New Hanover County to consider additional regulations for some self-storage facilities

Updated: Sep. 6, 2020 at 1:53 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Storage facilities have become a more common sight in New Hanover County as more and more residents move to the area, now, county leaders are being asked to implement some additional rules to help regulate what these buildings look like when allowed by right.

In February of 2020, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to approve the the county’s Unified Development Ordinance but in order to complete the project several text amendments have been submitted for approval. One such amendment would add new requirements for self-storage buildings along College Road, Market Street, Carolina Beach Road, and Castle Hayne Road.

“Demand for self-storage facilities in New Hanover County remains strong as they are associated with smaller lot residential developments, ’downsizing’ of homes, and restrictive covenants against storage buildings common in coastal areas due to state impervious surface limits,” according to the New Hanover County Commissioners’ agenda for the upcoming meeting on Sept. 8.

One of the concerns that both residents and county leaders have expressed is the aesthetics of these facilities where they are permitted by right.

“Over the past several years, self-storage or mini-warehouse facilities requested as part of conditional zoning districts have been approved subject to conditions regarding building and site design to mitage concerns of community residents. However, projects built by-right are not subject to similar considerations, and residents and board members have asked for additional requirements to limit features like metal buildings and bright colors from being visible from roadways and adjacent residential properties,” according to the agenda.

[Storage unit facilities fill up around Wilmington as city grows]

The proposed amendments would not limit or restrict the development of these facilities, instead, it would implement additional design standards for self-storage buildings.

These requirements include:

  • Except as otherwise authorized in this subsection, all property stored on the site shall be enclosed entirely within enclosed buildings.
  • A minimum of 10% of the area of each building facade that faces a public or private street, a shared parking area, a pedestrianway, or designated open space shall consist of transparent windows or doors.
  • The color of the building exteriors visible from ground level view from the street or from abutting properties at ground level shall be natural tones found as predominate colors in the natural environment, such as muted tones of green, brown, beige, yellow, or tan. The use of colors on a building exterior that are significantly more intense, vibrant, or bright compared to nearby properties so as to call attention to the establishment is prohibited.
  • The use of metal as a primary material is prohibited on perimeter or exterior walls that are visible from an arterial street or from a residential district or existing residential development.
  • The only commercial uses permitted on-site shall be the rental of storage space, the pickup and deposit of goods or property in dead storage, and the sale or rental of goods incidental to on-site storage.
  • Outdoor storage shall be limited to the storage of licensed and operational recreational vehicles and boats .

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