Self-Storage Developer Fights Warehouse Classification in Rock Falls, IL

Building contractor Jack Guerrieri is battling officials in Rock Falls, Ill., over the definition of self-storage. Guerrieri intends to build an office building and storage facility on land he owns at 307 W. 16th St., but while he has clearance to pursue the office component, the city contends he must file for a special-use permit for the storage facility because warehouses aren’t allowed in the zoning district along most of the U.S. Route 30 corridor, according to the source.

Building contractor Jack Guerrieri is battling officials in Rock Falls, Ill., over the definition of self-storage. Guerrieri intends to build an office building and storage facility on land he owns at 307 W. 16th St., but while he has clearance to pursue the office component, the city contends he must file for a special-use permit for the storage facility because warehouses aren’t allowed in the zoning district along most of the U.S. Route 30 corridor, according to the source.

Since the parcel is zoned for business, Guerrieri believes self-storage should be an acceptable use. "The definition of a warehouse is a place where you store things for retail sale, and I don't do that," he told the planning and zoning commission during a January meeting. "This is self-storage. It's a business, but I belong in a business services category."

The issue was tabled last month so the commission could get clarification from the city attorney; however, during a meeting last week, building inspector Mark Searing told commissioners, “The interpretation from the attorney is that special use is needed for storage units in B-1.” Guerrieri didn’t attend the meeting, according to the source.

To get approval for the self-storage facility, Guerrieri will have to apply for the special-use permit, but Rock Falls has historically kept self-storage out of its prominent retail areas, according to Searing. Also working against the contractor is the city’s recent hiring of Retail Attractions LLC, an Oklahoma-based consulting firm, to market key areas of the community, including U.S. 30, the source reported.

Guerrieri has already torn down an old house that was on the property. If he pursues the storage permit, the process will include a public hearing.

The contractor has another self-storage facility in an east-side industrial park. He wants to include storage in the 16th Street project because he doesn’t have room to expand his current property, according to the source.

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