A different kind of storage facility is being proposed for a 13-acre area at the intersection of County Hwy CV, also known as Lake Road, and Kenworth Drive in the Village of Windsor.
The Windsor Village Board reviewed a concept plan for StorageShop condos at its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7, and trustees came away impressed, although they did have some concerns.
“The concept looks pretty sharp,” said Trustee Don Madelung.
When asked by Village President Bob Wipperfurth if he believes it fits with Windsor’s comprehensive plan, Madelung said he did.
Kristine Schmidt, a fellow trustee, said it’s a good commercial use of the land. Trustee Bruce Stravinski also said it looks to be a good fit.
The concept plan, which includes a certified survey map creating four lots, has also been reviewed by the village’s plan commission, and there is a community meeting slated for Jan. 13 for neighbors to give their feedback on the proposal.
According to a report put together by village staff, the petitioner is Greg Thompson, who represents SSUSA Development Inc. He is asking to have two of the lots rezoned from an A-2(8) agriculture district to a C-2 general commercial district, along with a site plan review for StorageShop condos on those two lots and a condominium plat for them. The two other lots do not have an end-user, and the village doesn’t do rezoning for such areas without knowing who that is.
Currently, the property consists of cultivated farmland with non-delineated wetlands and is bordered to the north by the Lake Windsor neighborhood, on the south by Wisconsin Kenworth, on the west by vacant land and on the east by Clack Corporation.
StorageShop condos are commercially zoned garages used for storage, business or personal needs. Accessible from Kenworth Drive, they would be 2,500-square-foot, duplex-styled buildings expected to be served by private water and sanitary sewer utilities.
The condos will be bought by individuals who are seeking commercial space for various uses. That requires the condominium form of ownership, according to the report. The condos will also includes large climate-controlled storage suites for such things as cars, boats, motorhomes, business inventory and household items.
According to the village’s comprehensive plan, the future land use plan for the space provides for neighborhood mixed use – intended to provide a buffer area between the regional commercial area and the Lake Windsor neighborhood to the north – and regional commercial to the south.
Neighborhood mixed use outlines a mix of residential, commercial and civic uses for spaces near well-travelled roadways that have high visibility, but are also close to established and planned residential areas.
Jamie Rybarczyk, the village’s deputy administrator and economic development director, said a wetlands delineation study must be conducted if the petitioners go ahead with a formal application for the project.
Rybarczyk reported to the village board that the plan commission was in favor of the plan as long as the project was designed appropriately. It seemed to allow for a good transition from the commercial area to the Lake Windsor neighborhood.
What the village needs to do, according to Rybarczyk, is look at what types of uses it is comfortable going with in these kinds of spaces.
Thompson also spoke at the meeting. He said he’s been doing these sorts of storage facilities for around 15 years now. There are 22 of them in locations across Wisconsin, Thompson said. All are mostly the same kinds of buildings and concepts. One is located in the Town of Burke.
Thompson explained that these storage facilities are hard to site. They don’t fit in an area with heavy manufacturing, he said. They also cannot be placed in residential areas. Locations with light manufacturing are the best.
When he came across this particular property, with its general commercial character and Kenworth operating there as well, it seemed ideal, especially with a buffer to separate it from nearby residences.
As far as traffic is concerned, Thompson indicated observers won’t see a lot of it coming in and out of the property. Outside parking will be prohibited, and because the units are owned, rather than rented, the owners make sure the areas are well-kept and that everyone is following the rules.
Madelung talked about possible noise and lighting issues that could be problematic for the neighborhood. The trustee also wondered about turnover with ownership of the units. Thompson said they rarely go on the market.
Schmidt was concerned about the road that would access the storage facility, especially with semis from Kenworth using it for turning. Schmidt also talked about how berms and trees would offer a soft barrier between the commercial area and the Lake Windsor neighborhood. Rybarczyk also discussed how berms and arbor vitae could pose a natural buffer.
Thompson was concerned about the potential cost.
“We’re trying develop a product at a price point that’s hard to get at,” said Thompson.
Noting that the lumber market is, in his words, “skyrocketing,” Thompson said they are hoping to bring the price of the units in at $119,000. Similar units the company developed in the past that originally went for $70,000 to $75,000 are now being sold for $140,000.
Village President Bob Wipperfurth said the condominium documents will be critical in this instance.
There were also concerns about the facility not having security cameras.
Trustee Monica Smith said that when she first looked at the plan, she thought it was great. She liked how the units have a residential rather than commercial look. However, Smith wondered about how the storage condominium management would evolve over time and worried about the village’s inability to monitor it.