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Yonkers, NY, Officials Debate Self-Storage Expansion to Retail Corridors

April 11, 2018

2 Min Read
Yonkers, NY, Officials Debate Self-Storage Expansion to Retail Corridors

Officials in Yonkers, N.Y., are debating whether to change zoning to allow self-storage development in retail corridors as long as the projects include retail on the ground floor. City planners devised the amendment in response to a property owner who’s pursuing a self-storage project in a strip mall on Central Park Avenue. This type of development is currently limited to commercial and industrial areas of the city, according to the source.

"What you're seeing in the industry is a greater coupling of other type of business uses—coffee shops, laundromats, things of that nature—in these self-storage facilities, that they're not just things that you go to that are located in an [industrial] zone," said Michael Curti, the city’s corporation counsel, during a recent meeting of the city council’s real estate committee.

The amendment could be viewed as a way for the city to spur development in vacated retail space. A former Pathmark grocery store at 2500 Central Park Ave. has been empty since 2015. Babies R Us and Toys R Us locations on Central Park Avenue are expected to close due to bankruptcy, the source reported.

The ground-floor retail provision is opposed by the New York Self Storage Association. "If you put that additional requirement on [self-storage developers] to have underneath retail, they're going to balk at going after that space," argued Joseph Miller, an attorney for the association.

Curti and planning director Lee Ellman argued the amendment is designed to expand self-storage within the city’s limits, not curtail development. New projects wouldn’t be required to include retail in industrial or warehouse districts.

Not all council members view the proposal favorably. Mike Breen noted he received complaints that tenants of a self-storage facility on Fullerton Avenue made repairs to stored motorcycles on the street and created disruptive noise when testing the vehicles. The city prohibits vehicles from being stored with gasoline in their tanks, according to the source.

"They didn't drain the tanks out when they dropped the bikes off," Breen said. "I'm just wondering how we're going to prevent this from reoccurring."

Breen also called for more local regulation on the storage industry, the source reported.

The real estate committee voted 3-2 to move the amendment proposal to the rules committee, which will decide whether to place the item on the city-council agenda for discussion.

Lohud, Yonkers Considering Self-Storage Expansion to Retail Areas

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