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Taylor/Theus Holdings Denied Self-Storage Permit in Woodstock, GA

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The Woodstock, Ga., City Council has denied a conditional-use permit needed for a self-storage project proposed by Taylor/Theus Holdings Inc. The developer had requested a variance to reduce the buffer between the 3-acre S. Cherokee Lane property and the Madison Falls subdivision, but the council voted 4-2 against it, stating a reduction from 75 to 35 feet would encroach too close to five residential lots that back the site, according to the source.

Four residents spoke against the project during Monday’s meeting, mostly citing privacy and safety concerns. Cindy Griggs, who owns one of the lots that backs the property, told the council that all she’d see from her backyard would be the 44-foot tall structure.

“I’m going to speak for all five lots that are going to back up to that, since nobody else came because I guess they thought there was no use after the planning commission shot us down so easily,” Griggs said during the meeting. “I’m thinking if your house was there, you wouldn’t want a three-story storage unit there.”

During the public hearing, Griggs and others criticized Taylor/Theus for not following through on promises made to residents before filing its application and questioned whether the council and city planners were taking homeowners’ concerns seriously.

Parks Huff, an attorney representing the developer, didn’t agree with homeowners’ assessment of the project, arguing the self-storage facility would have less impact than another use with much higher traffic intensity. He also told the council he believed planners had done a good job of educating residents about the types of projects that could be developed on the property.

“[Planning staff] have reviewed many different development proposals for this property over the years and recommended approval of [the storage project] because they thought it was the best for that piece of property,” Huff said. “The planning commission heard a lot of questions and concerns from the neighbors and did a really good job [of explaining] and recommended unanimously for approval.”

In the end, councilmember Warren Johnson and others believed the buffer reduction was too severe. “If it were zoned commercial with a 75-foot buffer, that buffer would play a large role in my decision to buy a house,” Johnson said during the meeting. “The homeowner has the right to expect the buffer that was in place to remain. It’s general commercial [zoning]. I don’t have a problem with the development itself, but the homeowners have the right to the buffer.”

Taylor/Theus is a limited-liability company based in South Carolina. The company has recently developed several self-storage facilities in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The assets are concentrated primarily in Florida and North Carolina, and managed by Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage real estate investment trust and third-party management firm.

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