Update 5/31/16 – Acting on advice from the city attorney, the Ottawa Planning Commission chose not to consider the zoning change that would have enabled the Weigands to pursue their self-storage conversion project. While warehousing and storage are allowed in the Downtown Core under a conditional-use permit, city attorney Blaine Finch told city officials self-storage isn’t permitted, according to the source. When two conflicting provisions are present, the more restrictive one takes precedent, Finch said.
City commissioners sent the proposal back to the planning commission based on Finch’s recommendation during a May 18 meeting.
“It’s just disappointing that a city that likes to have buildings filled on Main Street doesn’t act in that manner,” Tom Weigand told the source.
4/21/16 – Tom and Mary Weigand are seeking zoning approval to convert apartment and office space they own in Ottawa, Canada, to self-storage. The Ottawa Planning Commission voted this week to recommend a conditional-use permit for the project at 419 S. Main St. The development will include 41 interior storage units in varying sizes.
“We’ve got people going out of town to Olathe and Lawrence for environmentally controlled storage for their records and furniture and such,” Tom Weigand said during the April 20 meeting. “We feel very positive that this is going to be good use of that building as well as good for Ottawa and the community.”
Although self-storage isn’t zoned for the Central Business District, the city staff supports the development, said Sarah Anzicek, Ottawa city planner. Eleven factors, including the impact on the city’s service facilities, transportation and utilities, were considered before making the recommendation, she said.
The 7,500-square-foot building hasn’t been fully occupied since October 2013. Auto-body shops, churches and restaurants have all passed on the property, Weigand said. “We’ve tried to come up with something that made some economic sense and was good for Ottawa,” he added.
The Weigands, who are working with an experienced builder, will first experiment with the construction of 20 units, ranging in size from 5-by-5 to 10-by-20, before building out the entire project, according to the source. No changes are proposed for the building’s exterior or parking, Anzicek said. The facility’s hours of operation will be in accordance with other businesses in the area.
Public comments were also made during the meeting, including the reading of a letter by Robert Dotson, who owns a building in the area and supports the storage project.
The proposal will next be considered by the Ottawa City Commission. It has yet to be scheduled on the agenda, the source reported.
- The Ottawa Herald: Downtown Storage Facility Shelved by City
- The Ottawa Herald: Storage Facility Proposal Passed to Ottawa City Commission