A Dartmouth councillor has asked the city to clarify whether businesses are allowed to use tractor-trailer containers for long-term storage after getting complaints about "unsightly" trucks in residential areas.

Darren Fisher, the councillor for Harbourview-Burnside-Dartmouth East, said residents on Lakecrest Drive are unhappy about the tractor-trailer containers used for storage by Metro Food Equipment in their parking lot.

"If I lived across the street from there I would be very unhappy and the folks that do live across the street from there are understandably not happy about this," Fisher said.

"When you're in a commercial area that buffers on a residential area you're looking out your living room window, that's not something you want to see. Shipping containers end up getting graffitied, they look unsightly."

Coun. Darren Fisher in Dartmouth

Coun. Darren Fisher says he's gotten complaints about tractor-trailer containers being used for long-term storage near residential areas in Dartmouth. (CBC)

Halifax regional council unanimously supported Fisher's motion on Tuesday to ask city staff to clarify the bylaw that governs the types of storage facilities allowed in communities.

An employee with Metro Food Equipment told CBC News the business is on a commercially zoned property and any changes would be a burden on small businesses.

"It's all nice and clean. So what's the problem?" said Sam Makhoul.

"I don't think the city respects what small businesses do. Like this man, he makes a living from this business. So if city pushes him down to close down, how many people are going to get laid off?"

He said the trailers are packed with industrial kitchen equipment that is waiting to be sold.

Christopher Anthony, who has a house and a commercial property on Lakecrest Drive, said such disagreements are bound to pop up as Dartmouth grows.

"It's the natural progression. I mean, they're going to want to use the land for other reasons and they're right beside a neighbourhood so it's going to make it rough," said Anthony, who owns Aabel Fuels Ltd.

"I don't think the trailers should have to be removed but that's my own personal opinion. They sit there quietly, they don't make noise so I can't see it being an issue."