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Orange planners endorse self-storage plans

The Orange County Planning Commission is recommending approval of a rezoning and special-use permit request to allow a self-storage facility on State Route 20 next to Lake of the Woods.

At a public hearing Thursday, Stephen McLean, a LOW resident, initially requested a rezoning from Agricultural to General Commercial (C2) for the 10.8 acres located approximately one-third of a mile east of the intersection of Flat Run Road. He also requested a special-use permit to allow operation of a self-storage facility he proposes to build there.

The property abuts a section of Lake of the Woods on the south side of Confederate Drive. The county zoning ordinance requires a 50-foot setback or buffer between a C2-zoned parcel and any adjacent agricultural or residential use.

Speaking on behalf of the LOW Association, Bruce Kay urged the planners to consider zoning the property Limited Commercial (C1) instead of C2. Among the differences between the two classifications is the restriction on building heights allowed. C1 zoning restricts heights to 40 feet, while C2 allows 100 feet.

Kay also requested a 100-foot buffer between the property and LOW and voiced concerns over several other items, including retention ponds, light spillover, Dumpsters and drive lanes within the storage facility. He asked for a prohibition on businesses operating out of a storage unit there.

Noting that he had originally been advised by the county staff to apply for the C2 classification, McLean modified his request to seek the C1 zoning instead. He said he had no plans for buildings greater than 40 feet high.

He also said motion sensors will control much of the proposed lighting, which will also be directed downward to limit spillover. In addition, McLean said, he plans no admittance after 9 p.m.

He also indicated that, except for possible storage of inventory, businesses will not be allowed to operate out of his storage units.

The county planning and zoning staff recommended approval of both requests.

The commissioners voted 4-1 to endorse the requests, subject to several restrictions. They include a 50-foot natural/tree buffer along the sides and rear of the property, limiting freestanding signs to no more than 10-feet high, and screening for stored motor vehicles and boats so that they will not be visible from any public right of way.

The dissenting vote was cast by Commissioner Nigel Goodwin, whose district includes Lake of the Woods.

The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision on the requests.

Dan McFarland:


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