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Stow, OH, City Council Approves Allen Road Self-Storage Proposal

MRT Properties Inc. received permission last month to move forward with its development project in Stow, Ohio. With a 4-2 vote on Oct. 13, the city council approved the conditional-zoning certificate for a 13,000-square-foot building on the 3.5-acre vacant parcel off Allen Road.

November 1, 2016

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Stow, OH, City Council Approves Allen Road Self-Storage Proposal

Update 11/1/16 – MRT Properties received permission last month to move forward with its development project in Stow, Ohio. With a 4-2 vote on Oct. 13, the city council approved the conditional-zoning certificate for a 13,000-square-foot building on the 3.5-acre vacant parcel off Allen Road. Council president Mike Rasor and councilman Brian D'Antonio voted against the proposal. Councilman John Pribonic was absent.

The new building will be designed for vehicle storage, said Martin Levin, vice president of MRT. "Hopefully, some of the vehicles that are parked in driveways and on grass areas in this lovely city will not be there because they will decide to come and partake of our nice new building," he added.

The planning commission voted on Sept. 26 to recommend the council approve the certificate, according to the source.

8/4/16 – The Stow, Ohio, Planning Commission decided last week to reject a proposed mixed-use project that would include self-storage and office/warehouse space. The plan was considered a study item during the commission’s July 26 meeting and not subject to a vote, according to the source.

Proposed by MRT Properties Inc., the development would include two 13,000-square-foot storage buildings and 15,000 square feet of office or warehouse space. Due to market considerations, the self-storage portion would be built first, followed by the flex space in six to 10 years, Jim Levin, president of MRT, told the commission.

The 3.5-acre parcel in question is on the west side of Allen Road, north of Hampshire Road. It’s also adjacent to the MRT-owned Allen Road Business Centre and Allen Road Storage, which includes three office/warehouse buildings and two self-storage structures.

As planned, the development conflicts with city zoning codes, according to Rob Kurtz, planning director. The 2002 zoning ordinance allows for self-storage to be constructed in the industrial district but only behind a flex building, Kurtz said. The ordinance was established for aesthetics purposes, but also because offices and warehouses are considered beneficial to the city’s economic-development efforts. "The Levins have done a good job with their property," said Kurtz, adding he’s having a difficult time justifying an exception.

Another issue with the plan is the total floor area for the storage buildings. The code currently requires it to be no more than half of the total floor area of all of the buildings on the property. If the business center as a whole is considered a single site, it will meet the requirement. If the vacant lot is considered a separate property, it won’t. The new complex would have its own access road and not be connected to the existing structures to the west due to a difference in elevation up to 12 feet, Levin said.

"You really can't treat it as one property. It doesn't function as one property,” said Rich Sprungle, commission chairman.

The commissioners also expressed concerns about setting a precedent and following city-ordinance codes. "I think at this point in time, I would have reservations," said William Ross, commission member.

The city’s comprehensive plan is scheduled for a review this year, and any changes could allow MRT’s proposal to move forward, the source reported. However, Sprungle said the code serves a purpose. "The easy answer is build the office first. But I understand the economics,” he added.

MRT built its existing office complex and storage facility. The family-owned company has seen an uptick recently in storage occupancy. "We're two guys who have been building buildings and trying to be a good partner for Stow," said Levin, who’s also the onsite manager of the storage facility. "We like how our facility looks. We like our facility, and we like the city of Stow."

Opened in 1994, Allen Road Storage offers 38 large units. Property features include 24-hour access, electronic gates and units with high ceilings. The Allen Road Business Centre was established in 1987 and offers 23 private rental suites.

 

Sources:

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