Birmingham City Council

Public Hearing Set on Proposal to Block New Self-Storage Developments in Birmingham

The Birmingham City Council will hold a public hearing next week to discuss a potential moratorium on new self-storage, mini-warehousing facilities in the city.

The proposal, spearheaded by District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, would halt all city involvement in the creation of new self-storage facilities — including the issuance of permits and zoning approvals — except in areas already zoned as M-4 (Planned Industrial) or I-4 (Industrial Park) districts.

O’Quinn said that his proposal stemmed from tips he had received that “multiple” property owners were considering building self-storage facilities in the city’s central business district. Placing a hold on those projects, he said, would “allow some space for the community to consider existing land use and zoning and where these types of businesses need to be located.”

One consideration, he said, is the city’s pending framework plan, which has yet to be completed for much of the central business district.

“Recommendation for changes in land uses and zoning on many parcels in downtown and surrounding areas are very likely” to result from the framework process, he said.

The framework plan for the Northside/Southside area is being drafted, according to the plan’s website; that draft will be shared during a round of public meetings this fall.

O’Quinn added that, because many self-storage facilities have very few employees, they “thus do not contribute to increasing density and vibrancy of a downtown (area).”

“As it stands, we could potentially see self-storage facilities spring up in existing or emerging entertainment districts. Likewise, their presence could have a significant negative impact on areas of downtown that have yet to experience the type of growth we’re seeing along Morris Avenue or in Parkside,” he said.

“The central business district is an important economic engine for the City of Birmingham,” he said. “We need to be intentional about making the best use of our downtown properties.”

Representatives for Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, who also recommended the public hearing, deferred to O’Quinn when asked to comment.

The public hearing is slated to take place during the council’s next regular meeting, on July 2, at 9:30 a.m. on the third floor of City Hall.