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City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 12/18/2018  
Subject:    Consider Appeal of Planning Commission Decision, Planning Case 18-18, Site Plan/Conditional Use Permit, Self Storage Facility, Green Partnership
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

On November 15th the Planning Commission denied a site plan and conditional use permit for a self storage facility for Green Partnership at Vale Street/Coon Rapids Boulevard Extension and Coon Rapids Boulevard. On November 26th the City received an appeal to that decision from the applicant. The Council may affirm, amend or reject the decision of the Planning Commission.
In support of their appeal, the applicant has provided an artist rendering of the view of the site from the area of Coon Rapids Boulevard and Coon Rapids Boulevard Extension. They have also provided a revised site plan that includes two benches along Vale Street.  

The Planning Commission based their denial of the Conditional use permit on the following:

The use is not in conformance with the City’s Comprehensive Plan for the following reasons:
  1. The proposal is located between two nodes, PORT Evergreen and PORT Riverwalk. The proposed use is neither residential nor institutional. It is also not an office or commercial use that might promote interaction between residents.
  2. The proposed use does not support a sense of community or encourage interaction among neighbors. The proposed use will have a limited number of employees with limited public access.
  3. The River Rapids Overlay District design guidelines were established to support the concept of creating a positive first impression. The proposed use does not meet the conditional use requirements of the Overlay District nor does it meet all of the design guidelines.
The use is not compatible with the existing or intended character of the zoning district.

The proposed use is in a location that is one of the portals to the River Rapids Overlay District and PORT Riverwalk. The proposed use will not enhance the image of the district and it is not a use that encougaes interaction between residents. 

The proposed use is not in compliance with the River Rapids Overlay District CUP Standards
Advance the intent of the River Rapids Overlay District 
The proposal does not encourage a compact, vigorous mixed use development. It is a single use project consisting of one story buildings spread out over five acres.
The proposed project does not meet this criteria because the limited activity generated by a self-storage facility will not foster a sense of community, provide an opportunity for people to travel comfortably throughout the District or conduct business. 
Only mutually compatible uses shall be allowed through a combination of careful planning, inovative urban design, and coordinated public and private investment. Uses, building designs, placement of building edges, and landscaping, parking, and walkway treatments must create a neighborhood-oriented, pedestrian-friendly environment. This is a simple series of one story self storage buildings that incorporates none of the above enhancements.

Will not interfere with PORT development
Port Riverwalk is adjacent to the project site on the south side of Coon Rapids Boulevard. It has been designated as primarilly residential. The City's plans for PORT Riverwalk include a detached single family home development. Allowing this site to be developed as a self-storage facility with limited architectural enhancements and other physical site amenities will detract from the desirability of the PORT and the City's investments. This area of Coon Rapids Boulevard also functions as an entry point and provides a first impression to the River Rapids Overlay District and PORT Riverwalk for travelers coming from the south and east. Given the site's high visibility and prominence, it is important that the development of this site reflects that priority; the proposed project does not accomplish that.
Is incorporated into a plan that provides substantial site amenities, buffers, and other elements

The proposed use is incorporated into a plan that does not provide substantial site amenities, buffers or other elements. The landscaping meets the city code and provides the minimum buffer required; it does not rise to the level of substantial. The are no site amenities, such as a designated outdoor seating area, or other elements included in the plan.
It is not feasible to install a public sidewalk to serve the facility
There is the ability to install a sidewalk from Coon Rapids Boulevard along the southwest side of the site. Based on the grading plan, the area between Coon Rapids Boulevard and the site levels off enough to accommodate a sidewalk to serve the site from Coon Rapids Boulevard.

The Planning Commission based their decision to deny the site plan on the following:
  1. The associated request for a conditional use permit was denied.
  2. The site plan does meet the the development guidelines found in Section 11-1003.1

In the appeal of Planning Case 18-18, site plan and conditional use permit- Green Partnership, staff recommends the City Council uphold the Planning Commission decision denying the site plan and conditional use permit. The Council may affirm, amend or reject the decision of the Planning Commission.

Location Map
Appeal Letter
Artist Rendering of site from Coon Rapids Blvd
Revised Site Plan - added benches on Vale St
Draft November 15 PC Minutes
Development Plans
Building Elevations

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