Thursday, March 23, 2023

North Greenville Self Storage making plans for expansion

Greenville Planning Commission public hearing to be held July 22

GREENVILLE — Looking to meet the growing need of providing additional storage, one local storage unit facility is planning to expand its capacity.

With six storage unit buildings already constructed since opening in 2017, the new owner of North Greenville Self Storage, located at 6910 S. Greenville Road (M-91) in Greenville, is asking the Greenville Planning Commission to grant approval for another two additional buildings to be constructed on the property, which would result in a final total of eight storage unit buildings. — DN Photo | Cory Smith

During the June 24 meeting of the Greenville Planning Commission, John Francis of Portage Industrial LLC in Grand Rapids requested approval to amend a special land use permit to expand North Greenville Self Storage at 6910 S. Greenville Road (M-91).

After reviewing Francis’ site plan during a workshop session, the Planning Commission voted unanimously, with Commissioner Linnea Rash absent, to schedule a July 22 public hearing and then vote on the request.

According to City Planner Tim Johnson, while the self storage project was initially approved by the commission in 2016, any possible plans for expansion were not included in that original approval, meaning an amended special use permit is required.

Currently, North Greenville Self Storage features six buildings on site, with Francis proposing to construct two more buildings.

“Five approved buildings have been constructed, plus a sixth building along the north lot line which was not included on the (original) approved site plan,” Johnson said. “I am not aware of why this building was allowed to be built.”

According to Robert Berends, a senior project manager at Nederveld Inc. which is the Grand Rapids engineering firm hired by Francis to design the project, the construction of the sixth building without approval from the Planning Commission was an oversight.

North Greenville Self Storage, located at 6910 S. Greenville Road (M-91) in Greenville, opened in 2017 and is looking to expand its capacity with the potential construction of another two storage unit buildings. — DN Photo | Cory Smith

“We submitted a site plan last year for a building permit through the city hall,” Berends said. “My understanding is we came in, applied for a building permit, and received that permit working through the process. Unbeknownst to staff at the time was that it wasn’t part of the (original) special land use request.”

Part of that confusion comes from the fact that when approved by the commission in 2016, the property was owned and developed by Zarkowski Properties LLC.

Plans for the expansion of three additional buildings after the original five were constructed didn’t come to fruition until after Francis purchased the property.

However, members of the commission didn’t raise any objections to the sixth building during their workshop session nor did they raise any major concerns with the additional proposed two buildings.

“The intent would be to build a 2,200 square foot building, then next year as demand requires, look to build the last 1,900-square foot building a year or two down the road,” Berends said. “We just want to get cleaned up with all of our special land use requests that are necessary.”

With the property being located near several residences in adjacent Eureka Township, Vice Chairman Greg VanderMark expressed concern over the potential of trees, some that serve as a natural buffer, potentially being eliminated as part of the project.

“The new building that you are proposing along the north property line … the former owner of your property, when he put in pavement along the buildings, he was very careful not to remove trees — a lot of trees. Are you going to be able to follow what he did to the east of the pavement?” VanderMark asked.

According to Berends, no trees will be removed as part of the expansion.

“There are no trees that have to be removed for buildings seven and eight,” he said. “The original approval in 2016 was for five buildings. One along the south, then four running in a north-south direction. The sixth building was not in the original approval, but that building is there as well.”

Chairman David Ralph said potential approval of the final site plan at the July 22 meeting will come down to ensuring stipulations of the original 2016 request, such as specifics regarding landscaping and color and style of buildings, will continue to be met going forward.

“The key point, ultimately, is that when we get to final consideration, we want to confirm that the requirements that were put in place with original approval remain in place,” he said.

Francis said he doesn’t expect there to be any deviations from those original conditions.

“Basically, these are kits you order from a manufacturer,” he said. “It’s the same manufacturer, the same color, the same everything.”

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