After nearly two hours of discussion, the Oro Valley Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to support the proposed development of a indoor self-storage facility on more than an acre of land within the Steam Pump Village development area.
While self-storage facilities were specifically listed as a prohibited operation when the Planned Area Development (PAD) for the property was adopted in 1988, the request was seeking approval for one specific property located north of Steam Pump Ranch and west of the Quick Trip gas station. According to town documents, the structure—proposed to be three stories and 48 feet tall—would maintain the appearance of an office building, the original intended use for the site.
“The stated intent of not permitting mini storage facilities was to maintain a high-quality development, and to prohibit uses that are not compatible with the site,” said Oro Valley Principal Planner Chad Daines, who spoke before the commission at its Feb. 7 meeting. “Historically, mini storage facilities have consisted of long, linear buildings with rollup doors and units that are accessed by drive aisles. These facilities have evolved over the years to include indoor, climate-controlled facilities, and with proper design these facilities can have more of an office appearance and can be compatible with retail development, such as the Steam Pump Village development.”
Some of the design elements listed in the commission documents include faux windows, varied materials and colors consistent with nearby development, building articulation, metal and lighting elements.
In addition to an indoor self storage facility, the plans for the building include 3,800 square feet on the ground floor to be used for office or retail space, the former being more likely, as indicated by town staff in the report. Other aspects of the application include a change in parking standard as well as a requested increase in the floor area ration allowed. Additionally, other restriction would apply to the proposed building, including a prohibition on outdoor rental displays or activity, corporate graphics or activity from within the units.
With all considerations made in terms of architecture, display and other factors, Daines said that staff would recommend approval for the PAD amendment.
“We understood the original intent of not permitting this use within the development,” he said. “Our initial take on it was a ‘no,’ but as they progressed through the review process and the review evolved, they provided an enhanced architectural concept, they provided a location restriction, the enhanced ground-floor pedestrian elements and the limitations to operations, so we can to support the use as a compatible project within the Steam Pump development.”
The public’s reaction to the proposition was fairly negative. As part of the meeting’s public hearing, several members of the community spoke against the future inclusion of a self-storage facility at the site. Reasons for opposition included safety at the facility, parking, increased traffic, proximity to Steam Pump Ranch, conformance to the General Plan, lack of sales tax revenue and more. Additionally, several residents suggested turning the space into a park, though that would require quite a bit of action from the town.
The application still needs to make its way through the town’s Conceptual Design Review Board, as well as town council.