DeKALB – The DeKalb Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-0 during its meeting Wednesday evening to move forward on proposed changes for the city’s Unified Development Ordinance that would allow self-storage facilities to occupy currently vacant commercial space.
The commission will recommend that the City Council approve the proposed changes to current zoning ordinances, which were submitted by developer Jim Mason.
If the council passes the proposed amendments, Mason will be able to make two of his vacant properties into climate-controlled storage facilities. Those properties are the estimated 10,000-square-foot former Finest Furniture building at 1500 Sycamore Road and the estimated 21,000-square-foot former Sullivan’s grocery store building at 1401 S. Fourth St.
“It’s a great opportunity to improve some areas in our city,” commission chairwoman Christina Atherton said to Mason after thanking him for bringing up the matter.
Commissioners Vicki Buckley and Jerry Wright were absent from the meeting.
Mason first brought the proposal to the commission during its Jan. 17 meeting. The plan was well-received then by commissioners and members of the public.
“Everybody was excited about it, and I kind of thought this would be the case,” Mason said after the commission made the recommendation for the City Council to approve the zoning ordinance amendments.
Community members and commissioners said there is a need for more available storage spaces, and the developments would help bring more business into the surrounding areas.
Dan Olson, who is principal planner for the commission, said the proposal also shows that the spaces are obsolete for their original purpose, since they have been vacant for years.
“We had testimony from business owners that it’s a good idea that allows maybe a former retail space that’s having difficulty getting somebody in there to open it up to this indoor self-storage-type use,” Olson said.
Olson said the proposed changes will be discussed during a March meeting of the City Council.