Update 4/20/16 – The St. Augustine City Commission voted 4-0 to reject the zoning exception Atlantic Self Storage needed to move forward with its expansion project. The operator appealed the planning and zoning denial on Feb. 17. Commissioner Todd Neville recused himself from the vote, citing a conflict of interest, according to the source.
Avery-Smith and members of the public addressed the mayor and commission for 20 minutes before discussing the application and voting, the source reported.
The existing Atlantic Self Storage facility was approved on appeal by the commission in June 1999. St. Augustine officials updated the city’s code defining self-storage businesses, parking requirements and the use’s inclusion in certain zoning districts in January.
2/4/16 – The planning and zoning board in St. Augustine, Fla., this week rejected a self-storage project proposed by Ash Properties Inc., the development and property-management company that operates Atlantic Self Storage. The three-story, 78,000-square-foot facility was voted down 5-2 due to concerns regarding traffic safety and the business use intended for the corner of State Road 312 and State Road A1A, according to the source.
The property, owned by applicant Beemer & Associates XV LC, is on an outparcel adjacent to an existing Atlantic facility. The project would require a zoning exception, but the planning and zoning board believes additional traffic at the intersection could be dangerous, the source reported. Access to the outparcel requires using the current ingress/egress point on SR A1A for the existing Atlantic property, which is about 200 feet from the traffic signal at SR 312.
The safety issue is compounded by the property’s proximity to the Lions Gate subdivision. Drivers heading northbound on SR A1A have to make a U-turn near the neighborhood entrance to enter the storage property, according to the source. “I feel that truck traffic is a health and safety issue for the community,” board member Jerry Dixon said during the meeting. “I’m opposed to it for that reason. I’m opposed to it because the community’s neighborhood [is against it]. That’s what we’re here for.”
Concerns raised by residents included construction traffic, pollution and the size of the proposed building in relation to its surroundings. “We continue to remain opposed to further development of the property in question,” said Carol Lederman, president of the Lions Gate Homeowners Association. “Having a building of that size and height will potentially affect our property values.”
Ellen Avery-Smith, an attorney representing the developers, argued the self-storage facility would create 25 additional trips per day to the property. She also noted the outparcel is already zoned Commercial Medium-1, meaning a more traffic-intensive business, such as a hotel or restaurant, could fill the site without board review, the source reported.
Randall Whitfield, vice president of property management and development for Ash Properties, told planners self-storage is the best use for the location. “We have tried diligently to put other uses there. [Storage] is a good fit. We’re generating less traffic; the use is needed,” he said. “It works out that storage is the perfect mix for that [site]. I think we’ve come up with something that would be beneficial to the community and address your concerns.”
Board member Carl Blow suggested reducing the size of the building to make it more attractive to the community, but Whitfield told the source after the meeting he wasn’t sure if Ash Properties would amend its design or appeal to the city commission for review.
Atlantic Self Storage operates 46 facilities in Florida and Nevada, including four locations in St. Augustine. The company’s portfolio comprises nearly 4 million square feet in more than 30,000 units.
- Historic City News: Atlantic Self Storage Expansion Denied by Commission
- The St. Augustine Record: PZB Rejects Miniwarehouse Proposal at A1A-312 Corner