Family pitches self-storage facility on old motel site. Carol Stream leaders are concerned.
For more than 60 years, the old Coachlight Motel property along North Avenue has stayed in his family, and Jon Stults wants to keep it that way.
His father built the 12-room motel near Carol Stream with several tradesmen. After his dad died in 1965 -- at the end of Stults' junior year of high school -- his mom ran the motel for decades.
Esther Stults died three years ago at the age of 100, and since then, the family has struggled with what to do with the site of the shuttered motel, Stults said.
"The property to me is like sacred land in our family," Stults said.
Rather than sell it, the family has decided to hold on to the property and redevelop it. They're proposing to take down the long-standing motel and replace it with three self-storage buildings, the tallest of which would be three stories high.
The facility would sit on unincorporated land, putting the project ultimately under the purview of the DuPage County Board. But the site touches the municipal boundaries of Carol Stream, and village officials have raised concerns and questions about the proposed self-storage center, suggesting that it doesn't fit with their long-term vision for redevelopment along the North Avenue corridor.
The motel site also falls within 60 acres that Carol Stream has designated as a "key opportunity area" near the busy intersection of North Avenue and County Farm Road.
In a July 13 letter sent to the DuPage County zoning board of appeals, Carol Stream officials said the area holds particular "importance and potential in advancing the village's land use planning goals and objectives."
Since 2015, more than 12 acres of land in that area have been annexed into the village, including a property that was redeveloped into a multi-tenant commercial building with a Dunkin' Donuts at the northwest corner of North Avenue and County Farm.
The village also wants to see building elevations and landscaping plans for the self-storage facility in the interest of "fostering an attractive streetscape" along North Avenue.
"High-quality materials and a complete landscape plan could lessen Carol Stream's concerns about the character of the use," Community Development Director Don Bastian wrote.
During a public hearing earlier this month, the county zoning board told Stults and his representatives to provide details about on-site traffic patterns, turning radiuses and how storage users would get around the facility.
Zoning board members also called for a revised site plan showing the location of stormwater detention, well and septic, relative to parking areas and the layout of the storage buildings.
"We don't have a finalized plan, so we're asking questions and leading them along. They should finalize a plan and present it," Commissioner Barry Ketter said.
Stults is requesting a conditional use to allow for a self-storage facility at North Avenue and Ethel Street as well as several variations from the county zoning code.
As proposed, the main building would be climate-controlled. The other two buildings, both one-story structures, would sit behind or to the north of the larger facility.
"There's very, very high demand in the 3- to 5-mile radius for climate-control self-storage," said Stults, citing a feasibility study by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.
Customers would access the storage units from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Sundays, said Ryan Biller, an attorney representing Stults.
"There will be a manager and up to one employee on-site, Monday through Saturday from the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.," he said. "There will also be some limited hours on Sunday where staff will be present."
The public hearing on the proposed storage facility is scheduled to resume on Aug. 19. There have been no new submitted plans as of Tuesday, said Paul Hoss, the county's planning and zoning administration coordinator.
Though the Coachlight is closed, the owner and the Carol Stream Park District have an agreement through which users of the adjacent dog park can use the motel parking lot and walk to the Bark Park.