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Marion considers ordinance on storage unit placement

A sign at a storage facility in Marion.

The city of Marion is actively considering an ordinance on where storage unit businesses can built their facilities. City council members had contacted the Community planning department after seeing an influx of facilities across town and now await a possible decision on a moratorium to come up with a plan.

"We are not prohibiting the industry. We are allowing it, we are just looking to allow it in areas we want it to," David Hockett, Marion's Principal planner for community development said.

Marion's flexible zoning standards currently allow the construction of facilities all along seventh avenue and other areas. That's because they are zoned as general commercial. The city is now looking for solutions to rezone and possibly move new businesses towards the industrial parts of town. Businesses that are already in place would not have to move but may not be able to expand.

"Many communities look at the industrial districts for these kinds of businesses. That's the direction to begin with but we also want to address the temporary crates and that if we allow them in our commercial districts that they maybe have a retail storefront to them," Hockett said.

The two major concerns for Hockett and other officials are the accessibility and looks for an actual retail space. The issue being that storage facilities are often described as empty dead zones versus retail spaces attracting people throughout the day.

"In 20, 30, 40 years for the city we want to make sure we have viable retail areas and office spaces rather than just warehouse space,"Hockett said.

The process is in the very early stages and no decision on what a plan might look like has been made. The city is looking to contact business owners in the future and give them an opportunity to speak at meetings to find an ideal solution for all parties involved.

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