Mike Cox owns 4 acres in Commack, New York. He wants to rent his property to Mobile Mini. Mobile Mini wants to use the property to store some of their empty mobile storage boxes. That sounds straightforward and shouldn’t be any problem. Right?
That parcel of land is in an area that is zoned for light industry, which allows trucking stations as a special exception. So, the trucks going to and from the property would be within the zoning regulations. Mini storage estimates that their trucks would load or unload containers between six to eight times a day.
But the zones do not permit outdoor storage. That’s the rub. Nothing is stored in the storage containers. They would be empty. The 4 acres would just be a place to keep them until someone wanted to rent one or when someone was finished renting one. Nothing would be kept inside the containers. So the question is whether or not the empty containers constitute outdoor storage.
Cox is asking the zoning board for variance to allow the containers to be stored there. He would like the board to decide whether storing the containers could be considered as an ‘accessory’ use to a trucking station and if the containers are ‘commercial vehicles.’
Vincent Trimarco Sr., Cox’s attorney, said that the classification of a trucking station applies because the containers have to be trucked to wherever they go. The zoning board is taking that under consideration.
Another variance that Cox is asking for is to reduce the setback from 50 feet to zero. Some people question why the setback should be changed to zero – especially when the containers would be stacked so high. Mobile Mini would stack the units three containers high which would be a maximum height of 24 feet.
Several residents have expressed their concern about the visibility of the containers from the road. Cox indicated that he would be willing to create buffers and have plantings so it wouldn’t be easy to see the containers.
Another concern is that the site would include a garage and two mobile offices. Sean Lehmann, president of the civic association, expressed concern that the mobile offices wouldn’t provide the city any tax base. He said that since there wasn’t a building on the property the city wouldn’t get anything in taxes yet Mobile Mini would get offices.
The zoning board will hold a hearing next Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Eugene Cannataro Senior Center. They will discuss these issues surrounding the request for the variances and whether or not to allow Cox to rent his property to Mobile Mini.
“Large container storage eyed for Kings Park.” Long Island Newsday; 13 January 2014.