Pickerington Times-Sun

Massive self-storage facility proposed at Milnor-Refugee

Violet trustees set to consider variances and rezoning for facility

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A proposal to build a large self-storage facility at Milnor and Refugee roads in unincorporated Violet Township is sparking controversy and homeowners in the area are vowing to fight the plan.

The Violet Township Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public hearing Thursday, March 20, to consider a variance application filed by Storage One Self-Storage for a proposed storage facility in township.

The proposed complex would be more than twice the size currently allowed under township zoning and area homeowners say that is just one of many concerns they have.

The hearing will be in the Violet Township Administrative Building, 12970 Rustic Drive in Pickerington.

Storage One wants to locate the facility on 10.44 acres of vacant land on the southeast corner of Milnor and Refugee Roads. The land is currently owned by Sybil Heim.

The variance request applies to only the western 7.6 acres of the parcel, which is in the township's Planned Residential Development District.

Storage One is seeking variances to:

• Allow a self-service storage facility to occupy a larger area than permitted under current limits.

• Deviate from required setbacks.

• Allow delinquent sales auctions to occur on the site

• Allow for building height greater than current limits.

• Waive the requirement for loading spaces.

Current lot size limit in Violet Township for a self-storage site is 3 acres. Storage One seeks a variance to expand the acreage to 7.6 acres.

Limits on self-storage use also prohibit auctions or sales, but delinquent auctions are required to be held under the Ohio Revised Code in order to vacate delinquent units.

"They are held as needed and will provide minimal disruption to current customers and neighboring properties," Storage One President James Johnson wrote in his variance application.

Kelly Sarko, Violet Township's Chief Zoning Inspector, said the 7.6-acre portion parcel will also have to be rezoned from PD to C-2 Limited Commercial in order for Storage One to construct its facility.

The Violet Township Board of Trustees are scheduled to consider the rezoning matter at 8 p.m. April 2 in the Violet Township Administrative Building.

Plans call for Storage One to have 10 white storage barns of varying lengths on the site. Sarko said the operating hours would be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

She said remaining 2.096 acres on the east end of the parcel are not being rezoned. Those acres are part of the Spring Creek Preliminary Plan.

A multi-tenant commercial building with parking is slated for the smaller parcel, Sarko said.

"They will have four or five tenant spaces, maybe offices and a daycare," she said.

The entire 10.44-acre parcel lies adjacent to the Spring Creek Colony condominiums, located in Violet Township, and the Spring Creek housing subdivision, which consists of single-family homes in the city of Pickerington.

Sarko said she mailed 216 letters to adjacent property owners who are located within a 500-foot buffer around Heim's property.

Mark Vanderhoff, who owns a house in the Spring Creek subdivision, said the proposed storage development is not a good fit for the area.

"A residential neighborhood, active with young families and children, is entirely incompatible with the presence of a neighboring storage facility," Vanderhoff said.

Vanderhoff said he and his neighbors are concerned property values in the Spring Creek subdivision will plummet with a storage facility "a matter of feet from family homes."

With plans for the facility's entrance off Spring Creek Drive rather than Refugee Road, Vanderhoff predicts an increase in commercial traffic "both in and out of the development" on a residential street.

He also voiced concerns about the potential noise and light pollution that a proposed facility could generate.

"Those things are lit 24/7," he said of the storage facility's lights.

"There are a lot of things there that really don't connect well with the neighboring residents."

Johnson wrote in his variance application that noise would be minimal and "lighting would be deflected, shaded and focused away from adjoining properties."

Feb. 6, the Fairfield County Regional Planning Commission recommended rezoning the 7.6-acre parcel, based on it being identified with "commercial-type uses" in accordance with the Violet Township Land Use Plan.

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