A proposal to build a three-story self-storage building on Roswell Road brought concerns from Sandy Springs residents that the development wouldn’t deliver the city’s goal of “revitalizing” the north end area. The facility would replace a vacant gun range.
Residents at the June 26 community meeting also had concerns that the self-storage building would bring noise and traffic to their neighborhoods. But the developers behind the proposal, RRB Development, said it would bring much less than any other commercial use allowed on the site at 8040 Roswell Road.
The developers are seeking a conditional use permit to build the facility where the long-vacant Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range is located. The gun range has been closed since an accidental fire in 2016.
The new building would be around 100,000 square feet, larger than the old one, and have a required 40 parking spaces, though the developers have asked for permission to reduce that. There would be around 720 storage units, depending on what sizes are decided.
The self-storage unit brought many concerns from nearby neighbors, including that loud moving trucks would disturb the residences, traffic would dramatically increase and property values would fall. Some are also concerned that the north end is still not attracting the type of high quality developments they want, despite the city beginning an effort to spur redevelopment in the area.
The city last year created the North End Revitalization Task Force that recommended several ideas drawing development to the area. The city is now planning to study how to redevelop four shopping centers, create a business district and build a trail network around the Chattahoochee River.
But residents feel let down by the self-storage proposal.
“The north end has been a dumping ground for strip malls, fast food restaurants and nail salons,” one resident said. “This is not the type of thing we’ve been waiting for.”
Another resident, Georgia Sellem, said she felt the north end was being asked to take on a storage facility for what she feels would be primarily used by residents of the several new apartment complexes developed in the center of the city.
“The last thing we need is another self-storage facility,” she said.
Kathleen Neitzel, a resident in the Grogan’s Bluff neighborhood, said the proposal “does not meet the promise of north improvements we are anticipating.”
Carl Westmoreland, a zoning attorney representing the developer, said he only believes the self-storage building would not be congruent with the north end recommendations if another developer was interested in the property.
On many of the traffic and noise concerns residents had, the developers argued that the self-storage use one of the best scenarios for what could happen to the commercial parcel.
“Unless you assume the building is going to stay vacant, this is going to have less traffic than anything else that could go in there,” Westmoreland said.
Jim Berry, manager of RRB Development, said he expects the facility to bring an average of two rentable moving truck trips per day. Five car trips are expected to be generated during peak hours, he said. The numbers are based off the several other buildings RRB has developed in the metro area, he said.
The facility is expected to be open to existing renters from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, with office hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The building would have access from Roswell Road and Brantley Road.
Several residents complained that storage units in general are unattractive, and Berry said the company doesn’t disagree.
“There’s a lot of ugly self-storage facilities out there, but it’s changing,” he said.
The concept presented by Berry has no outside access to storage units and looks similar to most “urban” style development, he said.
The developers also heard concerns the facility would be bring crime, but found through Sandy Springs Police Department data that 34 out of 12,124 crimes committed over the past two years occurred at self-storage buildings. None were violent crimes, Berry said.
Although there are several self-storage buildings in Sandy Springs, Berry said they are mostly full and that the market can support another. A new one hasn’t been built in several years, he said.
Some residents were concerned about the size, which would larger than the current building and three stories tall. Berry said they are not considering decreasing the size or dropping a floor. The building is similar in size to an adjacent office building, he said.
Neitzel, who represented the homeowners association for the nearby Grogan’s Bluff neighborhood, said the board is “adamantly opposed” to the development because it could hurt property values and negatively impact the area.
Another resident asked the developer to consider relocate, saying “There’s got to be a more appropriate space in Sandy Springs.”