Planning Commission Endorses Self-Storage Zoning, Permit Request in Orange County, VA

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Real estate developer Stephen McLean received recommended approval from the Orange County, Va., Planning Commission last week for a rezoning request and special-use permit that could pave the way for a proposed self-storage facility. McLean wants to build a storage operation on a 10.8-acre property that partially borders Lake of the Woods, Va. The land is currently zoned for agricultural use.

The planning commission recommended approving McLean’s application to change the zoning from agriculture to limited commercial as well as a special-use permit to specifically allow self-storage. At the request of the Lake of the Woods Homeowner’s Association (HOA), McLean changed his zoning request from general commercial to limited commercial. Residents were concerned about the potential height of the facility, since general commercial allows structures up to 100 feet. McLean said he did not plan to have any buildings taller than 40 feet, which is the height limitation for limited-commercial zoning.

Residents also expressed concern regarding retention ponds, lighting, dumpsters and driving lanes on the storage property. In addition, the HOA asked the commission to prohibit businesses from operating inside storage units. McLean said much of the facility’s lighting would be directed downward to minimize spillover and controlled by motion sensors. Unit access would be allowed up to 9 p.m., and other than storing inventory, McLean said businesses would not be permitted to operate from units, according to the source.

As part of its recommendation, the commission applied several restrictions including a 50-foot natural buffer along the sides and rear of the property, a 10-foot height limitation on freestanding signage, and screening to limit the visibility of stored vehicles and boats from public rights of way.

A final decision on the zoning request and special-use permit will be made by the county board of supervisors.

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