A vacant lot at 353 E. First St. may soon host a 177-unit storage facility if variances approved by the Fennville City Commission Aug. 19 result in planning commission design approval, reports Commercial Record correspondent Jim Hayden on his Bicycle Base Fennville blog.
James Boerkel wants to turn the 1.36-acre parcel into a mini-storage facility, said Hayden, who is also a city commission member.
“We’re expecting to provide something that’s not in the area,” said John Tempas of Driesenga & Associates of Holland, who showed preliminary designs for the lot that once housed a factory before it was leveled by fire. The land is next to a car wash.
Boerkel’s plans needed commission approval because of a reduced rear setback from the 20 feet required to 10 feet and a reduction in the required 177 parking places to 12 spots.
Commissioners had no issues with the reduced setback because it abuts railroad tracks. Mayor Tom Pantelleria said the required 177 parking places “isn’t feasible” for the project.
The plans show room enough for people to pull vehicles up to their units for loading and unloading while allowing other vehicles to drive by.
The facility, Hayden reported, will have a variety of unit sizes — mainly 10 x10 feet but some 4 x 10 and 5 x feet, according to Tempas. The fenced site will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
No residents spoke in favor or against the development in the 16-minute public hearing.
In other business, the commission:
- Approved the purchase agreement for the former Chemical Bank property, 125 S. Maple St., for $110,000 with $22,00 down. Payments will be made over 15 years. The city plans to make it a new city hall.
The agreement was approved on a rare split vote. Pantelleria, commissioners Jim Suerth and Erik Almquist voted in favor. Commissioners Danielle Brien and Hayden opposed the measure having previously voted in March against moving ahead with the purchase. Commissioners Shawn Machan and Scott Hageman were absent.
- Approved a new rate structure for new water and sewer connections. The previous policy said the city would install a water line all the way to the home. The new policy extends the line for the curb where a private contractor will finish the work.
- Approved spending $1,140 to replace windows at city hall.
- Received new tablets for city work. “I’d like us to go paperless as soon as possible,” said City Administrator Amanda Morgan.