The Palm Coast Planning Board last week approved in three successive unanimous votes different regulatory steps advancing the development of three self-storage facilities–on Old Kings Road North, on Old Kings Road south, and on Matanzas Woods Parkway near U.S. 1.
The Old Kings North project had won approval from the Planning Board in 2019 and was reappearing in unique circumstances to renew a special exception. The two other projects are new.
In contrast with considerations of such items before local boards in recent months, the approvals, which point to a continuing bullish trend in self-storage businesses in the area, drew neither opposition nor any appearances from the public. As if to fill the void, the continuing surge in facilities prompted a few reflections from planning board members themselves.
“If I remember correctly this is the third or the fourth storage facility on Old Kings Road,” James Albano said. “At least the third within a two mile stretch.” And the eighth or ninth in the last two years, according to another board member.
“We have too much stuff,” another member said.
“We’re we’re not here to judge the market, but I understand your point,” the board’s chairman, Clinton Smith, said.
“As long as everybody else knows what we have going on,” Albano said.
A single unit can cost around $300 a month. The addition of more facilities could bring the price down, said a member who was paying that $300 a month “storing probably $50 bucks’ worth of stuff” for a 10-by-20 unit.
None of the items will go before the City Council.
The Kings Crossing item was a first for the city. The Planning Board had approved a special exception for Kings Crossing with a series of conditions “because where it’s located was in a very sensitive area when it comes to floodplains and wetlands,” Ray Tyner, the city’s deputy development director, said. “There was some really intensive technical details that needed to be worked out.”
Because of that it took the applicant a long time to return to the city with a site plan, which the Planning Board approved last February. But by then, since construction had not started, and even though all conditions were met, the three-year special exception had expired. The applicant, Victor Silva, wanted it renewed for another three years. (Silva, of Flagler Beach, operates under a corporation registered as Flagler Storage Group of Jacksonville.)
“The last two years with Covid and all we’ve been through, I’m just happy to be able to get here with you guys with everything intact and together and not completely tattered to pieces,” Dan Wilcox, the engineer of record on the project, said. The board approved the extension in a 7-0 vote.
The two-story “mini-warehouse” facility, including some office space, will be on 36 acres between Old Kings Road and I-95, some 1.5 miles north of Palm Coast Parkway, its northeast area bordering on the entire length of Fanshaw Lane, with Farmsworth Drive to the north and Frontier Drive to the south. With its close proximity to quite a few houses in the F Section, it was surprising that no member of the public spoke: that had not been the case with previous such self-storage applications going before either the Planning Board or the City Council.
As required by law, the city on July 21 issued a letter ostensibly to neighboring residents to inform them of the item and of residents’ rights to address the Planning Board. But curiously, not a single letter went to actual, immediate neighbors of the property: there was not a single letter to residents on Fanshaw Lane, Fann lane or Fanbury Lane, none to Farver or Farnum Lane, or any other F-Section addresses. The city had certified proof of having sent 51 letters, but many of them went to property owners or residents on Boulder Rock Drive and Botany lane on the other side of I-95. The radius may have been in keeping with the letter of the law, but residents on the other side of an Interstate are not likely to care or see what will go up across the way, and it leaves unexplained why residents along the boundaries of the proposed self-storage facility itself were not alerted.
Another quirk that may not be fair to existing residents: Many of the letters went to the listed property owners rather than the actual residents of properties, thus denying actual residents, who may be renters, the right to voice an opinion. Many of the letters went to New Jersey, Colorado, Texas, California, at least four went to new York, some went to Coral Gables, Melbourne, Jacksonville and Bunnell. Had the city sent letters both to property owners and to listed addresses along the perimeter, the response might have been different.
Kings Crossing may be seeking to have RVs and boat storage. But that provision is not covered by the site a plan approved earlier this year. The business would have to submit yet another site plan for approval if it is to have boats and RVs stored there, and even then, those would have to be stored outside, only on pavement behind buildings or wooded areas to hide them from motorists on Old Kings road. Wilcox said that was not in the plans for now.
The second item the Planning Board approved was a technical site plan for a 90,000 square foot, 560-unit self-storage facility, including boats and recreational vehicles, on nearly 3 acres on Matanzas Woods Parkway, some 410 feet west of U.S. 1. The site is vacant but has been cleared, with 78 percent of the acreage to be paved over.
Its closest neighbor for now is the new Amoco station, with which it’ll share an access road, with the closest residential street–Londonderry Drive–a good distance to the east. That application did not require a special exception since the zoning allows or high-intensity commercial and light industrial uses. The facility will have 25-foot buffers along Matanzas Woods Parkway. The property is registered to Palm Coast REH LLC of Rockledge, Fla. The proposal drew no public input. The board approved the site plan unanimously.
Finally was site plan application by Broward-Palm Coast Storage, a two-story, 90,000 square-foot, 550-unit self-storage facility on 11 acres at 2240 Old Kings Road–between Old Kings Road and I-95, parallel with the P-Section’s Pretoria Lane area on the other side of the interstate. That facility will not have outdoor RVs or boats. There’ll be one access road to Old Kings Road, across a 35-foot right-of-way reserved for future expansion of the road. The southern portion of the site will be left in its natural state, as will a portion of the north end of the site, with buffers exceeding the city’s requirements: the development’s impervious area–its pavement and concrete areas–will account for only 18 percent of the site.
The City Council in January approved a self-storage facility near Hidden Lakes. A week later the Planning Board approved another one near the Toscana subdivision, nearby. 9It was a few weeks after that that King’s Crossing’s site plan on Old Kings Road North was approved.)
That site too–surrounded by vacant land with moderate to high intensity commercial zoning on three sides and I-95 to the west–is zoned for high intensity commercial developments, so no special exceptions are necessary. The land is registered to PC2 Storage LLC of Atlanta and Tallahassee.