Buda pauses on special permit for storage facility

An applicant’s request for a special use permit (SUP) to construct a self-storage facility along east Main Street in Buda was tabled earlier this month after city leaders seeks more information.

But for some city leaders, the applicant’s request to build a three-story climate controlled facility near Firecracker Drive encroaches on another zoning code.

Chance Sparks, interim assistant city manager and director of planning, said the application went before Buda’s Planning and Zoning Commission before it came to council since the  land the facility would be on would need to be rezoned from C3/R3.

P&Z recommended that council approve the SUP on the conditions that it be a nontransferable conditional permit, that it only build the 3-story indoor storage facility in the plans, and that the facility remove any barbed wire fencing on the property.

Sparks explained to council members that the area on the corner of Main Street and Firecracker Drive on the Main Street East Commercial Subdivision has “aesthetic impacts that discourage development.”

The issue for council members, however, was three of the total seven acres available on the lot would be included in the SUP. The remaining four acres would have to be divided into various retail spaces at a later time.

Buda resident and Noah’s Ark Storage employee Jim Lewis spoke in opposition to the self-storage SUP due to the lack of necessity in the area.

“We’re (Noah’s Ark) against it at this time,” Lewis said, “We’re not against it coming in if there is a need for it, but there isn’t enough population right now to support it.”

Sparks said there is a one-mile radius around the facility where there are no other self-storage businesses.

Currently, the land is being used to store vehicles at $3,000 annual profit, whereas the self-storage facility could generate $13,000 annually.

Councilmember George Haehn was concerned that the land fell within the Interstate 35 gateway corridor. The purpose of the corridor is to maintain development standards along major arterial roadways.

Sparks said it fell just outside the corridor, but that the builders have met the requirements to be within the corridor nonetheless.

Councilmember Eileen Altmiller also wanted more time to investigate the item before taking any action.

“I do have some reservations,” Altmiller said, referencing the amount of money the city spent on that road.

Councilmember Angela Kennedy wasn’t sure if it was the council’s decision “to decide if a business is going to be successful or not.

She also wanted to ask the property owner for their motivations on the project.

While the property owner was unavailable, architect Michael Mouldin described the applicant’s motivation.

“We have performed a feasibility study that shows there is a need for our facility in that area,” Mouldin said, “The owner wouldn’t be spending $5 or $6 million for a self-storage facility if there wasn’t a need for one there.”

Ultimately council members decided that more research needed to be done in order to make a more informed decision.

“We have a very precious commodity of limited space here to consider,” Haehn said.

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