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Storage Tech Proposes 'Man Cave' Self-Storage Center for Napa, CA


Storage Tech LLC received approval last week from the Napa, Calif., County Planning Commission to build Napa Vault Storage, which will comprise condominium self-storage units that are often referred to as “man caves.” The facility will be the first of its kind in the area, according to Erik Bedford, vice president. Construction is slated to begin next spring.

The 10-acre site at 1055 Soscol Ferry Road is south of California State Route 29 in an undeveloped part of the county’s airport industrial area, according to the source. The land was once targeted for a 600,000-gallon-a-year winery.

Napa Vault Storage will include 11 buildings decorated with earth tones and stone accents. Of the 130 condo-storage units, all but two will be available for sale. The average unit size will 1,177 square feet, and each will be equipped with heating, lighting and power. The units can also be customized with carpet, shelves and other components.

The condos will sell for about $200,000 according to Beth Painter, president of Balance Planning Inc., which is helping Storage Tech obtain the county permits for the project. The operator has developed six similar projects in Colorado, the source reported.

Planning commissioner Terry Scott called the development a “rather unique and innovative-type project.” The commission did stipulate the units can’t be used for commercial auto repair, commercial sales or industrial manufacturing.

The proposal faced some objections prior to the vote. Homeowner Gary Margadant disapproved of the commission’s change in the stream setback at Suscol Creek from 150 to 75 feet. “I don’t understand why an exception can be made for that. It just seems we’re full of exceptions,” he said, adding the buffer zone is required for animals and water that run into the stream.

The exception was granted in 2006 for the use permit for the winery in exchange for restoration work on the stream, such as planting native vegetation and the removal of non-native Himalayan blackberries, county officials said. “This is mitigated by the stream restoration measures,” said Michael Basayne planning-commission chairman.

In a letter presented to the commission, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife expressed concern about how the storage facility would affect the foraging habitat of the protected Swainson’s hawk. A biological study completed on behalf of Storage Tech found the hawks forage in an 18-mile radius and the loss of non-native grasslands on the storage site wouldn’t hurt the species, the source reported. The report also determined the surrounding areas can sustain the rodent populations, which serve as food for the hawks.

Jay Harris, an attorney representing Soscol Ferry Self Storage LLC, which operates a neighboring facility, called the environmental report inadequate. The planning commission disagreed, the source reported.

Harris also requested the county require Napa Vault to annex to the Napa Sanitation District sewer system. The nearest line is more than 200 feet away, and the sewer service would need to be examined so the lines are correctly sized, county staff stated.


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