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Denver Bans Self-Storage Construction Near Light-Rail Stations, Other Zones

Update 5/25/18 – The Denver City Council voted unanimously on May 20 to ban self-storage development within a quarter-mile of any regional transportation district as well as suburban and downtown Main Street zones. Industrial areas are exempt from the restriction, according to the source.

The council reiterated its desire to reserve the land near light-rail stations for development projects that are “pedestrian-oriented and friendly to people,” Susman told the source. “Mini-storage just doesn’t do that. They’re sort of dead zones. There’s nothing for people to do there. Transportation-oriented development is what is expected around rail lines. Self-storage is not transportation-oriented.”

“Storage facilities aren’t human-oriented use; we need people living there and working there, and using the train instead of driving in their cars,” agreed Black. “The goal is for all light-rail stations to have the appropriate kind of development.”

The self-storage restriction was part of a zoning-amendment package suggested by the community planning and development department.

3/13/18 – Denver officials will explore if it’s in the city’s interest to restrict self-storage and drive-through businesses from being developed within a quarter-mile of light-rail stations. The proposed ban would apply to new construction. The idea is supported by councilmembers Kendra Black and Mary Beth Susman, according to the source.

Susman isn’t a fan of the architectural aesthetics displayed by traditional storage facilities. "Very often these places look like boxes that hold boxes," she told the source. "It's not a very good use of our land."

Preserving properties near the light rail for higher-traffic uses could encourage more people to use mass transportation and ease vehicle congestion, according to Black. “Storage facilities—the nature of them is there are no people there," she said. "The right kind of activity around the station, I think will increase transit use, which will ultimately improve our traffic situation and really the quality of life."

If the ban is recommended by the planning committee, the city council will hold a public hearing on the subject. It’s possible the restrictions could take effect as early as November, the source reported.

“We don't want to get rid of [self-storage] all together, but maybe put it in places where we're not looking for activation," Susman said.

The move to ban self-storage development is similar to recent decisions made by other municipalities, including New York City.

The Woodland, Calif., City Council recently extended an original 45-day moratorium through December to prevent any new self-storage facilities from being developed while officials work on new zoning codes that will determine where future projects will be allowed.

City officials in Margate, Fla., have made an existing moratorium on storage development indefinite, while Miami last year passed an ordinance that requires a minimum 2,500-foot distance between self-storage facilities in any direction.

In Washington state, Ferndale officials passed a six-month ban on self-storage development in November, shortly after officials in Federal Way imposed a one-year ban in September. Other incidents in Washington include a six-month ban passed in August in Poulsbo and a previous six-month moratorium in Shoreline.

SpareFoot Storage Beat, Denver Closes Off Parts of City to Self-Storage Development
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