The Ocoee City Commission is looking to better control the amount of new self-storage development that can take shape within the city after receiving an influx of applications for new storage projects.
At a city commission meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, commissioners will discuss passing a six-month moratorium on processing applications for development orders as well as issuing development permits and building permits for self-storage facilities within certain commercially zoned districts (C-3 and I-1).
“As trends change, we wanted a chance to look at what would be our optimum type of user in those areas,” Michael Rumer, Ocoee’s development services director, said. “We only got so much land available.”
There are six self-storage facilities within the city limits along S.R. 50, according to Rumer.
A moratorium will allow staff to facilitate a study that looks into the amount of developable land in Ocoee under those specific zoning districts and what the optimum carrying capacity of storage units is based on current and future populations, he said.
According to a summary sent to commissioners, the city’s vision includes providing opportunities for amenities such as restaurants, shopping, mixed-use centers, and employment.
“Self-storage facilities tend to be big buildings, with low trips and two employees, and that may be what’s appropriate for a certain parcel,” or it may be that the parcel is better suited for retail and restaurants or a mix of the three, Rumer said.
The City of Ocoee has a population of approximately 50,000 residents. Currently, there are 11 self-storage facilities that are operating, under development, or recently approved in the city.
Local property owner, Simmons Pet Properties LLC, is in the final stages of finalizing a site plan for a 104,900-square-foot self-storage facility on the east side of S.R. 429, by the Pet Paradise Winter Garden pet resort. The 8-acre site was originally intended to feature 16,180 square feet of retail/restaurant development, but plans fell through.
Adam Mikkelson, president of Orlando-based Liberty Investment Properties, told GrowthSpotter it’s not uncommon for municipalities to establish this kind of moratorium.
“Sometimes it’s a lack of understanding...some of it is maybe the city wanting more of a grasp on how [self-storage facilities] fit in the overall community development plans,” he said.
The company is behind several self-storage facilities throughout Central Florida, as well as around the nation. In 2019 it built the three-story 110,000-square-foot self-storage facility in downtown Orlando. The project features about 11,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.
“The asset is primarily a residentially driven business,” he said. ‘It’s meeting a great number of needs, especially in the COVID environment with more people needing to create more space in their homes.”
Liberty Investment Properties is not currently active in Ocoee.
Data shows the self-storage industry has been thriving over the past couple of years. Some factors that enhanced demand came from the pandemic when a high volume of renters and homeowners moved to different locations and housing types, as well as businesses downsizing or temporarily closing.
According to a recently released Yardi Matrix national self-storage report, the Orlando metropolitan area’s storage properties under construction or in the planning stages equaled 11.4% of existing stock nationwide, out beating all other Florida MSAs, including Miami and Tampa.