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Middletown, MD, Officials Approve Self-Storage Zoning-Ordinance Changes

Update 8/28/19 – Middletown commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance on Monday that makes self-storage a primary use in the town’s code. It also defines the terms “personal property,” “self-storage units” and “storage.”

The ordinance includes input from the town’s commissioners, planning commission, zoning administrator and town administrator, according to town burgess John Miller. “It’s gone through a pretty extensive vetting process,” he said.

The city defines “personal property” as “tangible possessions other than real estate or buildings that’s movable, such as vehicles, appliances, furniture or jewelry.” The term “self-storage units” will represent a “building or group of buildings with self-contained units that are rented to people, businesses or organizations, with commercial transactions are prohibited except at the facility’s business office.” The ordinance allows registered, insured and operable vehicles to be stored, but bans vehicle repair. Finally, the commissioners determined “storage” as the keeping of something for future use, a source reported.

The ordinance will also require self-storage developers to present operational rules and regulations to the town’s planning commission for review.

During Monday’s hearing, resident John Hugelmyer told commissioners he and his neighbors are concerned about noise, odors and other potential issues in relation to the proposed mixed-use project by Lancaster. They’re asking the developer to add fencing, trees and a berm to screen the storage facility, and to locate vehicle storage far from the residential area. Another resident, Laurie Benedetto, suggested another storage facility wasn’t needed for the area.

If zoning allows storage, the town can’t deny it, Miller told them.


8/6/19 – Officials in Middletown, Md., are considering a text amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance that would remove the requirement that self-storage be an accessory use to a primary business. The update would also provide definitions to several terms, including “household good,” “personal property,” and “self-storage units.” A public hearing to discuss ordinance 19-07-02 was scheduled for last Thursday, according to the source.

Municipal language regarding self-storage came into question due to a proposed mixed-use project from Lancaster Craftsmen Builders Inc. (LCBI). The developer intends to build a complex next to the Town Center Plaza Shopping Center that would include a 25,000-square-foot of self-storage facility in conjunction with office, restaurant and retail space. The storage facility would be built behind the shopping center’s Safeway store, the source reported.

Mark Lancaster, president of LCBI, suggested the ordinance be patterned after the standards used by Frederick County, Md. The language should place limits on the activities allowed in storage units and the types of items that can be stored inside, he said. For example, people should not be allowed to sleep inside units.

During a July 22 meeting, Middletown commissioners discussed the ordinance, including what types of vehicles could be stored and for how long. Commissioner Larry Bussard indicated the new language should outline which vehicle types are allowed in storage along with any limits on duration. “I don’t want to see it turn into a junkyard,” he said.

Founded in 1979, LCBI specializes in residential design and custom homes.

Sources:
The Frederick News-Post, Middletown to Hold Hearing on Self-Storage Units
Middletown, Agenda for the Town Meeting
The Frederick News-Post, Middletown Approves Changes to Storage Ordinance

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