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Bell Self Storage Group Gets Approval for Proposed Development in Scottsdale, AZ

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Update 11/13/17 – Bell Self Storage Group received approval from the Scottsdale Planning Commission to build its two-story project. The 4-3 vote on Nov. 8 came after the developers agreed to a reduce the facility’s height to 18 feet. Commissioners Ali Fakih, Smith and Kelsey voted against the project, according to the source.

“We agreed to lower the building to 18 feet and they stipulated us to do that,” Rose told the source in a Nov. 10 e-mail. “It was a productive discussion, and we are going to continue working with the two adjacent neighbors.”


11/9/17 Bell Self Storage Group is facing opposition from residents in its quest to build a two-story facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Scottsdale Planning Commission tabled the company’s zoning application with a 5-1 vote during its Oct. 25 meeting, after several community members spoke out against the proposal for the vacant lot on the southeast corner of 116th Street and Shea Boulevard. The commission was expected to re-address the request at its Nov. 8 meeting, according to the source.

Developers George Bell Senior and George Bell Junior are in escrow to purchase the 4.6-acre site, which has been vacant for 18 years. The application, presented by Jordan Rose, founder and president of Rose Law Group PC, is seeking a zoning change for 2.8 acres. It also requests an amendment to the general plan’s zoning-district map for the entire parcel. The city council will discuss the general-plan change during its Dec. 5 meeting.

The facility would comprise 106,224 square feet of storage space in 700 climate-controlled units and include a basement. Originally, the plan proposed a 20-foot-tall structure, which is 2 feet over the permitted height.

Residents who oppose the project said they’re concerned about their home values and questioned whether the area needed another storage facility. They also had issues with the facility’s height.

Dana and Vickie Falen, whose backyard abuts the property, said the facility would block their view of sunsets and disturb their quality of life. Vickie Falen presented a picture of her husband, who’s a paraplegic, in their backyard watching a sunset. “This is what he does every single night. He goes in our backyard to look at sunsets,” she said.

Falen noted that residents met four times to discuss the project, but no one representing the developer attended. Rose said she attempted to contact both homeowners whose property abuts the site. She also received a letter on Oct. 25 from lawyers representing the homeowners’ association. Three open houses, in June and September, have been held by the applicant or the city to discuss the project, the source reported.

Commissioners Larry Kush, Christian Serena, Prescott Smith and Kelsey Young expressed concern about the development. “I’m kind of torn as to what to say about this proposal,” Smith said. “I’ve discussed with both sides of the fence, no pun intended. There’s clearly a disconnect between neighborhood and applicant.”

Any development on the property could obstruct the views, commissioner Kevin Bollinger said. “Either way it’s going to go away because the land is there; it’s going to have a building built,” he added. “It’s an opportunity, in my mind, to see Mr. Bell taking as much care and stipulation.”

Rose noted the storage facility would have minimal traffic compared to other uses, such as a charter school, daycare or office building. She also said the area is in need of more storage. “The Bells hired a national consultant, and the national average is 6.82 square feet of storage per person. Scottsdale has just 4.83 square feet of storage per person,” she said. “The area population demand is 10 square feet per person. The four other storage sites within three miles are well above average occupancy rate.”

The property would be “state-of-the-art” and include up to 50 security cameras, said George Bell Senior, a real estate broker and Scottsdale resident since 1969. The opposition to the project was upsetting, he said. “We’re not dumping dirt on your property there. We’ve got a guy who put up an illegal tower on someone else’s property, so don’t impugn my integrity. I’m here to build something nice, and you really hit me,” he added.

Rose e-mailed the source on Nov. 7 noting the Bells planned to forgo their request to extend the building’s height to 20 feet. They would also design the property under the current standards for office buildings. “We will develop with the currently permitted height [of 18 feet]. We are happy to take that issue off the table, and glad the neighbors gave us the opportunity to hear that concern and react to it,” she wrote.

The Bells will also deed-restrict the site, which would restrict the land-use to storage unless approved by the two adjacent neighbors. In addition, no lighting will be installed on the east and south sides of the building. However, Tim Curtis, a member of the planning staff said security lighting would likely be needed on all sides.

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