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Zoning Change Clears Path for Compass Self Storage Facility in Shaker Heights, Ohio

The Shaker Heights City Council unanimously approved a restrictive amendment to the local zoning code last week, clearing the way for Compass Self Storage to build a $5 million facility on a 3-acre lot that previously housed a car dealership.

Update 9/6/13 The Shaker Heights Planning Commission gave its blessing Tuesday to the proposal to convert the long-vacant Blaushild Chevrolet and Ganley Nissan dealership property on Chagrin Boulevard into a Compass Self Storage facility. The commission signed off on remaining variances, including 12 parking spaces as opposed to the required 17, and 11 percent landscaping on the property instead of 20 percent. Existing landscaping only covers about 3 percent of the property, with some of that being weeds, according to the source.

Compass unveiled its multi-million dollar plan for the 165,000-square-foot property, keeping the existing 42,500-square-foot building, attaching four new storage sections and adding four free-standing buildings. This would more than double the interior space to about 88,500 square feet, split among 500 to 600 units along with drive-in space and offices.

Plans also call for black ornamental aluminum fencing and gates, 8 feet high on some borders of the property to screen the operation from neighboring residences, as well as 10-foot setbacks for new 11-foot-tall buildings. There would also be masonry walls on corners.

"The essential character of the neighborhood will not be negatively affected and the proposed use will not create a public nuisance," the staff report concluded, adding that there should be "no substantial or undue adverse impact upon adjacent property."

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority must also sell the back portion of an existing bus turnaround to the new owners.

Proposed hours of operation for the Compass facility are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Truck rental will be available on site.

A conditional-use zoning permit now goes to Shaker Heights City Council for confirmation, with the planning-department staff determining that local standards will be "substantially met."

Update 7/15/13 The Shaker Heights City Council unanimously approved a restrictive amendment to the local zoning code last week, clearing the way for Compass Self Storage to build a $5 million facility on a 3-acre lot that previously housed a car dealership.

Although the zoning request had been previously rejected, the citys planning commission continued to work with property owner Debra Pando to find a solution. Specifically, city officials wanted to minimize the impact on neighboring properties by implementing conditional-use requirements that would "tightly limit the type, size and location of self-storage facilities in this zoning district," according to a July 3 planning-department memo.

Pando and Compass Self Storage were co-applicants on the zoning amendment.

A previously rejected proposal for a $5 million Compass Self Storage facility at a former car dealership in Shaker Heights, Ohio, may have new life now that a proposed amendment to the zoning code is viewed as favorable by the citys planning commission. The commission unanimously recommended self-storage as a conditionally permitted use in the district on June 4, and the city council had its first reading on the matter on June 10.

In September 2012, the commission deemed self-storage as an incompatible use to what is designated as a neighborhood gateway. Property owner Debra Pando has said the lot, which has been vacant for more than three years, requires $60,000 a year in taxes.

At the time, the planning commission voted it down because there was nothing in the zoning code that said self-storage, said Planning Director Joyce Braverman.

A purchase agreement and proposal from Compass Self Storage and its parent company the Amsdell Cos. would convert the existing garage and showroom into self-storage along with some additional construction for new buildings on the back of the property.

The city council is scheduled to give the proposal a second reading on June 26, followed by a public hearing and third reading on July 8. If the zoning text amendment is adopted, any proposed self-storage facility would have to apply for conditional-use approval from the planning commission and city council, according to the source.

Headquartered in Cleveland, the Amsdell Cos. draws its roots from the family-owned construction company founded in 1928. The company, which owns and operates self-storage properties in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, has since been active in several billions of dollars worth of real estate ventures with a primary focus in self-storage.


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