The developer of Main Street Oak Ridge on Thursday said it has an “immediate opportunity” for a climate-controlled self storage facility at the 58-acre site.
The self storage facility, which could be along Rutgers Avenue, could be three stories, with a maximum height of 35 feet. It could have about the same “footprint” as Dick’s Sporting Goods. It would have internal elevators and minimal parking, and it would be very attractive and have a minimal impact, said Brett Rogers, construction director for RealtyLink, the developer. There would be a sales office on the bottom floor. RealtyLink would self-develop the facility.
Rogers showed examples of two similar facilities in Knoxville and one each in Hardin Valley and Farragut during an Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission meeting on Thursday evening.
A market study showed high demand for this type of facility, Rogers said.
He responded to a question from Planning Commission about the proposed timeline for the project, which would require a zoning ordinance amendment. As soon as possible, Rogers said.
The zoning text amendment would allow an indoor self storage facility in a zoning district known as UB-2, Unified General Business Districts. That type of use was removed from that type of district in 2015, said Nathalie Schmidt, Oak Ridge senior planner. It’s currently a non-allowed use.
Among other things, city officials could now add a definition for a self storage facility as a commercial use.
But there was no motion for considering a zoning text amendment on Thursday, so it “died” for lack of action.
However, after additional discussion and recognizing that planning commissioners still have unanswered questions, officials said they didn’t have any specific language to consider yet. Planning Commission then agreed, after input from consultant Ray Evans and a motion by Commissioner Charlie Hensley, to have the city staff develop the specific language to consider and then bring it back to the Planning Commission, possibly at a work session for discussion.
There has been some opposition to the proposed self storage facility at Main Street Oak Ridge. One resident expressed opposition to the proposal during Thursday’s meeting, saying he was disappointed to see the storage units on Emory Valley Road and he doesn’t think they are attractive.
The discussion of the self storage facility on Thursday followed a 7-1 vote by Planning Commission to recommend a revised plan for Main Street Oak Ridge. Among other things, that revised plan would allow four new stores to be built between PetSmart and JCPenney, remove the access road that connects Rutgers Avenue to the roundabout at Main Street, remove the multi-family residential units that had been proposed in the area between Walmart and JCPenney, and designate mixed-use development areas along Wilson Street as part of phase three of the project.
The revised plan still has to be considered by the Oak Ridge City Council.
Asked about the four new stores between PetSmart and JCPenney, Rogers told planning commissioners that RealtyLink is negotiating leases with three national tenants.
See the Planning Commission agenda here.
See previous story here.
See more Main Street Oak Ridge stories here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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