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The Daily Tar Heel

Storage Facility Worries Residents

Morningstar Mini-Storage wants to put a short-term storage facility near Alabama Avenue and the Windwood neighborhood.

The proposed floor area, which developer Morningstar has been working on for two years, is 163,363 square feet.

The developer owns a tract of 8.91 acres in all.

Residents fear the facility will be unsightly and invite crime and noise, driving their property values down.

At the meeting, Alderman Alex Zaffron suggested the developer remove one of the one-story buildings to create a larger buffer zone.

Chris Murphy, the development review administrator for the aldermen, explained that the buffer zone is a 30-foot area between Alabama Avenue and the proposed mini-storage site.

He said the new facility would comply with all regulations set up by Orange County and various other groups, such as Orange Water and Sewer Authority.

"The lighting is compliant," Murphy said. "It does comply with all parts of the land-use ordinance, but we would recommend more trees in the buffer zone."

Morningstar officials plan for the storage facility to contain one three-story building with heating and cooling capacities and a number of one-story storage facilities with typical garage-style doors.

"(Morningstar) likes to be a good corporate citizen," said Phyllis McArthur, a partner in the Morningstar company. "We want it to have a more residential feel."

She said the company tried to keep environmental concerns in mind when building.

"Wherever we build, we have lots and lots of green space.

"We have won landscaping awards in Greensboro for our buildings," McArthur said.

But residents didn't buy it.

"I am concerned about the negative impact this will have on property values," said Alabama Avenue resident David Branch. "My next-door neighbor already put her house up for sale because of her concern about property values."

Other residents voiced reservations to the aldermen about the destruction that could be caused by tearing down trees on the property.

"What concerns me is the destruction of the natural beauty of the environment that drew many of us to Carrboro," said Rebecca Bennett, another resident of Alabama Avenue.

Another concern that Branch had was the increase in crime that could result from the storage of valuables near his home.

"We live in a high-crime area already, and 24-hour access to it will be a great opportunity for the elements in the area," he said.

But Morningstar officials said they feel they have addressed this concern adequately by installing security cameras, key pads to gain entry into the facility and light fixtures all around the area.

"We hired professional managers and have a 24-hour security system," McArthur said.

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She said Morningstar was not interested in just building and selling the property a few years down the line.

"We want to be here forever."

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