Riverside approves zoning for new storage units in old Morris Furniture building

Several residents of Riverside, along with members of council, spoke out about the need for consistency in approving new businesses in the city after council approved a zoning change on Thursday night to allow a new storage facility in the old Morris Furniture building.

The city was asked to rezone land at 2121 Harshman Road from business to light industrial, similar to what council rejected in October for a proposed U-Haul storage facility at the former Kmart location at 601 Woodman Drive. Cobblestone Capital is the developer involved with the Morris Furniture development.

Bev Campbell was the only city council member at the meeting who voted against the measure. One council member, Dan Teaford, was excused because he was not feeling well.

Lori Luckner, a Riverside resident, read off several comments that council members made when the U-Haul petition was denied. She said there are more residences near the Morris Furniture building than near the old Kmart and these decisions were inconsistent.

“I am not against business coming in to Riverside, but I am against this business coming into Morris, because you voted down U-Haul,” she said.

Mark Quinn, a resident associated with U-Haul, asked council not to put in a direct competitor after denying U-Haul, which already operates in Riverside, a new space.

“I’m opposed to having a competitor go in after we were denied,” he said.

He said U-Haul would like to pursue another spot in the city for a new storage facility.

Freda Patterson, Riverside resident, also commented during the meeting on the way council had changed their votes for different businesses.

“For those who are voting for the rezoning for Morris for self storage, I would like for you to please explain how this is OK when it was not OK for the Kmart building,” she said.

Peter Williams, Riverside mayor, and April Franklin, council member, both said that council should make a comprehensive plan for businesses coming into Riverside.

Businesses need to be able to expect how they’ll be treated, Williams said.

“This is what people who look to invest in our city are looking for,” he said. “They look for consistency.”

There has been little opposition from Riverside residents who live near the new storage facility.

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