Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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Planning board endorses rezoning for South Church Street self-storage facility on western edge of city

Burlington’s planning and zoning commission has given its imprimatur to a mix-use development along South Church Street that would be anchored by a new climate-controlled self-storage facility.

The commission’s members unanimously endorsed this proposal on Monday after its would-be developer Adam Parker laid out his plans for the one-building project that he hopes to set up at 4183 South Church Street on the western edge of the city.

Parker told the commission that his plans for this site aren’t limited to self-storage – even if this use would comprise the lion’s share of the three-story structure he hopes to construct.

“It is mixed use,” he went on to elaborate during the commission’s latest regularly scheduled meeting. “Part of it would be my personal office, and there would be four other retail office uses on the bottom level…while the rest of it would be climate-controlled storage.”

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Parker added that his plans call for 331 storage units that would be accessed from a side entrance as well as an industrial elevator at the back of the building. He went on to compare these climate-controlled units to those that Bee Safe Self Storage already has available at an existing facility along Danbrook Road.

“Bee Safe is almost at full capacity, and they have almost 800 units,” Parker informed the city’s planning commission. “And that’s the only climate-controlled [self-storage] in Burlington…So, there’s an extremely high need.”

Comprising some 1.87 acres along the Guilford-Alamance county line, the proposed site of Parker’s development is situated in an area that’s currently dominated by residential development. The site itself is zoned for medium density residential use and is presently home to a single-family dwelling. The property is, moreover, located at the entrance to the Ashley Woods subdivision, and it sits on the other side of Church Street from the Weybridge townhome development.

The proximity of all this residential development didn’t escape the planning commission’s members, who pelted the project’s developer with questions about his intended business hours, his plans for vegetation and screening, and the potential impact that his facility’s security lights would have on neighboring homes.

The commission also inquired about the project’s anticipated traffic, which Mike Nunn, the city’s planning and development director, said has been deemed insufficient to require any road improvements in the vicinity.

The traffic generated by the proposed facility was nevertheless one of the primary objections that residents Susan Boxell and James Abrahamsen raised in an email that they sent to the planning commission ahead of its regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday.

In light of Nunn’s assurances, the couple’s objections failed to gain much traction with Lee Roane, one of several newly-appointed members of the commission who were on hand for that evening’s proceedings.

“They don’t have a leg to stand on,” Roane told the rest of the group. “They’re probably going to have more traffic from the additional homes [that are slated to go up in the neighborhood] than from the business.”

The commission also heard a generally positive take on the project from Robert Bett, a resident of Weybridge who nevertheless acknowledged the concerns that some of his neighbors have with Parker’s proposal.

“I wish they were here,” Bett added following the developer’s presentation, “because they would feel much better about what’s going on.”

The planning commission proceeded to vote 7-to-0 to recommend Parker’s request to Burlington’s city council.

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