  • The requirements listed above under "Portable Storage Containers General Requirements" shall apply.

Hotel, Office, RT-1, 2, 3 & 4 Zoning Districts
Applies in these districts when the principle use is commercial in nature.
  • When the portable containers are used in connection with a bonafide construction activity on site for an additional period of 24 hours before and after such activity, there is no limitation as to the number of containers.
  • Containers shall be allowed for a period not exceeding 16 days when used in connection with moving or relocation of a commercial establishment.
Agricultural Zoning District
  • No permit shall be required for containers placed on a lot where the principal use is a bonafide agricultural activity.
  • On lots where the principal use is other than an agricultural use, the requirements of a residential or apartment district shall apply.
Business and Industrial Districts
Containers shall be allowed pursuant to a conditional use permit​​ for bulk storage per the district regulations, unless the following occurs:
  • A bonafide construction activity on a site and/or within a structure, whereas, portable containers shall be allowed for a period of 24 hours before and after such activity.
  • When used in connection with moving or relocation of a commercial establishment, containers shall be allowed for a period not exceeding 16 days.
  • A permit shall be required for each container placed on the site.
  • There are no limitations as to the number of containers.
  • Under no circumstances are portable containers allowed to obstruct required parking spaces for any use(s) on a site.
  • In the I-2 Industrial district containers shall be permitted per provisions of the ordinance pertaining to bulk storage.
Search the Virginia Beach City Code for bulk storage regulations.

Violations & Penalties
Any person(s) who violates any provisions of this code section shall be assessed a civil penalty in the amount of $100 for the initial violation and $250 for each additional violation.
Each day during which the violation is found shall constitute a separate offense. However, civil penalties shall not exceed a total of $5,000.
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