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North-end self-storage site wins initial nod

Northeast Fort Wayne residents soon could have another place to store belongings.

Fort Wayne Plan Commission members Monday approved plans for Fort Wayne Storage LLC’s 101,400-square-foot self-storage complex southwest of Stellhorn and Maysville roads.

But the project isn’t a certainty. The City Council will make the final ruling on whether the community shopping center property can be rezoned for general commercial use. And Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals members are set to have a hearing on the project Thursday.

Plan commission members would have preferred to see a high-end shopping center built on the site, but a previous developer’s plans for that fell through, said City Engineer David Ross, who serves on the plan commission.

“But what’s been proposed is compatible with the area,” he said.

Fort Wayne Storage, which has three other Allen County locations, submitted a high-quality design that is expected to benefit the area, Ross said.

Plan commission member Michael Bultemeier cast the lone vote against the project. Neighboring office owners have argued a self-storage complex would lower their property values.

Several other storage complexes being developed along Stellhorn Road blend better with their surroundings, he said.

“This one, to me, doesn’t fit in,” he said.

Fort Wayne Storage plans to invest more than $5 million to build the complex. The high-end design includes brick-and-stucco facades on buildings that face neighboring homes or offices, said Tom Niezer, the company’s attorney. The developer plans to start construction in the late spring if the project is approved.

Student housing passes amid outcry

In other business, plan commission members approved the design of a 504-bed student apartment complex planned just south of Shoaff Park on St. Joe Road, despite neighbors’ objections.

Residents were concerned about the noise, traffic and crime the project could generate.

Developer Campus Crest Development LLC plans to hire staff to live in each building and enforce the gated community’s rules, said Pat Hess, the developer’s attorney.

Campus Crest plans to invest $18 million to build the complex. The Charlotte, N.C.-based developer owns 19 other student housing complexes across the country, Hess said.

The site already was zoned to allow multifamily housing.

In other business, plan commission members heard a report on plans to update the Allen County and city zoning ordinances. The joint city-county land use department wants to align them as much as possible so developers have consistent rules to follow, department director Kim Bowman said. The department will seek public input on the ordinances, which are scheduled to be updated during the next two years.