The Gaithersburg, Md., City Council and Planning Commission are considering a rezoning application that would enable the development of a 150,112-square-foot ezStorage Corp. self-storage facility at 14 Firstfield Road. Filed by parent company Sienna Corp., the application asks to change 3.13 acres of a 4.6-acre plot from general commercial zoning to urban employment, which would allow self-storage.
Commercial zoning in Gaithersburg does not include warehousing, which is the designation necessary for self-storage, according to Yum Yu Cheng, an attorney with Linowes and Blocher LLP, who appeared before city officials this week as a representative for Sienna.
Cheng argued there was market demand for self-storage and the business type is a good fit for the area. “This is a use that’s in demand, and it’s in close proximity to office uses as well as residential uses,” she said. “In terms of its use, it’s something that’s needed and demanded by the market.”
The proposed ezStorage facility would include 1,100 self-storage units, an office space and a residential unit for the manager, according to city documents.
Councilmember Mike Sesma questioned whether self-storage would fit in well with other existing land uses in the area. One resident also addressed city officials during the public hearing, questioning the need for the zoning change.
Currently, the other 1.47 acres of the 4.6-acre lot are already zoned for urban employment. The entire parcel was annexed by the city in 1967 and designated as urban employment shortly thereafter. It was reclassified as a commercial zone in 1996, according to the source.
Plans for an office/research facility was approved for the site in 2004, but the building was never constructed. The lot has remained vacant since then, the source reported.
If the city grants the ezStorage request, development plans for the self-storage facility would still go through the site-plan process, Cheng said. The council is accepting public comments on the zoning application through April 17.
Based in Columbia, Md., ezStorage was founded in 1987 and operates 45 self-storage facilities throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The company’s portfolio comprises more than 41,000 units.