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Planners Reject Self-Storage Development Proposal for Slinger, WI

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Update 7/24/17 – Dittmar’s pursuit of a self-storage development in Slinger could be in jeopardy now that the planning commission has rejected a second proposal from him. Dittmar didn’t seek a public hearing for his initial plan on American Eagle Drive and instead petitioned for a conditional-use permit on a 5.41-acre site on the west side of Hillside Road, according to the source. Dittmar also sought approval for related architectural, lighting and site plans, but commissioners voted 4-3 against the new application.

Though commission chair and village president Russ Brandt indicated he favored the second property, other commissioners sided with a few residents who were opposed to both projects. Resident Bob Reynolds told planners the storage facility would “affect their property value and quality of life.”

Fredericks indicated he received five letters from residents who opposed Dittmar’s original plan as well as other negative correspondence that was never entered into public record because Dittmar effectively withdrew the original plan by not pursuing the public-hearing process. Fredericks opposed the second proposal on grounds it wouldn’t attract people into the village, create jobs or diversify the tax base. He also indicated self-storage wasn’t the best use for the property, citing an economic-development study from Washington County that determined Slinger had few flat parcels left on which to build.

Another issue with the second proposal was the need to install a new fire hydrant at the site, as the city fire chief expressed concerns about the property’s proximity to existing hydrants, Marcheck told commissioners.

The first target site proposed by Dittmar also appears off the table because the property is under new ownership, Fredericks said during the meeting.


5/2/17 – During a preliminary discussion last week, the Slinger Planning Commission didn’t appear to favor the self-storage project proposed for American Eagle Drive. Among the sticking points are that the property has access to sewer and water, which some commissioners said was unnecessary for the storage business, according to the source.

“By having a building constructed there that does not use village sewer and water takes away future funding for growth for our sewer and water utility,” Jim Haggerty, public-works director, said during the meeting.

Though Dittmar argued that once all 10 storage buildings were built the facility could add up to $2 million to the village tax base, he wasn’t sure how quickly that would occur. “We would start with probably three buildings and then let the economy dictate when the others would be built,” Dittmar said during the meeting.

The buildings would be arranged in a “courtyard concept,” Dittmar told the commission. In addition, the facility would include a resident manager, wrought-iron fencing with gated access, and video cameras, the developer said.

Commissioner and board trustee Lee Fredericks believes self-storage isn’t the best use for the property. “There will be other better opportunities that will come forward for the property’s use,” he said. “We need to be patient, and let the economy take its course.”

The commission won’t decide on the conditional-use permit until after a public hearing, for which Dittmar has begun the formal process of scheduling, the source reported.


4/21/17 – The Slinger, Wis., Planning Commission will consider a self-storage proposal from local real estate developer Kevin Dittmar on April 26. Dittmar, president of Dittmar Realty Inc., intends to build a 52,000-square-foot facility on 4.42 acres on the south side of American Eagle Drive. The $2 million project would include multiple structures built over several years. Though the site is zoned for commercial business, self-storage is a conditional use, according to the source.

“We’re going to build the project in phases, which will be determined by demand,” Dittmar told the source. “Right now, it’s too early in the process to say how many units we might build at the start.”

The site is near Interstate 41 and Highway 60 and would serve residents of Cedar Lake, Wis., in addition to Slinger. It would include units large enough to hold boats and RVs, according to the source.

Architectural design would include 30 percent brick on exterior walls, cedar-style shingles under gables, decorative awnings, several windows and planting beds as part of the landscaping, Carla Dunn, vice president of sales and administration for Dittmar Realty, told the source. “The buildings have been designed such that all doors face the interior of the site, and all lighting will be comprised of cut-off fixtures, which prevent illumination from extending beyond the property boundary,” she said.

The property is also in a tax-increment financing district, which means all the tax revenue from the facility will go to the village rather than shared with other taxing authorities, Dunn said.

Language in the village ordinance isn’t particularly favorable toward self-storage, citing a lack of job creation, “lower-quality buildings,” and “less desirable visual appearance than other land uses.” It also stipulates self-storage should be “located on sites which have locational characteristics which may be adverse to accommodating higher quality land uses,” the source reported.

“Section 4 also enables the planning commission to require ‘additional conditions’ related to self-storage facilities including specific security measures, such as fencing and lighting,” planner Marty Marchek wrote in a memo to other village officials.

The site has been vacant for more than 10 years. A furniture store had been planned for the property in 2005 but was never constructed, according to the source.

Founded in 1959, Dittmar Realty specializes in manufactured-home communities, multi-family property management, subdivision projects and self-storage, according to its website. It previously developed Jackson Mini Storage in Jackson, Wis.

Sources:

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