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Planning Commission Regular
Meeting Date: 04/18/2019  
Subject:    PC 19-7, Site Plan/CUP Self Storage, 3021 124 Ave, Metro Storage
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

Metro Storage, the applicant, is requesting site plan and conditional use permit approval of a three story, 138,000 square foot, indoor self storage facility.
Conduct a public hearing
Decision by Planning Commission
Appeal to City Council available
The applicant submitted this application on: February 27, 2019

To comply with the requirements of Minnesota Statute §15.99, the City must approve or deny the application by: April 28, 2019
The property is located at 3021 124th Avenue
  Existing Use Comprehensive Plan Zoning
Undeveloped General Commercial General Commercial
North Main Street N/A N/A
South 124th Avenue/Single Family Residential Low Density Residential Low Density Residential 2
East Office General Commercial General Commercial
West Highway 10 and twin homes Right-of-way and Office Low Density Residential 2

The applicant is proposing to construct a 138,000 square foot indoor self storage facility. The building will be three stories high and will contain about 1084 storage units. The site is 2.73 acres and is fairly flat. The building and parking comply with the setback requirements from property lines. However, code requires a five foot setback between the building and parking and drive aisles. The site plan should be revised to provide that five foot setback. The maximum building coverage is 40%, the plan has 39.5%. At least 25% of the site must be landscaped, the plan has 26%. There are two driveways from 124th Avenue that provide access to the site.

The is no outdoor storage proposed. All storage units will be accessed from inside the building. There is a central drive aisle that is accessed from the south side of the building with the exit on the north side. The drive aisle is 21 feet wide, with 11' deep x 9' wide parallel parking stalls along the left side.

Site Plan Criteria
Required Finding - Chapter 11-325 - General Requirements for All Site Plans Staff Analysis and Comments
(1) Be compatible with surrounding land uses OK - The proposed site plan is compatible with the adjacent land uses. The adjacent land uses are a mix of  office, commercial and residential.
(2) Preserve existing natural features whenever possible OK- N/A
(3) Achieve a safe and efficient circulation system OK – The drive aisles are of sufficient width to allow for safe and efficient traffic circulation. Access to the site is from 124th Avenue. The two driveways from 124th allow for circular traffic flow around the building.
(4) Not place excessive traffic loads on local streets OK – The proposed expansion will not place excessive loads on the local streets.
(5) Conform to the City’s plans for parks, streets, service drives, and walkways N/A  
(6) Conform to the City’s Goals and Policies OK – The project does not require any variance or flexibility (i.e. use or design).
(7) Achieve a maximum of safety, convenience, and amenities OK – An internal sidewalk system connects the building entrance with the parking lot. Lighting is provided for the parking lot and driveway. The lights will have shields and cut offs so that the light is directed away from adjacent properties. The lighting plan will have to comply with city ordinance.
(8) Show sufficient landscaping OK – See discussion below
(9) Not create detrimental disturbances to surrounding properties OK – The project will not create disturbances which will be detrimental to the surrounding properties.
(10) Meet Title 11 OK - No variances are required.
(11) Show efforts to conserve energy whenever practical OK

Grading, Drainage and Utilities
Grading, drainage and utilities are addressed in the engineering memo.

Parking and Access
There are 13 exterior parking spaces and 11 interior parking spaces. City code does not list a minimum parking requirement for self storage facilities. The City recently approved a similar facility with 12 spaces and two interior loading bays. The applicant has addressed the parking demands in their narrative and staff finds it satisfactory.  There are two driveways from 124th Avenue. One is aligned with the entrance to the building and the other aligns with the drive aisle on the west side of the building. The location of the driveways allows for customers to enter the building, exit on the north end and circle around the west side and leave the site. There is also a drive aisle on the east side of the building.


Street Frontage
Along 124th Avenue five trees are required; the applicant is proposing seven oaks, two more than required. Along Main Street seven trees are also required; there are four existing trees. Because of the size and placement of the trees, it is not practical to plant addtional trees along Main Street. The applicant is proposing to plant 144 shrubs alon Main Street, the code requires 55. The plan includes 33 shrubs along 124th, code requires 43. Because of the stormwater basins it is not practical to plant additional shrubs along 124th.

Open Space
The landscape plan includes landcaping in all open areas of the site. Seven overstory trees, hackberry and honey locust, are proposed along the east property line. Also included in that area are five ornamental trees, three evergreens and two beds of shrubs. Along the west property line are four evergreens, four ornamentals and four shrub beds. No overstory trees are proposed in this area because of space limitations. Even though the plan is somewhat short on the number of shrubs and ornamental trees, due to space constraints, the open space area is landscaped to the maximum extent practical.

Stormwater Basin
The stormwater basin on Outlot A is also landscaped. The plan includes four evergreens, four service berry trees and six dogwood shrubs to buffer the view of the basin for the adjacent residences. Shrubs and service berry trees are proposed on the north and west sides of the basin. The installation of the basin requires the removal of 13 trees. Additional shrubs and trees should be provided to give the basin a more natural feeling. This area was not included in the open space calculations.

There is one ground sign proposed. The sign is located along Main Street and complies with the setback requirement; the sign requires a separate sign permit. The ground sign for the adjacent office building is also located on this site. The property is allowed one ground sign. The issue must be resolved prior to the isuance of a building permit. Two wall signs are shown on the building elevations. The wall signs are not approved as part of this site plan and require separate permits.

Building Elevations
Required Findings - 11-700 Commercial District Requirements Staff Comment
Building Massing - variation, staggering, columns, short/uneven facades OK – The proposed changes in material and color and the recessed windows and canopies over the doors provide a visual break in the building's mass. The east and west sides are also broken up with 10 foot bump outs to provide relief in the elevations.
Building Facades - articulation, awnings, window treatments, entries facing the street OK –  The windows will be recessed and canopies will be over the entrances. The northeast corner includes a bank of windows on all three floors. The main entrance faces Main Street.
Roof Shapes – variety through use of pitched, gable, or hip roofs or detailed parapets and cornices OK – Variations in the parapet provided variety to the roofline.
Focal Element - elevation, towers, emphasis, canopies, entrance, etc. OK – The glass canopy at northeast corner provides a focal element to the building. This is the main entrance to the building.
Building Materials - high quality, allowed types, accents. OK– The building is constructed of architectural pre-cast panels with multiple finishes. The upper two floors include a brick finish with real brick inserts around the windows. The base includes a limestone finish with stone accents. The materials are continued on all sides of the building.
Dumpster Enclosure The dumpster enclosure is proposed to be located on the south side of the building. This side faces the residences along 124th Avenue. It should be moved to the east side of the building or the dumpster should be stored inside the building.

Internal Lighting
Most indoor self storage facilities have illuminated hallways that are visible from the outside. They tend to be brightly lit with the bright storage unit doors very visible. This facility is no different, the glass at the northwest corner is highly visible with the bright interior storage unit doors illuminated. To address this issue, the Commission should consider the standard use at the recently approved Foley Boulevard/101st Avenue project. That condition required the applicant to utilize interior and exterior lighting using warm color temperatures not to exceed 4100 kelvin lumen output.  Staff would recommend a similar condition for this application.

Compliance with Conditional Use Permit Standards, Chapter 11-304.3
Standards Staff Comment
The use shall be in conformance with the City’s comprehensive Plan. OK – The Comprehensive Plan has identified this site as Commercial. The proposed self storage facility is allowed with a conditional use permit.
The use shall not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare. OK – The proposed use will not create any effects that will be detrimental to the public health safety or welfare.
The use shall be compatible with the existing or intended character of the zoning district. OK – The proposed use is compatible with the mixed use character of the district.
The use shall not depreciate property values. OK – The use will not depreciate property values.
The use shall not produce dangerous or detrimental noises, glare, smoke, dust, odor, water pollution, vibration or other nuisances. OK – The self storage facility will not create detrimental or dangerous nuisances.
The use shall not create traffic congestion, unsafe access or inconvenience parking needs. OK – The site plan shows sufficient parking on site to accommodate this use. The proposed use will generate minimal traffic compared to other allowed uses.
The use shall be served adequately by essential services. OK – The essential services currently available to the site are sufficient to serve the proposed use.
The use shall not create excessive additional requirements at public cost for public facilities and services. OK – The proposed use will not require additional public facilities or services.
The use shall preserve and incorporate the site’s important natural features into the development design. N/A
The use shall cause minimal adverse environmental effects. OK – There will be no adverse environmental effects resulting from the proposed use.
The Council may waive one or more of the above requirements provided they make a determination that the public interest is best served by such a waiver. N/A

In Planning Case 19-7, the Planning Commission move to approve the proposed conditional use permit based on the finding that it complies with the standards found in Section 11-304.3 and approve the site plan with the following conditions:
  1. Compliance with Title 11
  2. All engineering comments be addressed.
  3. All MNDOT and Anoka County Highway comments be addressed
  4. The trash enclosure should be moved to the east side of the building or the dumpster should be stored inside the building. If kept outside, the trash enclosure be constructed of masonry material compatible with the building and include a durable gate.
  5. All landscape areas must be irrigated.
  6. Additional shrubs and trees be provided around the stormwater basin to give the basin a more natural feeling.
  7. The ground sign for the adjacent office building is located on this site. The sign for the adjacent property is not allowed on this site; the issue must be resolved prior to the issuance of a building permit.
  8. The wall signs are not approved as part of this site plan and require separate permits.
  9. The site plan must be revised to provide a five foot setback between the building and parking and drives.
  10. The applicant must utilize interior and exterior llighting using warm color temperatures not to exceed 4100 Kelvin lumen output.

Location Map
Site Plan
Grading Plan
Landscape Plan
Building Elevations
Main Street View
Applicant's Narrative
Engineering Comments

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