Despite public outcry, two self-storage developers received approval from city officials on Aug. 5 to move forward with separate projects in suburbs of Omaha, Neb. Omaha Planning Department board members voted 5-2 to permit Daryl Leise to build a self-storage property at 204th and Farnam streets, a vacant commercial corner in Elkhorn. In a 4-3 vote, they also approved a mixed-use development that would include a Dino’s Storage facility on the northwest corner of 192nd and Q streets in The Woodlands neighborhood.
The planning department recommended approving the projects, as they comply with the city’s master development plan and zoning regulations, according to Cheri Rockwell, planning manager. However, residents voiced concerns about the Elkhorn development, presenting the board with a petition containing more than 350 signatures to persuade members to reject the proposal.
Leise’s site plan includes one three-story building and six single-story structures to be built near homes in the Elk Valley and Skyline Ranches subdivisions. Residents from these neighborhoods—291 in Elk Valley and 75 in Skyline—signed the petition stating the self-storage project wouldn’t be compatible with the area or the best use for the property. They claim it would be unsightly, cause light pollution and traffic problems, and attract crime, the source reported.
Russ Daub, Leise’s attorney, assured the board the buildings would be well-designed and blend with existing properties, including nearby Elkhorn South High School. Large trees and other landscaping would add a buffer, and the lighting would be controlled, Daub said.
An “opposition document” was also submitted to the board, showing that half of self-storage tenants earn less than $50,000 annually. The median household income in Elkhorn was $80,490 in 2013, according to the document. Residents suggested the facility would be better suited to an area with lower-valued homes. Developed in the 1960s, Skyline Ranches was designed for homeowners with horses. The neighborhood has dedicated trails and a park for horse-related activities.
Rockwell reiterated that planners review proposals for compatibility to the city’s master plan and zoning regulations, and it “doesn’t matter what the value of the property next door is,” she told the source.
Leise’s proposal is in line with storage-development trends for more aesthetically pleasing buildings in high-profile areas, said board member Trenton Magid. “You can also store Ferraris, horse feed and saddles there. It’s not only [for] plastic folding chairs from Walmart.”
Board members David Rosacker and Greg Rosenbaum voted against both projects. Board member Van C. Deeb also opposed the Woodlands project.
Founded in 1998 by Dave Paladino, Dino’s Storage operates 13 self-storage facilities in Canada as well as Iowa and Nebraska.