U-Haul of Dayton has pulled out of its agreement to lease the former K-Mart property on Woodman Drive in Riverside, according to Mark Quinn, the company’s marketing president.
For over a year, Riverside City Council has deliberated on whether to allow U-Haul to redevelop the property into a storage and truck terminal by either rezoning the parcel or by updating the zoning code. After voting not to rezone the property to industrial in September, the council voted on Oct. 15 not to update the city’s business zoning code.
In a 4-3 vote, the council decided not to amend the zoning code to allow self-storage under B-2 zoning, how the former K-Mart property is currently zoned. The council also shot down in a 6-1 vote an ordinance establishing B-3 zoning, a new category which the property could later have been rezoned to to allow self-storage.
Quinn said he is “extremely disappointed by the decision.” The storage at U-Haul’s location on Linden Avenue in Riverside is at capacity, he said.
“We feel that there’s a need for our products and services in that area,” he said. "We also believe big box stores are slowly dying throughout the United States ... so the ability to sell that building to a big box company is difficult ... and U-Haul is a sustainable company; we try to take old buildings and repurpose them.”
U-Haul of Dayton is looking at other properties in Englewood and Beavercreek, Quinn said.
Mayor Peter Williams, the only council member who voted yes for both ordinances, questioned during the meeting how much control the city should exercise over what a private property can become.
“It’s something I think about a lot: how we treat companies who want to invest in our city,” he told the Dayton Daily News.
Councilwomen Brenda Fry and April Franklin voted yes to updating B-2 zoning but no to creating B-3 zoning. Fry said she believes it’s appropriate to allow self-storage in a B-2 property but creating a new zoning category that would apply to few properties was “biting off a lot more.”
“My approach has been to really try not to consider the individual business ... and to just think about it more broadly and what are the needs in the community," she said. "I’m still hopeful that we can do something about storage fairly.”
Fry said it’s unfortunate the community appears to be focusing on U-Haul as the city’s “only opportunity” because she doesn’t believe that’s true.
Councilman Mike Denning said he voted no on both ordinances because he doesn’t “want to see the city become the storage capital of the state.” He pointed out that U-Haul would bring very few jobs, a contention echoed by councilman Dan Teaford. Quinn said the U-Haul location his company is looking to build would likely employ 12 people.
Both Denning and Teaford told the Dayton Daily News there is another business interested in the property but they could not disclose the business’s name. Fry said there could be renewed interest in the building now that it’s on the market again. During a council meeting in mid-September, a woman said she was an attorney representing a Fortune 500 retailer that is interested in the location and maintaining its current zoning but she also did not disclose the business’s name.
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