Oregon City Council on Monday approved a Special Use Exception permit to expand a self-storage facility onto the rear of a neighboring parcel on the property at 3310 Dustin Road.
Council approved the permit in a C-4 district. Jim Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning, said the property required a Special use Exception because it was not zoned correctly. The property with storage units is zoned C-2, and the lot for expansion of the storage units is zoned C-4.
The applicant is Jerome R. Parker, attorney for contract vendee Henry Ford Health System, Inc.
“The property is on the south side of Dustin, directly in back of the Henry Ford facility,” said Gilmore. “The applicant has asked for the Special Use Permit to expand the storage facility.”
The Oregon Plan Commission voted 4-0 following a public hearing on March 19 to recommend approval, dependent on certain conditions, such as the submission of a full site plan showing drainage and landscaping, and providing access to the fire department through the Henry Ford facility, said Gilmore. Parker agreed to submit the site plan after council approved the measure.
Parker said he has no problem complying with all the conditions.
Council approved an amendment requested by Councilman Jerry Peach that restricts outdoor storage. Peach had noted that the plan commission had wanted reassurances that the project would expand the storage units, but would not be used for outdoor storage of boats, campers, and other vehicles.
“The additional condition I would like council to adopt states that no storage outside buildings shall be permitted except as permitted by city regulations regarding containers for garbage in a C-4 business district,” said Peach.
Council member Sandy Bihn asked if there would be any screening or buffering requirements on the lot line or behind the Henry Ford facility between the two lots.
Gilmore said a 10 foot buffer is required on the south side of the parcel.
“We can achieve that in many different ways, one being plantings, or a fence would be appropriate,” he said.
“So will the storage facility with this buffer be visible from Dustin behind the Henry Ford complex?” asked Bihn.
“Yes, it will be visible from Dustin,” said Gilmore.
“I’m questioning whether we have a nice facility with a nice layout. Storage facilities are arguably of lesser value and don’t produce jobs. I’m trying to make sure that Dustin is as attractive as can be,” said Bihn.
Councilman Mike Sheehy also had concerns that the storage facility expansion would be visible from a nearby residential area.
Administrator Mike Beazley said there are instances “where we don’t see storage as the highest and best use.”
“With the conditions on it, we felt like there’s really not a lot of places to go. It’s hard to make something out of the land behind this development. When you drive down the street, you can already see the storage back there. It’s not going to be dramatically visible,” said Beazley.
“When they put this forward, are they going to extend the same style of buildings west, and how close can they go to the lot line?” asked Bihn.
Seferian said they would have to comply with the building code.
“Once again, I’m sure they’re going to organize the buildings into utilizing the best bang for the buck, whether they’re putting them up parallel or perpendicular to the existing ones there. I’m going to guess it’s going to be a formula where they will go to their developer to make the best use out of the land that’s there with the restrictions on side yard and back yard setbacks. Then it becomes what the zoning code allows,” said Seferian.
Sheehy said he wanted to make sure that the amendment made it clear that there would be no outside storage of vehicles.
“I’m not opposed to this and plan to vote for it,” said Sheehy. “But appreciate that we’re trying all the time to make things look better. We take a lot of pride in that corridor, and we still have great hope for it.”
“I don’t mean to disagree, but we don’t see this as violating the integrity of the Dustin Road corridor because it’s a remnant and a useless piece, unless it gets used for something to the side of it,” said Parker. “We thought, quite frankly, it was an unobnoxious use. There’s not a lot of traffic generated by it, not a lot of safety concerns about it. It’s a pretty safe, dormant, quiet use. Very little of it will be seen off Dustin and whatever the landscaping requirements are - site plan, access - we will comply with it. There will be no outside storage of anything, other than refuse or debris containers.”