Larry Smith, owner of McPherson Mini-Storage in McPherson, Kansas, wants to add three more buildings to his self storage business. That should be a pretty straightforward process: get a building permit and then build them. But in this situation, it’s not that easy.
The business was originally built under an R3 residential zoning permit. At that time, all was well. As time marched on, the city decided that the mini-storage facility was a business and that the residential classification was not appropriate.
So the city changed the zoning requirements for self storage facilities. They now had to be in a zone that was B4 for business and commercial. The city grandfathered in the McPherson Mini-Storage allowing it to stay in business in its current location.
All was good and well. Until now when Smith decided to add on to his business. Tom Stinemetze, Planning and Zoning Administrator, explained to Smith that if something happened to the business and it was destroyed that he wouldn’t be allowed to rebuild on his current lot.
So, Smith is seeking approval for a zoning change.
Kansas state law requires a public hearing when a company adds on to its business. The purpose of the hearing is to allow Smith an opportunity to explain his plans for expansion and hear the thoughts and concerns of the nearby residents.
The hearing will take place on November 7 at the McPherson Municipal Center. The city mailed notifications of the hearing to those living within a 200 foot zone.
Those residents can file a legal protest if they have any concern with the addition. The protests must be notarized and given to the planning commission.
If 20 percent or more of the surrounding landowners file a protest, the approval to give Smith the go-ahead to build would have to be passed by three quarters majority of the city commission. Since the city has only 3 commissioners, it would require a unanimous decision. If nobody filed a legal protest, a standard majority approval would be enough.
The state requires a 14-day wait between the public hearing and the date when the business makes a presentation to the city commission. If there isn’t any legal protest, the planning commission can decide on the change of zoning classification on November 19.
Smith indicated that he feels that everything will work out fine. He feels that everyone is positive about his addition and that he just needs to work through the process.
“Public hearing for Mini-Storage expansion set for Tuesday.” McPherson Sentinel; 1 November 2013.