Downtown Storage in Blair, Neb., got a two year-extension on its non-conforming-use permit last April, but the operator’s efforts to permanently rezone the area to allow self-storage were denied last week. The city council rejected the company’s request to create a mixed-use, residential overlay district for its facility at 230 N. 20th St., which would have made self-storage a permissible use within an RML (residential, multi-family, low-density) area under a conditional-use permit. Some council members are concerned the change would make future storage-development applications difficult to dismiss, the source reported.
Rejecting a self-storage application within an overlay district in which the use is technically allowed would require the council to provide “good, sound, supportable reasons why you're not going to allow it here, but you're not going to allow it somewhere else [either],” noted City Administrator Rod Storm.
Councilmember Brad Andersen and City Attorney Desirae Solomon were among those who argued that not being able to deny a permit based solely on reasonable neighborhood complaints could open the city to liability.
“[Self-storage facilities] are the most dangerous kind of development when it comes to mixing it with homes because they are so cheap to put up, and a lot of times they are put up by investment companies and ignored from afar,” Andersen told the council. “The neighborhood has no cause of action, and the city can't do anything.”
A non-conforming-use permit was originally required for the storage facility because the zoning on the land changed to RML after the business was built. Facility owner Steven Saal was required to make improvements as part of the extension agreement.
Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise, Council Denies Overlay District That Would Have Allowed Storage Units in Residential Areas