A self-storage development proposed for Mesquite, Texas, received zoning and site-plan approval this week from the city council, countering the denial recommendation issued by the city’s planning and zoning commission. The project faced hurdles because the 3.78-acre property at 1350 N. Belt Line Road had been zoned for residential use, and the city adopted a new set of standards last July that specifically address self-storage.
To gain council approval, the developer submitted a design plan in which the façade of the structure will resemble a retail building. Retail liners are now required by city code to make self-storage facilities more aesthetically pleasing, according to the source.
Maxwell Fisher, a land-use consultant at Dallas-based Masterplan, a firm specializing in consultation services related to zoning, subdivisions, building permits and other development approvals, argued the property was not conducive for residential use due to its size, configuration and proximity to an auto-repair business. Fisher represented the developer during the proceedings.
The zoning commission had recommended against the project because it deviated from the ordinance adopted last year, which says any leasable space along the street side of a self-storage building must align with the city’s Community Appearance Manual and create activity along the outer perimeters of a facility, the source reported.
Although the look of the self-storage building will resemble that of a retail establishment, the developer does not plan to incorporate retail space on the site. “We have tried to comply with the ordinance as much as we can,” Fisher said. “It’s difficult to try and force retail into [this] site. We’d be putting retail on the front, and we think by doing that you are going to set yourself up for inferior retail or vacant retail for a prolonged period of time. We have tried to meet the spirit [of the code].”
Two alternative site plans were submitted by Richard Gertson, Mesquite’s community-development director, to bring the self-storage design in line with the city’s code; but the council ultimately approved the developer’s plan.
“Given the circumstances of the site, what the developer is proposing is a significant effort to give that appearance, rather than not seeing some [low-end] retail uses,” council member Greg Noschese said. “They have done a good job, and I am going to be supporting this. I really appreciate the applicant’s effort.”