The Elk Grove Planning Commission on Jan. 6 unanimously approved an expansion project featuring a three-story, 55,367- square-foot, personal storage building and a solar carport for Life Storage at 9800 Dino Drive and the parcel immediate to the north.

The new storage facility will have 432 storage units, which will range in size from 25 square feet to 300 square feet. It will be built in an area of the property with existing asphalt and concrete pavement.

Levels of the three stories of the building will vary in elevation, with heights ranging from 29 feet to 36 feet.

Also included in the commission’s approval are lighting improvements and the demolition of an outdoor, recreation vehicle parking area. A new parking area with 16 spaces will be constructed to the north of the building, and the carport will be mounted above 34% of that parking area. Additionally to the north side of the building will be storefront access to the building.

The 8.5-acre project site is currently occupied with eight mini storage buildings, a manager’s office, landscaping along Dino Drive and parking areas, including the recreation vehicle parking area.

The property has a masonry wall along Dino Drive to shield the mini-storage buildings from public view, and two gate entrances, to the north and south.

Located around the site, to the north, east, south and west, are properties with industrial and office uses.

In fulfilling a requirement for the construction of the three-story, personal storage building, it will be built with a design that was determined to be compatible to the surrounding area.

According to Sacramento County records, the personal storage facility predates cityhood in Elk Grove. Those records show that the site was developed for its current purpose prior to the city’s 2000 incorporation.

In 2001, when the facility was less than a year old, the city’s Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit to expand the site’s outdoor, recreation vehicle storage area.

Sixteen years later, the commission approved the construction of two of the property’s mini-storage buildings, which total about 18,559 feet. That approval brought the total of those buildings to its current number of eight.

Joseph Daguman, assistant planner with the city, told the commission that the city’s staff reviewed the site plan and found it to be consistent with development standards of the city’s municipal code, pertaining to the structure’s height, floor area ratio, setback and parking area requirements.

He added that the city’s municipal code allows for the use of alternative shade structures, including carports, “in lieu of parking lot trees,” in the event that they have a secondary benefit such as energy conservation, and that it is suitable with the site’s stormwater management requirements.

Daguman further noted that the carport is consistent with the city’s General Plan.

“This utilization of carport is consistent with General Plan policy NR-6-7, which encourages the use of solar energy systems in homes, commercial businesses and city facilities as a form of renewable energy,” he said. “And finally, the carport would not impact the stormwater management on site.”

The project was also found to comply with the General Plan’s Environmental Impact Report and the city’s Climate Action Plan for nonresidential development.

Prior to the commission’s approval of the project, Chair George Murphey mentioned that it was a “pretty straightforward project.”

“The fact that there’s nothing changing out here, as far as the (site’s) actually layout goes and the amount of coverage on the property makes this a pretty straightforward project.”