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Palm Coast Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 4 months ago

Despite neighborhood opposition, City Council approves self-storage facility in 4-1 vote

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Also: Palm Coast will solicit proposals for saltwater canal dredging.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Despite opposition from neighbors, Palm Coast City Council members on Jan. 4 voted 4-1 to approve a rezoning and special exception to allow the construction of a self storage facility on the west side of Old Kings Road north of its intersection with Town Center Boulevard.

The Secure Space self-storage facility would offer 287 covered RV/boat spaces, plus 95,500 square feet of self-storage units, next to the Gold Choice Palm Coast Assisted Living & Memory Care at 3830 Old Kings Road.

At a city planning board meeting, and again at the Jan. 4 City Council meeting, locals said they worried that the facility would bring too much traffic and noise to the area.

They submitted a petition opposing the facility, with hundreds of signatures.

Resident Mary Alice Brandt said it’s the wrong space for a storage facility, and that the facility might hurt neighborhood property values. 

“Why rezone this road to allow so much more impact on the neighborhood that is for the most part residential?” she said. “… It’s a lovely facility, but … just not there.”

Darlene Shelley, a resident of the Hidden Lakes community, said she’d always expected the parcel to be developed — but not as a storage facility. 

“We were comfortable with the idea of a doctor’s office, a dentist, a lawyer a bakery or a similar conforming use across the street,” she said. “... A storage  facility, however, does not belong here. … Potential crime, noise and light pollution will put the welfare of our neighbors in jeopardy and will be a huge inconvenience.”

Councilman Eddie Branquinho asked if the facility would generate noise that would be disruptive for the nearby assisted living facility. 

Applicant David Butler said it would not.

“We believe it is the least intense project that could possibly be planned on this property, other than a cemetery, which we would not do next to our [assisted living facility],” he said. 

Representatives of the applicant said that the project has been designed to mitigate most of the sound energy coming from nearby Interstate-95, which the owner is not required to do. Sound walls 13 feet and 6 inches tall, plus parked boats and RVs, are expected to help deflect the sound.

“We really designed this project to be sure that it was not intrusive to the neighbors,” said attorney Jay Livingston, representing the applicant. 

Arena Lake Drive resident Tom Barrett was skeptical, and suggested taking noise readings before the facility is built, and then again after. 

“Let’s get a baseline,” he said, “and then let’s take some noise readings later if you approve this thing. … Because I don’t believe this is going to reduce the noise.”

Livingston said the project is also designed to retain 14 of 17 historic trees on the site, and that resident statements that characterize the area as residential are incorrect. 

“This has always been designed as a mixed-use corridor,” he said. 

When the council prepared to vote, one councilman — Victor Barbosa — voted no, although he said he’d recently bought a boat and had noted a shortage of storage space in the area.

Councilman Ed Danko also said he’d seen the need for more self-storage in Palm Coast.

“I sold my camper because I had to drive 45 minutes to St. Augustine,” Danko said. “... If this had been built across the street from me, I probably would have kept my camper, and I probably would have stored it in there.” 

Councilman Nick Klufas said that the council has narrow grounds, under Florida law, to deny a rezoning, and that the city could face a legal challenge if the council denied the self-storage proposal without sufficient cause.

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