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Developer, Owner Apply for 3 Zoning Variances in Philadelphia-Area Self-Storage Project


Self-storage developer Haverford Mr. Storage LLC and owner Eagle Lawrence Associates LP have applied for three zoning variances from the Haverford, Pa., Zoning Hearing Board to allow them to divide a land parcel into two lots, one of which would house a self-storage facility. Representatives for both entities gave testimony to the board last week, and a follow-up hearing is scheduled for June 7.

The petitioning parties want to avoid a provision for a maximum of 60 percent "impervious surface ratio" to permit 77.6 percent impervious surface on Lot 1 and 89.8 percent on Lot 2. An impervious surface area includes any  hard-surface, man-made area that does not absorb or retain water, such as roofs, parking lots and driveway areas, sidewalks, and paved recreational areas.

The parties also seek a variance from a requirement for 71 parking spaces and an off-street loading space. Their plans call for 11 full-size parking spaces and one oversized space, and they do not consider the loading area to be necessary.

Finally, the owner and developer want a variance or special exception to regulations specifying storm-water facilities, access drives, and parking and grading in "steep" and "very steep" areas. The steep slope they are hoping to work with has a 69.2 percent disturbance, where 15 percent is permitted. Similarly, the very steep slope has a 21.7 percent disturbance, but only 5 percent is permitted.

The parcel of land also sits in an area that has additional Environmental Protection Agency requirements, but Joseph Damico, attorney for Haverford Mr. Storage LLC, presented a letter from EPA to the board conveying preliminary approval, pending review of final plans. Damico also told the board the facility will meet a need of the community and not be a detriment, citing little extra vehicle traffic but property-tax generation.

Haverford Mr. Storage principal Lou Gilmore has developed 25 real estate projects over the past 30 years, including 15 self-storage facilities.

Haverford is in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, about 9 miles northwest of downtown Philadelphia.


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