A final public hearing will be held today at 2:30 p.m. inside the Phoenix City Council Chambers (200 W. Jefferson Street) regarding the proposed 4-level storage facility planned for 525 W. Turney Avenue in Melrose. The hearing was requested by Brianna Klink, a Roma Avenue resident who has objected to the proposed project since August.
“I’m not opposed to development,” she told the Encanto Village Planning Committee in December. “These storage facilities are ubiquitous to the area (and) will not create jobs.”
Some who live across the street from the proposed project, including retired engineer Palmer Chalela support re-development of the unused property. “I’d rather something else,” he said. “I’m o.k. with (storage) if they operate it with safety and security in mind.”
Chanel Godwin looks out onto the existing, vacant two-story building each day. “I want more art and less abandoned building,” she said in August.
Neither Chalela nor Godwin were invited to participate in a competition style design charette that project developers Kim and Bruce Raskin held in August. The charette, which was judged by the Raskins as well as neighborhood representatives, was applauded by several city leaders as a unique way to include the community.
Listen to Don Andrews of Don Andrews Design Group describe the design Charette.
Noticeably quiet on the project has been Stacy Louis, owner of Stacy’s @ Melrose adjacent to the site. Louis’s bar patrons have been using the parking lot of the existing abandoned building for years under an agreement on file with the City. “I’m very concerned about the parking,” Louis told T.M.L. in August. “It could affect my business.”
As of December, Louis said he still was not certain what will happen to his parking if the project is approved. There has been vague talk at several public hearings about how storage users will enter and exit the facility, either by Turney Avenue – a residential street – or through Stacy’s drive onto 7th Avenue.
No specific solutions have been provided or are stipulated in the zoning case, though the developers have argued storage is one of the least busy commercial uses. “If you develop anything that requires parking it’s going to conflict because of access on Turney,” said Jason Morris, the Raskins’ zoning attorney. “If we come up with something that’s really exciting we’re going to have angry people with overflow parking on a residential street.” Morris and project architect Don Andrews said the average storage facility creates 1.7 trips per hour, less than that of a single-family home.
Today’s final vote asks if the Council will accept the unanimous recommendation by the Phoenix Planning Commission to allow a height waiver and special use permit for storage. A City Zoning Administrator determined last year that storage is allowed under the current ordinance, including the Seventh Avenue Urban Main Street Overlay, but permission is required on a case-by-case basis. The project does not conform to the Phoenix General Plan but passed the Encanto Village Planning Commission 12-2.
One vote in opposition was that of Encanto historic preservationist G.G. George who said she believed the proposal will conflict with the character of the neighborhood. Other objections voiced by residents include proposed neon signage and that the community room – a result of the design Charente – is not stipulated in the zoning case.
The Seventh Avenue Merchants Association and the Community Alliance of Seventh Avenue have voiced support for the project. A source within District 4 Councilwoman Laura Pastor’s office said in January she will most likely vote in favor. Listen to an .