Ordinance changes proposed by an unidentified self-storage developer pursuing a conversion project in Boca Raton, Fla., have planning and zoning board members wary they could trigger an unwanted surge in self-storage development, according to the source. The board delayed making a decision on the proposal during a meeting last week.
Among the proposals is one to increase the allowable density of self-storage within districts zoned for commercial, general industrial, light industrial and manufacturing. As suggested, the ordinance would allow self-storage facilities a floor-area ratio (FAR) of 1.0, which is more than other commercial and industrial uses. FAR is calculated by taking the total interior square feet of a structure divided by its lot size. By comparison, FAR ranges from 0.5 for manufacturing plants and general industrial buildings up to 0.78 for commercial property, the source reported.
Board member Janice Rustin indicated her support for self-storage during the meeting, saying facilities “can be quite nice,” but called the proposed self-storage FAR “too broad,” considering the developer is making the ordinance proposal in tandem with a project still under review.
Concerns about a sudden influx of self-storage development based on the ordinance changes are overblown, according to GrayRobinson PA attorney Charles L. Siemon, who represented the developer during the meeting. “The concept of runaway self-storage is a fallacy,” he told the board, adding the change would encourage storage development primarily in manufacturing districts.
Siemon also indicated the developer made the ordinance proposals only after he was encouraged to do so through a series of workshops with the city council. The conversion project under review would transform a single-story industrial building at 1900 N.W. First Court into a two-story self-storage facility.
It’s not clear from the report if the developer is Tom Head of Head Properties, which applied for a self-storage conversion at the First Court address in 2014. Siemon represented Head during initial discussions on that project.
The Boca Raton Development Services Department recommended a denial of the ordinance proposals prior to the planning and zoning meeting. The board is scheduled to discuss the matter again during is Sept. 22 meeting.