One self storage business’s no is another one’s yes. Six years ago, a self storage business wanted to convert an empty industrial building in Northbrook, Illinois, into a self storage facility. The village said no. Today, the village is singing a different song and gave the green light to a completely different self storage business to use the empty building.
Why the change?
In 2008 when a self storage business approached the village seeking to turn an empty building into a self storage facility, the village denied the request. They said they didn’t want to ‘cheapen’ the industrial property with such a use. The industrial area was meant to attract manufacturing which would bring jobs into the area and increase the property value.
The area was zoned 1-1, which didn’t allow for self storage businesses. The self storage company sought a special permit. The village worried that if they allowed one exception that it would be hard in the future to turn down other applications wanting the same thing. So they refused the special permit.
Last year, things changed. The village changed the zoning to a new industrial zoning district. This new district allows for several different kinds of businesses that don’t have to be specifically industrial. This zoning change is only on certain lots so it will be easier for the village to control.
Now, the zoning is an Industrial and Commercial Services (ICS) District. By code, this allows things such as recreational facilities, educational services, religious organizations, physical fitness businesses – and self storage facilities.
So, two weeks ago, the village gave approval for Metro Self Storage to turn the vacant building into a storage facility. However, there were two concerns – one relating to the appearance of the building and property and one about parking.
While the exterior of the building is fine, the landscaping around the building needs to be improved. The village wanted to be assured that Metro would make improvements. While Metro didn’t give the village specific details how they would improve the landscaping, they did give the village pictures of some of their other facilities showing how nicely kept those were.
According to the village’s zoning codes, a business is required to have 1 parking space per 900 square feet. The building Metro will use has over 57,000 square feet, which would mean that they would need to provide 109 parking stalls. Metro requested to have only 24 spaces. The Planning Commission will schedule a hearing to review the request for the change in required parking.
“New Northbrook zoning law makes self-storage building likely.” Northbrook Star; 01 July 2014.