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Mini-storage units that open onto a public street


Anybody have experience on this one?

It seems obvious that access to individual storage units should be via private property, not a public street, but my code isn't specific enough for my liking, so I must ask the question.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

mike gurnee

25 or so individual driveways? One curb cut that is 200' long? Most development regs limit the access points. Please elaborate on the issue.


Dear Leader
Staff member
mike gurnee said:
25 or so individual driveways? One curb cut that is 200' long? Most development regs limit the access points. Please elaborate on the issue.

Looks like access management regulations might apply. They might not be in your zoning/LDC regs, but rather regulated in a municipal code or through your municipal, county or state engineer.

Here's the mini-storage regs I wrote. The regulations went above and beyond the applicable site design, landscaping and architectural design standards, which also applies.

412.4 Mini-storage facilities

Mini-storage facilities are permitted in the I-G district only. Although they are considered a commercial use for design purposes, they are prohibited in commercial zoning districts.

412.4.1 Architectural theme
* Building design must conform to Town design standards. Architectural details must relate to an overall architectural theme. Facilities placed in or near a shopping center or other retail uses must be designed to be consistent with the dominant theme or design of surrounding buildings.
* Bright primary colors are prohibited on buildings, regardless of corporate standards or preferences.
* All buildings, including storage units, must be surfaced in high quality materials. Smooth-faced concrete block, painted masonry, tilt-up concrete panels and prefabricated metal panels are prohibited.

412.4.2 General architectural requirements
* Buildings must include design elements such as columns, ribs or pilasters, piers, quoins, and fenestration patterns to prevent a utilitarian, industrial, warehouse-like appearance.
* Buildings ≥30’ (9m) long must include a change in wall plane, recess or reveal every 20’ (6 m).
* Maximum building length on the site perimeter is 60’ (18 m).
* Unit doors must be screened or sited so they are not visible from the street. Unit doors must not face the street.
* Unit doors must be integrated into the overall design theme of the site through color and texture.

412.4.3 Roof design
* Buildings must include a roof pitch of ≥6:12, with roofs incorporating a high quality surface such as architectural shingles, seam metal or red tile. Flat roofs are prohibited.
* Roofs must include four or more planes, and have overhanging eaves extending ≥1.5’ (.5 m) past the building wall.

412.4.4 Landscaping
* Landscaping must conform to Land Development Code landscaping requirements
* Landscaping and berming must screen storage buildings from the public right-of-way and adjacent residential zoning districts
* Landscaping outside a perimeter fence must conform to Land Development Code requirements. Inside a perimeter fence, ≥10% of the surface area must be a groomed permeable surface (xeriscape ground cover such as jasmine, landscaping, turf block), with ≥50% of that surface adjacent to the perimeter fence.
* One or more canopy trees for every ten units must be provided inside the perimeter fence, with trees placed inside the perimeter fence and at the ends of buildings runs. Shrubbery forming a dense cluster is required at the base of building walls ≥10’ (3 m) long without doors.

412.4.5 Hardscaping
Vehicle/pedestrian conflict points outside a perimeter fence or wall, and a ≥400’2 (37 m2) surface area at the entry gate, must be clearly defined with concrete paver blocks, brick, or textured and raised pavement.

412.4.6 Circulation and stacking
* Parking for one or more full sized moving trucks must be provided.
* ≥20% of the units must be accessible to a full sized moving truck.
* Drive aisles must be ≥24’ (7.3m) wide.
* Units and drive aisles must be sited so a truck or car parked at a unit cannot trap another vehicle and prevent it from leaving the facility.

412.4.7 Signs
* Signs must conform to all Land Development Code sign requirements
* Attached signs are permitted only on the main office/security building. Signs are prohibited on storage unit buildings.

412.4.8 Fencing and screening
* Fencing must conform to Land Development Code fence and wall requirements.
* Perimeter fencing, security fencing, and entry gates must be constructed of attractive materials that are compatible with the design and materials used throughout the site. Acceptable fencing types include masonry, decorative metal and wrought iron, with regular recesses and centers to break up long stretches, are encouraged. Barbed wire, stockade fencing, and chain link fencing are prohibited.

412.4.9 Outdoor lighting
* Lighting must conform to Development Code lighting requirements.
* Night lighting and security lighting must be sensitively designed to ensure no off-site glare is directed to neighboring parcels and that the overall intensity of the site lighting is not excessive.
* Excessive night security lighting is discouraged, and other security measures should be considered.
* Building mounted sconces must be used instead of freestanding light poles wherever possible.
* When a mini-storage facility is adjacent to a residential zone, pole mounted lights must be turned off between 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM.


Cyburbian Emeritus
Dans' regs are good, but in the absence of similar local codes, just keep in mind that your plan commission has VERY BROAD local authority to regulate public welfare. Include findings why the idea is bad in the denial, and it will hold.


add'l info

Thanks for the feedback.

Here's a little more info. about the proposal:

Cleary, access mgt. rules apply. Our Code is adequate here (I updated the rules about one year ago) but the developer proposes no curb cuts. The loading and unloading for the seven 5' x 10' units (part of a larger 40-unit complex where the remainder of the units would be accessed from private property) would occur from a public sidewalk. To me, it's clearly a pedestrian conflict/ADA-issue, but then again a 10-foot sidewalk may solve that obstacle (at least in theory).

BTW, although the extensive mini-storage standards explained above are very good (and appreciated), I'm afraid my 'lil city is not quite ready for this level of gub-ment oversight.