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Enough self storage sites already? Rock Hill mulls whether to allow more.

Rock Hill city leaders take first steps to limit residents’ choices to store items

Rock Hill City Council in South Carolina voted for a 180-day moratorium on self storage facilities and potential changes to where they can go. The city is seeing an influx in the businesses and will study zoning changes.
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Rock Hill City Council in South Carolina voted for a 180-day moratorium on self storage facilities and potential changes to where they can go. The city is seeing an influx in the businesses and will study zoning changes.

The city of Rock Hill could close the door on new self-storage and mini warehouse businesses for six months.

The Rock Hill City Council voted Monday night to put a moratorium on new storage sites, and to limit areas where they might be allowed in the future.

Both votes were preliminary, and each require a second vote before they are final.

“I don’t know if this is a fad or what, but it’s just been a proliferation of these things popping up inside the city and outside the city,” said Councilman John Black.

City attorney Paul Dillingham, who presented the two proposals to council for an initial vote, said the moratorium would be 180 days.

It would give the city manager and planning staff time to study zoning rules and districts, he said. They could consider zoning changes to make sure storage sites are “compatible with existing businesses” in their area, he said.

“The city has recently seen an influx of mini warehouse and storage facility proposals,” Dillingham said.

The pending move to look at where zoning should allow those sites “would effectively prohibit” new storage construction, except in two industrial zonings. Council passed both votes unanimously.

“We spend a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of resources planning, and looking at our long-range plan,” Black said. “Sometimes I think we need to take a break and look, make sure areas of our long-range plan are going in the same direction.”

A Google search of “Rock Hill self storage” brings up 31 locations. New sites regularly pop up in conversations between property owners and York County planners.

Rock Hill isn’t the only part of the county where it’s an issue.

In the spring of 2017, Lake Wylie business leaders were surprised by new openings, bringing the total to seven self storage sites in that unincorporated area. Several have opened since.

The same was true then in Fort Mill and Tega Cay. New sites have opened since there, too.

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Asked why at the time, a national self storage expert said industry growth in an area is simple economics.

“If the population, community is increasing, thriving and current facilities are 90 percent occupied, or higher, that’s a good sign for self storage developers, investors,” Mike Blackett, with the Self Storage Association, told the Fort Mill Times.

Last month, Kmart Plaza in Rock Hill was sold for $6 million to a company specializing in self storage and apartment development. Plans there include storage and outparcel spaces.

Each month, Rock Hill puts out an activity report on development inside and outside the city.

The September report lists 44 new in-city business applications through the city’s Open for Business program. Another 43 applications come from outside city limits.

Of those 87 new businesses, three are self storage facilities. They are Go Store It on Celanese Road, a Go Big Blue LLC project on North Anderson Road and Vault Rock Hill on Rawlinson Road.

John Marks: jmarks@fortmilltimes.com; @JohnFMTimes
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