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Self-Storage Conversion Denied by Mobile, Ala., Planning Commission

A request to rezone a property and allow the conversion of an existing building to self-storage was denied by the planning commission in Mobile, Ala., last week after local residents expressed concern about the development. Architect Benjamin Cummings had hoped to transform an abandoned nine-story building at 951 Government St. into a self-storage facility.

Residents of Oakleigh Garden District told the planning commission the self-storage development violated the city’s zoning ordinances. The city staff also recommended denying the rezoning application because the project didn’t meet the standards set by the New Plan for Mobile, which was adopted in January. The plan calls for more mixed-use development along Government Street, but with no commercial uses on Church Street, which the empty building abuts.

The rezoning would have changed the property’s classification from a B-1 buffer business district to a B-2 neighborhood business district, allowing for more commercial uses.

Residents also stated a nearby self-storage facility negated the need for another. Cummings called it a “weak argument.” In addition, he said he would preserve the building’s 1950’s architecture.

The commission's decision was unanimous. However, Commissioner James Watkins III said he was hopeful the developer and the neighborhood could work together to find an adequate development use for the building, which he called an eyesore.


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