Update 11/2/16 – With a 5-0 vote, the Surprise, Ariz., City Council approved a zoning change Tuesday that will allow Storage West to build a second location in the city. Mayor Sharon Wolcott and councilman Todd Tande were absent. Construction of the six-building development is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2017, according to John Hathaway, senior vice president of Storage West.
During the meeting, councilman Skip Hall praised Storage West on the facility’s design, noting it will look more like office buildings than storage units. In addition, councilman Roland Winters, whose district includes the site, said it was a good location for a storage facility.
“It's about 275 feet back from Bell Road. I don't think a storefront or office building would work as well as a storage unit [at that site]. I believe it's a niche that needs to be filled because some of our storage places are filled up," he said.
10/14/16 – The Surprise, Ariz., Planning and Zoning Commission last week approved a zoning amendment and a site plan that could pave the way for a new Storage West Self Storage facility that would include vehicle storage. The city council will also need to approve the changes, according to the source.
The 4.9-acre property is in the Surprise Village Marketplace, which lies east of a Sam’s Club warehouse store, the shopping center’s anchor. The parcel is set back from the main street, Bell Road, and is about half of the undeveloped land remaining in the marketplace, which is just east of Arizona State Route 303.
The land owner, James Stamatis of Bell Road & 303 LLC, has struggled for a decade to find a buyer for the parcel and had previously marketed the property for potential office buildings.
"One of the challenges of this site is that it does not have an arterial presence. That is the primary concern [the owner] has heard, a lack of visibility," said Adam Baugh, an attorney with Withey Morris PLC, the Phoenix-based firm representing Stamatis. "I think it would be a long time before this property develops with any other use because of the obscure visibility."
The land east of the proposed storage site is owned by New Song United Methodist Church, and there’s an adult-care facility just south of the property. Landscaping and parking would provide a buffer, and the six-structure facility would resemble office buildings, the source reported.
Storage West has a facility nearby at 14690 W. Bell Road that’s about 90 percent full, Baugh said.
Commission member Dennis Smith was the only one of the five members to vote against the rezoning and site plan. "I just can't bring myself to think that a self-storage facility and RV-storage lot fits in a village marketplace," he said.
City planner Matthew Keating said he’d agree in most cases, but believed the property’s design would blend well with the area. A storage facility would also benefit the neighboring businesses and residences. "I can understand Commissioner Smith's concerns, but after reading the materials, I can see the other side of things from the developer and landowner. They weren't having a lot of luck with what was originally envisioned for that site," Keating said.
Commission chairman Ken Chapman voiced concerns that changing the zoning could lead to a modification of the city’s development code. However, city attorney Donna Bronski assured him the planned urban development is older than the revised code.
Andy Cepon, who lives near the proposed site, attended a neighborhood meeting with the developer earlier this year. At the time, he had questions about the facility’s hours of operation, lighting and what kind of traffic it would create. "As a neighbor of there, my concerns were answered sufficiently,” Cepon said.
Storage West Self Storage is a division of LAACO Ltd., a California limited partnership that acquires, builds and develops self-storage facilities. The company owns 52 facilities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas.
- Your West Valley.com: Storage West Approved for Second Surprise Store Near 303
- Your West Valley.com: Rezoning Allows for Self, RV Storage Near Sam's Club in Surprise