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Rogers Planning Commission discusses storage businesses

by Janelle Jessen | July 21, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette

ROGERS -- Discussion at Tuesday's planning commission meeting focused on three conditional use permits for storage businesses.

Planning commission members approved a conditional use permit for Modern Storage between South 26th Street and South Dixieland Road and denied a permit for Willa Mini Storage on South Rainbow Farm Road. A third application for Stoney Brook Storage was withdrawn by the applicant after it was deemed unnecessary by city staff.

Modern Storage plans to build climate-controlled storage units as well as meeting spaces in three phases, according to representative Brian Dale.

The proposed location is undeveloped and zoned highway commercial and condominium unit, according to city planner Ethan Hunter. The request is compatible with surrounding development and appropriate for the location, he said.

Resident Martin Ojeda raised concerns about light and noise pollution, lack of privacy and the possibility of creating more flooding in his neighborhood, noting there are already a large number of storage facilities in Rogers. He asked the commission to deny the request or work to ensure Modern Storage adds trees to create a buffer and improve drainage.

Dale said the developer would construct a privacy fence, both as a buffer and for security, and plant trees. The facility will close at 6 p.m. and all lighting at the site will be directional and pointed down, he said. The developer also plans to create a stormwater retention pond and channel water to additional drains, he said.

Willa Mini Storage would have been built on undeveloped land zoned for agriculture use, according to the conditional use permit request. Community development staff recommended the request be denied because the property is zoned incorrectly according to the comprehensive growth map and the proposed use is not permitted in any neighborhood zoning districts, according to Hunter. The proposed storage units could also have a negative impact on the surrounding floodplain and would not comply with the connectivity ordinance, he said.

Tim Salmonson, a representative of the seller and developer, told committee members he felt the request was consistent with the area. It would be difficult to develop housing on the property because it won't be easy or cost-effective to get sewer to the land, and options are also limited by the nearby floodplain, he said.

The property is bordered by a floodplain that creates a natural barrier to the residential neighborhood to the south, he said. Salmonson also proposed contacting the neighbor to the north about sharing a driveway to address the connectivity issue.

Bill Watkins, a representative of neighboring Rainbow Storage, said his client has concerns about the draining and flooding problems the new development could create and is not interested in donating a driveway.

Commission members unanimously voted to deny the request with little discussion.

John Duggar withdrew his request for a conditional use permit to continue operating Stoney Brook Storage at 5823 W. Stoney Brook Road.

Duggar said the storage facility has been in operation since the late 1990s by two previous owners before the property was annexed into the city. He purchased the property a few years ago with the understanding it was grandfathered in and continued to operate it as a storage facility, he said.

Even though the facility is incompatible with the comprehensive growth map and the surrounding floodplain, it had legal nonconforming status as long as it was used for what it was originally built for, Hunter said. However, Duggar added recreational vehicle storage to the property, including a gravel parking area, he said.

Duggar said he has removed the vehicles and plans to only use the property for what it was originally built for. He said he needed the conditional use permit to secure a business license.

John McCurdy, community development director, said his department will support Duggar's quest for a business license as long as there is no expansion of use.

"We can't have RVs in a floodplain," he said.

In other business, planning commission members approved a subdivision and two new large-scale developments.

The proposed 20-lot subdivision, Sky Valley Estates, would be located at West Shores Avenue and South Mt. Hebren Road, according to a staff report.

The proposed Casey's General Store would be built on 2.18 acres at 3757 W. New Hope Road, and the proposed Creekside Medical Offices would be built at 3801 W. Financial Parkway and would include three 7,600-square-foot medical offices planned on 3.13 acres.

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Other actions taken by the Rogers Planning Commission included:

• Approval of a conditional use permit for Caliber Collision to build a vehicle repair business on South Bellview Road and Ajax Avenue.

• Approval of a conditional use permit to allow offices at 208 W. Sycamore St.

• A request for a conditional use permit from Marrs Developing LLC for a bed and breakfast was withdrawn by the applicant.

Print Headline: Planning commission discusses storage businesses

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