Planning Commission Recap: Property Approved for Storage

The Lowell Planning Commission had a short meeting on Monday night as they considered just one piece of a business: a request from Pro Seal Storage to use property at 1251 Bowes Rd. for equipment storage. Commissioner Marty Chambers was the only member absent from the session which lasted 35 minutes

Commercial Storage Warehouse Approved

Under new business, the Planning Commission considered a request from Pro Seal Storage for a special land use permit to use 1251 Bowes Rd. for commercial storage space. This property is largely empty except a baseball field and pole barn.

“I feel like I got lucky to find the place I found in Lowell,” explained Pro Seal Storage owner Dale Bibbler. He noted that he had been squeezed out of his previous storage space. “I’m just looking for storage…to park things and go home.”

Since Bibbler wasn’t proposing any new construction on the property – he plans to park his trucks in the existing building – a site plan was not required. However, a special land use permit was needed.

In reviewing the application, Andy Moore, a planning consultant to the city from the firm Williams & Works, said he didn’t see anything concerning. “This is a very passive use,” he noted. “The overall effect [on neighboring properties] is going to be pretty minimal, I think.”

Bibbler explained that he has two 700-gallon rigs that he takes to Grand Rapids to get materials for his work so nothing potentially hazardous will be stored on site. “I’m not a paving company,” he said. “I’m a maintenance company.”

Planning commissioners voted unanimously to approve the special land use permit on the condition that Bibbler bring his equipment to the property via an easement off Main Street rather than through the property from Bowes Rd.

Other Discussion

During staff reports, Moore noted that progress was being made in bringing New Union Brewery into compliance with their site plan requirement to pave their lot. Some additional work was still needed regarding drainage though.

Moore also noted that there had been concerns raised about noise coming from the gravel mining operation on Bowes Rd. He was working with City Manager Mike Burns to address the matter.

In his final comments of the night, Commissioner Dave Cadwallader said he would like to see more boat docks behind the Showboat.

Commissioner Tony Ellis asked if any progress had been made by the city when it came to cleaning out the river or improving access. At previous meetings, he suggested some type of clean-up of the Flat River take place, an activity that possibly last happened in 1997.

“No one drives a pontoon up [during the Thursday concerts] because there is no room anymore,” Ellis said.

Chair Bruce Barker suggested that the commission look into what would be involved in pursuing a water town or water trail designation for Lowell. Based on the commission’s findings, they could then make a recommendation to the Lowell City Council on further action.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35pm. The next regular meeting of the Lowell Planning Commission will be on Monday, November 10, at 7pm.

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