Huntingburg self storage facility concerns neighborhood’s residents

huntingburg22ndstreetrezoningpackage-docx-1

Access Storage Now, a Ferdinand based company operating under Progressive Investment Company, LLC, would like to place a nearly 3-acre facility just west of the Memorial Hospital medical offices that are located across the street from the Quality Inn.

To facilitate the project, Progressive Investment plans on buying the vacant 11 acre field running on the south side of 22nd Street. The field is largely bordered by residences on 22nd, Leland Drive and 21st Street.

To facilitate the development, Progressive Investment petitioned the Huntingburg Planning Commission approve a request to change the zoning from R2, two-family residential, to B2, or heavy commercial. Under Huntingburg’s zoning ordinance, self-storage facilities are only allowed under B2 zoning.

The field will be split into three properties under the company’s plan. The northern portion that runs on the south side of 22nd Street will split into two parcels, about 3 acres for the Access Storage Now facility and the remaining portion will remain a field that could be possibly developed into office space, according to Chris Tretter managing member of the company.

The storage facility will be a gated, electronic-access controlled facility featuring climate controlled units as well as standard units. The only access point to the facility will be from the northeast corner of the lot. According to Tretter, the facility will be nearly identical to one the company operates on St. Charles Street in Jasper.

The St. Charles Access Storage Now facility.
The St. Charles Access Storage Now facility.

The southern portion of the field that abuts the backyards of residences on 21st Street — roughly half the entire property — will be deed restricted to single-family homes. Tretter said no residential development is planned at this time but could be in the future.

Residents on the north side of 22nd are concerned about the impact the development of the Access Storage facility and any future office developments will have on their property values as well as the traffic on the street.

Districts zoned B2 districts allow businesses like car washes, car lots, hotels, convenience stores, tattoo shops and auto detailing which is not allowed in a B1 zoned area like Huntingburg’s Fourth Street.

Tretter said if the rezoning was approved the company would begin work on the project in late 2017 or early 2018. When completed, he estimated the new site would generate more than $31,000 in property taxes annually.

Jim Criswell said he had been living on 22nd Street since 1989. “It was kinda like being out in the country but yet in the city in a residential area,” he told the commission. “I know a lot of us have been up there for quite a few years and it’s always been residential. That is part of the charm.”

Criswell told the commission he was afraid the development would destroy the neighborhood’s aesthetics as well as lower the property values. “I’m all for business but being a residential neighborhood, I feel it will pull down the property values and pull down future revenue for the city if you allow that there,” he said.

Kent Sparrow, a member of the Mason Lodge 520 which is located on the north side of 22nd directly across from the proposed location for the facility. He told the commission the lodge had made a unanimous decision to oppose the placement of the storage facility in the residential area. “We believe that this is a perfectly suited area for single-family housing,” he said.

Sparrow served as a councilman and previously served on the planning commission. He pointed out that another request to rezone some property in the area had been denied by the commission when he served on it. “Keep it residential out there,” he said.

huntingburg22ndstreetrezoningpackage-docx-2

Resident Marilyn Francis has lived on 22nd Street since 1977. She pointed out that the Huntingburg’s ordinance advises housing should not be built in a B2 zoned area. “You are bringing a B2 into a residential area,” she said. “I don’t think that’s fair to us after living there all these years.”

She also expressed concerns about any future developments on the property west of the facility that will remain zoned B2.

“What’s that going to do to traffic in the area,” she said.

The commission briefly discussed changing the request to only rezone a portion of the land as B2. Councilman Kerry Blessinger, who serves on the planning commission as the council’s appointment, asked Tretter if that could be considered. According to Tretter, this was not something they would consider as they planned for future development.

City Attorney Phil Schneider advised the board they only had three options to consider and they could not modify the petition as it was presented by Progressive Investments. He explained the board could send the request to the common council with a negative recommendation, a positive recommendation or no recommendation.

Commission member Mike Fulkerson made the motion to recommend the zoning change to the council for consideration with Vicki Lewis seconding it. The petition passed with six members voting yes and three — Matt Julian, Kerry Blessinger and Kevin Haycox — voting no.

The request will be forwarded to the Huntingburg Council for consideration. They will have the final say on whether the zoning change recommendation is finalized within the next 90 days.