TERMINATE PROJECT S-22-0033: Carroll Highlands Self Storage
TERMINATE PROJECT S-22-0033: Carroll Highlands Self Storage
Why this petition matters
The undersigned residents respectfully call for Carroll County Government to terminate Project S-22-0033, titled Carroll Highlands Self Storage. The proposed build site is in Eldersburg, MD. The project impacts and concerns of the undersigned community residents are reflected below.
Per the Freedom Community Comprehensive plan, “the Freedom Community Planning Area (CPA) is located in southeastern Carroll County, and is comprised of approximately 28,901 acres, or 45.15 square miles… The unincorporated community of Eldersburg, located at the crossroads of MD 32 and MD 26, is the geographic center of the Freedom CPA.” Based on this, Eldersburg is within the Freedom CPA regional constraints, and the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan’s framework is to be applied in the town.
MULTIPLE STORAGE FACILITIES IN ELDERSBURG
This business type already exists in abundance in the area. There are two similar offerings within four miles of this proposed location; there is simply no demand for another storage facility, as the other existing structures are not rented to full capacity.
TRAFFIC & SAFETY
The project’s plan details a mandatory entrance and exit on the residential street of Carroll Highlands Road. Government officials determined that there was no need for a traffic light installation, without completing a traffic survey. This project will guarantee an increase in an already medium-level traffic density for entry/exit of this road. The lack of a traffic survey requirement for project approval is a disservice to the safety of all residents in the area; many children currently play in front of their houses. In addition, the amplified through-traffic will certainly increase the road maintenance needs. Furthermore, with an approved variance for a 75% reduction in parking, overflow of the business will bleed into the neighborhood streets. There are currently no mitigations proposed to alleviate these impacts.
There are multiple environmental impacts of this project, to include installation of impervious surfaces (concrete foundation) on a raised elevation, which will increase water runoff for the surrounding properties that already are subject to flooding. Other impacts include wildlife displacement, noise pollution, and light pollution. Many residents purchased their houses for the amenity of quiet neighborhoods, enjoyment of wildlife observance, and being able to see the stars at night.
Crime is another significant concern to raise─ according to WTSP, as of 27 April 2022, “storage unit thefts are up not just in the Bay area, but nationwide.” A study completed by ISS (Inside Self Storage) noted that “self-storage facilities have long attracted a criminal element… It doesn’t matter if your facility is in a high-crime area or the “better” part of town.” So much so in fact, that lawmakers across the country are beginning to limit, and even ban, construction of new storage facilities. Drug labs are convenient to be set up in storage units, as, unlike a house, it is a place that cannot be re-possessed by the police. "“It’s very common,” said Joseph Mazzuca, CEO of the Meth Lab Cleanup Company, who said he would find drug labs at storage units once a month when the epidemic was at its worst.” Those in the surrounding community are staunchly opposed to the wave of crime that will certainly follow the installation of this facility. For the reasons listed above and more, it is the belief of the undersigned that collective property values will decline with the addition of this facility.
DISREGARD OF COMMUNITY CHARACTER
The completion of this project would allow the installation of an unprecedented 50 foot high structure. There are no businesses or residences anywhere in the surrounding area that approach this height. This five story storage unit would create an out of place behemoth in the otherwise beautiful residential setting, destroying the long-standing community feel enjoyed by residents. Per the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan, one listed goal is to “allow appropriately timed and scaled development which supports, enhances, respects, and reinforces the identity and character of the Freedom CPA.” This project breaches this goal.
The Freedom Community Comprehensive plan notes that “any increases in land use densities will be generally limited in order to mitigate the impact on traffic and existing infrastructure.” Land use density is defined as the amount of development per acre permitted on a parcel under the applicable zoning. As such, the project’s plan to build a five story storage facility is an excessive increase in land use density, and cannot be defined as a limited increase, which goes against the plan’s framework. Furthermore, the plan states:
“Recognizing that many citizens came to the Freedom Area to escape the trappings of urbanization in surrounding counties, the government will not attempt to fundamentally transform communities against the will of existing homeowners and residents. Recognizing that Freedom is a suburban/rural area, government will respect the character of the community and its neighborhoods.”
If the Freedom Community Comprehensive plan were not to be applied to the Freedom CPA, and by extension applied to Project S-22-0033, the countless years of work that went into constructing this plan were an egregious waste of state government resources. A rule of the plan asserts that officials must “encourage community, stakeholder, and multi-jurisdictional participation and coordination in the implementation of the Freedom CPA’s Comprehensive Plan.” Ignoring the dire appeal of community residents and allowing Project S-22-0033 to move forward to completion would be a profound violation of the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan. This project is moving forward against the will of the existing homeowners and residents; thus, the undersigned residents implore Carroll County Government officials to terminate Project S-22-0033.
We note that any petition received may be made publically available by the Council, unless we specifically advise otherwise. In signing, the undersigned petitioners document their endorsement of the termination of Project S-22-033, validate that they share the concerns listed in the attached Cover Letter #21784, and certify they are at least 18 years of age.
Note: Featured photo is of a standard CubeSmart five story storage facility, which is the expected franchise the developer is going to contract with. The developer has worked with CubeSmart before. No donations are requested or solicited in support of this petition.