Slinger panel: No recommendation on new self storage facility
Plan Commission reviewed concept of developer’s proposal

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

April 27, 2017

SLINGER — The village’s Plan Commission Wednesday night appeared to give a cool reception to possible construction of a 10-building self storage facility on a site along American Eagle Drive.

Developer Kevin Dittmar is proposing the construction of about 52,000 square feet of enclosed self storage space on a 4.42 acre property on the south side of American Eagle Drive and bounded on the west by the Interstate 41 northbound on-ramp and Highway 60. Once the entire project is built-out to the complete plan the property could add $1.8 million-$2 million to the village’s tax base.

But, some members of the Plan Commission said the site might not be the right one for Dittmar’s project. One reason being the property has access to sewer and water which a self storage facility does not need.

“By having a building constructed there that does not use village sewer and water it takes away future funding for growth for our sewer and water utility,” said Department of Public Works Director and Village Engineer Jim Haggerty.

Dittmar said his proposal is a good use of the property, would generate additional tax revenue for the village and his company has a good track record of operating such facilities in other communities.

“The last submitted solid proposal for using the property was back in about 2205 or 2006,” said Village Planner Marty Marchek. “It appeared it was going to happen, but then it fell through and we’ve had no other solid proposals since.”

Village Trustee and Plan Commissioner Lee Fredericks said he doesn’t believe Dittmar’s proposal is the best way to use the property.

“There will be other better opportunities that will come forward for the property’s use,” Fredericks said. “We need to be patient and let the economy take it’s course.”

Dittmar appeared to cast some doubt on other such opportunities coming soon.

“There is a lot of empty retail space in the village,” Dittmar said.

Village President and Plan Commission Chairman Russ Brandt said there must be other sites, that don’t have access to sewer and water, that would be a better location.

“We’re not in a position tonight to say yes or no on your proposal,” Brandt said. “Yes or no comes after a public hearing is held.”

Brandt said any decision by the Plan Commission on granting a possible conditional use permit for Dittmar’s project would have to come after a public hearing. Marchek said Dittmar has already started the formal process to have the hearing take place.

Dittmar said earlier that he would not construct all 10 buildings immediately.

“We would start with probably three buildings and then let the economy dictate when the others would be built,” Dittmar said.

Dittmar told the Commission the buildings would be built using a courtyard concept, would have cameras for security, a wrought iron fence, a gate and an employee would be living on site.

Carla Dunn, vice president of sales and administration for Dittmar Realty Inc. said earlier the significant features that will distinguish this project from other self-storage facilities will include a substantial investment in architectural upgrades, including 30 percent brick on exterior walls, cedar-style shakes under gables, numerous windows, decorative awnings and landscaped planting beds.

“The buildings have been designed such that all doors face the interior of the site and all lighting will be comprised of ‘cut-off fixtures which prevent illumination from extending beyond the property boundary,” Dunn said.

Plans call for the self storage space to be divided into various sizes including 10 feet by 10 feet, 10 by 20, 10 by 30, and 12 by 30. They expect to have sizes not contained in traditional facilities to accommodate larger boats and campers.

Village ordinance states “self storage facilities may be less desirable that other higher quality uses in certain commercial and industrial zoning districts. This is due to a lack of job creation, lower quality buildings and site improvements and a less desirable visual appearance than other land uses.”

The ordinance also states “self storage facilities should be located on sites which have locational characteristics which may be adverse to accommodating higher quality land uses.”

The site is zoned B-2 Commercial Business which allows self storage facilities as a conditional use.

“There will be other better opportunities that will come forward for the property’s use. We need to be patient and let the economy take it’s course.”