The Parker, Ariz., Town Council is considering a zoning ordinance that would prohibit new self-storage facilities that offer boat and RV storage from being built on general commercial property. The zoning change, tentatively approved last month during a first reading, would require that new facilities be built in light-industrial districts, according to the source. The ordinance will go into effect if the council approves the ordinance during a second reading this week.
Existing self-storage facilities would not be affected by the ordinance because they are considered “legal non-conforming use,” according to Tim Edwards, public-works director. Relegating self-storage facilities to light-industrial zones is intended to protect residential zones and other districts from being impacted by adjacent zones, Edwards told the source.
Parker officials believe there is a shortage of residences and want to preserve development opportunities for housing and related businesses such as gas stations, grocery stores, hair salons, restaurants and other retail and services, Edwards said. Currently, retail operators such as Subway and Walmart have locations outside of the town limits.
During the initial vote on Dec. 15, local real estate agent David Plunkett urged the council to reject the ordinance. The town’s planning and zoning commission recommended to deny the proposal during a Dec. 3 meeting. An online petition started by Plunkett to gather support against the ordinance had reached 300 signatures last month, the source reported.
“If they can do this, what will they do if they don’t want any more restaurants or churches?” Plunkett said. “Think about it morally. If anyone could take your property, that would be a travesty.”
Plunkett argued that many of the town’s self-storage facilities are at 100 percent occupancy with customer waiting lists. Designating existing facilities as legal non-conforming uses would make it more difficult for operators to secure loans for expansion or other site improvements as well as potentially impede potential buyers from securing financing, Plunkett told the council.
This is the third time the council has considered changing the self-storage zoning designation, according to Plunkett, who also argued there are vacant residential lots and empty commercial buildings and parcels within the town. “Let’s see what we can do to fill those buildings,” he said.
The council approved the first reading with a 6-1 vote. Mayor Dan Beaver read a statement in support of the ordinance, stating many people had told him Parker had enough self-storage facilities and needed to focus on other needs like retail and service establishments.
The next town council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 5.
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