By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – A conditional use permit application from Bayland Buildings to construct approximately 160 luxury storage units was tabled Monday, May 21, by the Suamico village board until its next meeting June 4.
If approved, the storage units would be built on vacant land at the southeast corner of East Deerfield Avenue and the future Woodfield Court.
Granting a permit for the proposed project was recommended May 9 by the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission on a 3-2 vote.
Though the property is zoned Highway Business, commission members favored including a provision not to allow any commerical use of the units among the permit’s conditions.
Board members wanted more time to study the proposal after receiving the detailed plans for the project the evening of the May 21 meeting.
“When I pick up my packet on Friday (May 18)… there wasn’t much here,” said Trustee Michelle Eckert, who later indicated she plans to vote against the project. “I get all this right before the meeting and that really ticks me off, because I don’t get to look at anything. I would have even looked at an example of it somewhere else if I would have had time. It’s just not fair to get everything right before the meeting.”
Steve Dunks, village zoning administrator, said the proposal was taken up by the board that evening because the public hearing for it had been legally noticed, though the project developers would be agreeable to table a decision on the matter for two weeks after the hearing.
“Because it’s published, we had no choice but to hold the public hearing,” Dunks said. “You don’t have to take your action this evening. You could make a motion to table it to the next (meeting). You have some time to review this better and to ask questions of staff. We can ask questions of them….”
Grant Heim and Bradly Schmidt, who appeared before the board, are seeking to develop the project, which calls for combining four vacant parcels to construct luxury storage units sold through a condo plat.
“We believe there is a need for these units,” Heim said.
The project plans for the site, which is currently owned by Bay Bank, also include a main clubhouse and wash bay building, while the owners of the storage units would be able to complete the interior of the units as they choose.
“What we want to do with our clubhouse and wash bay is to where, if members are boaters or campers, and they’re coming back, or even from a long weekend, they can pull in, they can wash off their campers, they can wash off their boats, they can pull back to their buildings with their cars, they can clean them up,” Heim said. “The clubhouse would be more of a rest area – a kitchenette, pizza, snacks, stuff like that – which would also have bathrooms and small showers…. It would also help as a showroom to where we could park classic cars, change things out, have themes.”
Heim, who estimated the entire development upon its completion would cost $14 million, said the clubhouse would also have a 900-square-foot conference area where monthly public events could be held as well as for use as a community gathering area that could be booked and rented out.
When asked what the project might resemble, Heim said it would be comparable to the Iron Gate Motor Condos in Naperville, Illinois.
Heim said the storage unit layout for the project includes clusters of six buildings with 8 feet of space between each building in the cluster, 20 feet separating building clusters and 60 feet between rows of buildings.
“Our plan will be to build in the clusters of six,” he said.
Heim said the project would be built in three phases and have storage units in three sizes.
“In each phase there will be three variations of the building, so it would not be a long wait if somebody wanted one,” he said. “It should be there rather quickly. Our main goal is to provide three (sizes of) buildings – a 30×40 (feet), a 30×50 and a 30×60.”
When board members asked Dunks about how sewer and water service would be provided to the development, he said that has yet to be discussed as part of a developer’s agreement that would have to be approved by the village as a condition of the permit.
“If they cannot come to terms with the developer’s agreement, then the conditional use terms would not have been met and the conditional use is void,” Dunks said.
Village Administrator Steve Kubacki said the intent of the developer’s agreement “would be to ensure that this development paid its fair share for any improvements made in that area, and hopefully even slightly more of the entire TIF district.”
Nearby property owners object
Board members heard testimony at the public hearing from several nearby property owners who objected to the project.
For instance, Andy Vanderloop, who referred to the site of the proposed luxury storage unit project as “the gateway to Suamico” and the wrong location for that type of development, questioned how restrictions to prohibit people from living in the units and using them for commercial use could be enforced.
“There’s no way to really police (people residing in the units),” he said. “I just see it being a mess – that and the commercial use. If you say it’s not going to be used for a commercial use, that’s going to be so specific and impossible to regulate.”
Vanderloop also presented village President Laura Nelson with a petition signed by nearby property owners in opposition to the project.
When the board takes up the matter again to decide whether to approve the project, not all the members will participate.
Trustee Dan Roddan, who noted he also owns property near the site, has abstained from participating in the discussion and voting on the permit application.