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Garfield County, CO, Officials Reject 2 Self-Storage Development Proposals

Update 4/18/19 – Garfield County commissioners on Monday denied the Blue Mountain and Go Self Storage proposals, agreeing with staff recommendations and public opposition. Though the commission was somewhat split on the Blue Mountain project, it unanimously rejected the Go proposal largely over accessibility concerns, according to the source.

During the meeting, Chad Lee, an attorney representing Blue Mountain, argued that some of the public opposition appeared to be organized by owners of existing self-storage businesses in the area.

Several public comments lobbied for more housing rather than self-storage. Samson noted he was moved by the strength of residential opposition and suggested the Blue Mountain project would likely be welcomed if proposed for the western portion of the county.

Though commissioner Tom Jankovsky moved to approve the Blue Mountain project, commission chair John Martin agreed with those arguing to keep the T.O. Ranch area zoned residential. “I am standing on a commitment that I also made, that I am not going to yield in reference to the needs of another county [Pitkin County], and be their bedroom community and be their storage place.”

Martin also argued that Go’s proposal wasn’t right for the area. “It’s a great building, but not in the right location, due to access and compatibility,” he said.


4/11/19 – Garfield County commissioners last week toured the two development sites proposed by Blue Mountain and Go Self Storage. Though the visits were open to the public, only commissioners were allowed to comment or direct questions to project designers and engineers.

“I have to say, I’m glad I came here, because I had this visualized a lot bigger,” Samson said in reference to the former Planted Earth garden-center site targeted by developer Hipa Hipa LLC for Go storage. “This isn’t as big as I thought.”

Some community opposition has begun to organize, including the formation of the Down Valley Small Business Alliance, which opposes both proposals, according to the source. The public will have the opportunity to formally comment on April 15.


3/21/19 – The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners in Glenwood Springs, Colo., postponed decisions on two self-storage proposals on Monday so members can make site visits. Blue Mountain Storage and Go Self Storage have drawn opposition from the community. Both would be built along the Colorado State Highway 82 corridor and, together, comprise 200,000 square feet of storage.

The developers submitted separate land-use applications, though the projects are being considered simultaneously. County staff has recommended against both. Complicating matters, the facilities would be within three miles of Carbondale, Colo., which means the city’s planning and zoning officials act as a referring entity to the county. Though Carbondale officials oppose the projects, the Garfield County Commission will make the final decision, according to a source.

The Land Studio, a local landscape architecture and planning firm, is overseeing both projects. Blue Mountain is being developed by Aspen, Colo., entrepreneurs while Go Self Storage LLC operates a facility in Kansas City, Mo.

Blue Mountain wants to build a three-story, 96,000-square-foot facility on about 6 acres at the intersection of County Road 100 and Highway 82, but the land has already been platted for a residential subdivision. The developer would like to replat a portion for self-storage, but town officials are hesitant to recommend the move because housing in the area is scarce.

Go Self Storage has proposed a larger facility on 2.7 acres at 12744 Highway 82. The property would comprise approximately 85,000 square feet in multiple buildings, with the main, three-story structure encompassing about 75,000 square feet. During an earlier meeting, town planners were concerned about the impact of lighting and the facility size on the immediate area.

Though both applicants have cited a demand for additional self-storage in the area, representatives from two existing operations spoke against the projects during Monday’s hearings. Travis Stewart, president of All-Valley Storage in nearby Cattle Creek, Colo., told the commission the area has “self-storage coming out of our ears.” Similarly, Mark Gould Jr. of Royal Mini Storage argued that operators in the area are already meeting demand by adding at least 116,000 square feet of storage through existing development projects.

In earlier statements to the commission, Blue Mountain founder Andy Moszynski told officials his feasibility studies indicated “there is a pent-up demand for our type of storage.”

Concerns voiced by community members include light pollution, traffic and the scope of the service area. Wes Grammer, the developer behind Go Self Storage, told commissioners his team had adjusted plans to address neighborhood concerns. “We’ve essentially agreed to every request,” he said.

Some commissioners indicated the site visits will help provide context and clarity for members. “This is going to be an important decision by this board,” commissioner Mike Samson said, referring to the Go Self Storage proposal. “I am very conflicted, I must say, in some ways. I’ve heard some good points espoused by people today that I need to think about.”

Commissioners are expected to visit both sites on April 8. Additional public hearings are scheduled for April 15.

Sources:
Post Independent, Garfield County Blocks Two Carbondale Storage Developments
Post Independent, Garfield Commissioners Visit Two Proposed Self-Storage Sites Near Carbondale
Aspen Public Radio, Mini-Storage Facilities and Critics Appeal to Garfield Commissioners
Post Independent, Garfield County Commissioners Punt Decisions on Carbondale-Area Self-Storage Facilities
Post Independent, Carbondale Neighborhood Rises Up to Fight Proposed Storage Facilities
The Sopris Sun, Big Box Not the Storage Solution for Carbondale, P&Z Tells GarCo

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