With 10 such facilities currently operating in Palm Coast and a few more in the pipeline, yet one more self-storage facility is opening in the city.
The Palm Coast Planning Board last week approved a special exception for Horizon Self-Storage, a 98,400 square foot facility on 7 acres off U.S. 1, immediately across from the rapidly sprawling Sawmill Creek development.
All those people moving into their brand new homes there are going to need space for their stuff. A house is no longer enough. “When you see all these residents, all these houses that are in the vicinity, all those people that have junk in their yards or out in their driveways or in their garages, put them in self storage,” Robert Merrell of the Cobb Cole law firm, who represents the developer, told the planning board. “Everything cleans up so you can probably get rid of half of your code enforcement personnel because a lot of them are out there dealing with people who are putting junk in their yard.”
Merrell may have been exaggerating a little, but he had a point: Self-storage facilities may be helping cities control code enforcement violations. The addition of nearly a dozen self-storage facilities in Palm Coast over the last few years, with a few in Flagler Beach and a few more in unincorporated Flagler County, has in fact coincided with a flattening out of code enforcement personnel in Palm Coast over the past 10 years, despite a surge in the local population.
The city’s Code Enforcement Department has gone from a $2.1 million operation in 2013, with 25 full-time employees, to a $3.3 million operation this year–with the same number of employees.
But how affordable will such a facility be, a planning board member asked. Dugan Gravage of Barnard Construction in Bozeman, Mont., who also represents Horizon, said the cost would be market driven–but rent would be around $2 to $2.50 per square foot a month of rentable space indoor. The average storage unit is 10 by 10 feet, resulting in a rent cost of $220 a month. ‘That’s what we’re seeing in the market currently,” Gravage said.
The self-storage facility is on the East side of U.S. 1, a stone’s throw from London Drive, and about 1.2 miles north of Matanzas Woods Parkway. The parcel is owned by B&B Holdings of Palm Coast, a corporation that lists three Massachusetts-based owners in its corporate documents. Their Palm Coast manager is designer and artist Paul Beaulieu.
Horizon would provide 637 indoor storage units for rent, and 40 spaces for recreational vehicles and boats.
According to a traffic study by Mark Dowst and Associates submitted as part of the plans, The facility would generate 145 daily car trips, significantly less than what a retail shopping plaza would generate (3,426 trips in the consultant’s calculation). Existing zoning allows for uses such as restaurants, home improvement centers and hotels, each of which would generate more trips.
Board members were more concerned about buffering the facility from a handful of properties to the north and east, rather than from across U.S. 1. Just five property owners were notified by the city of the pending land-use hearing. Notifications went out only to properties abutting the proposed development.
“This is a permitted use in this zoning classification. There are certain criteria we have to meet,” Merrell said. “The architecture that you see is not the old orange roll-up doors you used to see with self-storage that people didn’t tend to like so much. So this is what you’re seeing now in the marketplace for self storage.” He said the self-storage facility will produce less traffic “than a few houses would produce,” and would be self-contained, safe, with low impacts on water and sewer infrastructure.
The city’s planners recommended approval of the project, with conditions. Those include an eight-foot-tall fence north and east of the facility. Heavy trucks and semis, shipping containers, big buses and construction equipment may not be stored there. The facility may not operate any kind of vehicle rental or leasing operation, nor may users of self-storage units operate businesses out of those units.
“It’s going to be behind a bunch of pine trees,” Merrell said, making “a natural buffer; you’ll never see the building even though it’s going to be nicely architecturally treated.”
“Today, we have more than 50,000 self-storage facilities operating in the United States. There’s nearly 6 square feet of storage for every person in America! Does this mean the industry is overbuilt? Yes, most certainly—in some markets,” Jeffrey Turnbull wrote last January in Inside Self-Storage, an industry advocate. (According to self-storage.com, Florida beats the national average, with 6.29 square feet of space per Floridian.)
Nevertheless, Turnbull wrote, “Self-storage has never been better. It continues to be a successful and strong asset class for investors. Capital is readily available for new construction as well as renovation and expansion of existing sites. Developers have responded by building new, modern facilities with all the latest bells and whistles, while older, big-box retail spaces continue to be converted. In many cases, developers are simply building to resell the store for a quick profit. Amazingly, these new properties have leased up just fine, for the most part.”
The proposal drew no public comment. The planning board approved the self-storage facility with a 7-0 vote. The Horizon project will return to the planning board with a site plan, indicating that it has met all the conditions.
Developers are so full of shit. Just reading the statements in this article makes me cringe. Why it’s practically a miracle to build more than two and a quarter acres of impervious area in low lying, swampy Palm Coast. More and more runoff, more and more rhetoric and less and less space for nature.
Gee thanks, guys!
Oh, and “Everything cleans up so you can probably get rid of half of your code enforcement personnel because a lot of them are out there dealing with people who are putting junk in their yard.” Are you kidding me? Palm Coast inspects and regulates sod. My husband used to be an Underground Utilities Inspector, and he would ask “What are they inspecting, green side up?”
If they are inspecting sod, someone doesn’t know what they are doing. The city did my swale last April and put down sod that hardly had any dirt attached to the roots from the grass. The guy who was the supervisor of the project even took some it back to the office to show the supervisor (Arthur) of the swale dept. that it wasn’t any good, but they never replaced it and now I have approx 235′ of dead sod. (I live on a corner lot) The other thing is the city had to dig up a section of the swale in front of my house to hook up the water line for the house that is being built and when they put the new sod down it was like a blind man put it down, just throw some sod down on the dirt and overlap it onto the other sod and walk away. It was also dead sod. The problem with it just being thrown down on top of the dirt was it was approx. 2 1/2″ taller and when it comes time for me to cut the grass it will be chopped off because I’m not adjusting the blade height just for that area. I also found out that the city is contracted with Stickland sod and that’s the crap sod they sell to the city. I told the supervisor of the swale project they need to get a better sod company, but that most likely fell on deaf ears being there is about 9 months between the two times of the sod delivery.
So quit cutting the grass in the swale, it’s not your property. As for the dead grass, call code enforcement.
Willy Boy says
“Green side up” brought a chuckle. Thx
Code enforcement in this town is a F’N joke. I had a trailer in my driveway for over three days and got written up. There’s a builder who lives on Palm Harbor Parkway that has had a trailer alongside his house for over six months and it’s still there today
Code enforcement in Palm Coast is complaint driven. So based on what you said, someone reported you and not the builder on Palm Harbor Parkway. However, I have been living in PC for almost 45 years and drive through town for my business on a regular bases and have yet to see a house facing Palm Harbor Parkway. The other thing about code enforcement is that the violation has to be visible from the street unless the neighbor gives the CEO permission to go on their property to look in the neighbors backyard.
It’s across from the firehouse and I reported it months and it is visible from the street !!!
It’s right next to the Portuguese American Club and owned by the same person !!!
More destruction of green woodlands! Where are all the so called environmentalist and tree huggers? Oh that’s right, they already got their cut of cash under the table.
jim lang says
Palm Coast…the land of storage facilities (where stored objects come to die.)
John Stove says
Nice! Good looking building.
Concerned Living says
This so crazy why are they only building storage units. When it’s so many people out here homeless. Build more affordable living space for people. They are more concerned about then about lives. So full of garbage mouth critics!! Just plain out right sad..
Jay Tomm says
PC deliberately makes the storage of boats, commercial cars, etc illegal as part of their little hoa, so they can get $$ from builders, & anyone else involved in the building of storage units. And then tax the residents on top.
In the PC city limits there are currently 23 storage business. Not including the ones outside of the city limits & in Flagler beach.
The city of palm coast is currently 96 square miles. That’s an insane ratio!
Jay Tomm: I went to a commission meeting in Lake Worth to protest the wanting of an ordinance to keep boats and trailers out of home driveways. It was exposed that a couple of commissioners owned storage facilities. Fortunately, the ordinance failed. It may behoove some Palm Coasters to check on their city leaders as well.
BTW Lake Worth has some seriously stern Code Enforcement Officers, which is why most work was done on Saturdays and Sundays!
Fire up the chainsaws says
Quick!!! There is a tiny patch of Green left! mow it down and pave it! Can these sawmill type developers leave some older growth? Its like cut down the mature established trees and plant a sapling exactly where you want it and wait 30 years for some shade. I would hate to live in one of these new developments like on Pine Lakes Parkview/Whitemill or sawmill, everything looks the same what do these people have against oak trees? I live in BL woodlands and It will be a sad day when they pave over the last of the Hammock canopy, but it is coming, soon we will have only Grahm swamp to remind us of what greedy over developers took from us on their quest to recreate Orlando’s sprawl.
Fire up the chainsaw: Look at Beachwalk in the Hammock. Totally clear cut of all oaks. How in the hell did the county allow that? Zero lot lines. What happened to tree surveys? There is one, small, pitiful patch of a wild plant buffer in there, which is completely useless to animals and vegetation. Who is stupid enough to fall for that? People who don’t know or give a damn about Florida wildlife and quality of life. These developers and buyers have no clue or concern about what a maritime hammock is. It’s fine to tear it down and make it something to be ashamed of. Enjoy your lifestyle folks.
Graham swamp is also on the chocking block.Has the so call epa green wieners ever stop any construction and destruction of woodlands??? I cant find one acre!
Bill: You probably won’t see anyone stop it. The problem is that the County Commissioners allow zoning changes right and left. Then, when the zoning change occurs, they’ll tell you “Well, they (developers) are allowed to do what they want within the zoning, it’s all quite legal.”
Heck, even zoning doesn’t matter anymore with commercial, front desk-less motel units, and in home restaurants, with “mobile speakeasys” in single family residential neighborhoods.
All of us “epa green wieners,” as you say, fight all the time. The developers almost always win and get exactly what they want, by overstating, then *negotiating* right to where they want to be. Most commissioners don’t even care about copiously signed petitions.
Katie Berry says
Yes!! It’s so true! I was hoping that Palm Coast would preserve more woodlands for outside enjoyment for the next generations but now I’m seeing more and more destruction of what should be preserved! PC start preserving and stop building!! The roads are not ready for more people aka i95! Plus beware on US 1 as you are driving, deer will start crossing more and more and will cause accidents. I don’t understand why they have to cut down land that should be preserved and I’m pissed off about this. Go somewhere else and cut all the trees down, more and more. Please stop overbuilding and let us catch up with safety of our roads first! You can just bring in more people and expect the roads to be safe. It’s stupidity at its finest and money grubbing profiteers not worrying about anyone else. Our children deserve safe roads and more parks and paths to use, why can’t you build a giant off the road bike path for the commute off this land instead?
The city needs to be more strict about the businesses it approves. Otherwise it’ll be another Daytona Beach. I do not approve of the storage. The city council who approved this needs to be replaced with someone who cares about Palm Coast, and not care about short sighted gains of growth to be re elected.
C’mon man says
Was really hoping for a dollar general
The good old FOS salesman pitch that people who are moving down here need the storage space, what a joke, they think we are all stupid. Just check out the prices of a moving van, it doesn’t even pay to move the s**t when they can sell it and get rid of it from where ever they are coming from. It’s way of a fraction of the cost to just buy the furniture one needs down here. As far of the EPA turncoat corporate clowns couldn’t give a rats ass about the environment and hardly ever fulfill their empty promises to protect wildlife and the environment.