A proposed zoning change in New York City could put the brakes on self-storage development in many parts of the city.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan would eliminate by-right development for self-storage facilities in industrial building zones (IBZs). Along with hotels, self-storage projects would be prevented from developing in any of the city’s 21 IBZs without obtaining a special use permits.

The plan is part of de Blasio’s initiative to bolster New York City’s manufacturing industry.

“Manufacturing isn’t just past of New York City’s past – it is a thriving part of our 21st century economy,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Self-storage industry responds

Shortly after details of the plan emerged, the Self Storage Association issued a statement condemning the proposal. According to the SSA, the proposal will make it harder for private storage developers to invest in the city and build new supply.

Tim Dietz
SSA President & CEO Tim Dietz said limiting new self-storage development in NYC increases prices for consumers.

“Providers of self-storage are working to meet demand, which was not satisfied during the economic downturn a few years ago. These zoning restrictions will lead to further unmet demand for small business and consumers,” Tim Dietz, SSA president and CEO, told the SpareFoot Storage Beat.

Dietz said the de Blasio administration consulted manufacturing advocates in crafting the new zoning regulations, but self-storage and hotel advocates were not brought in the loop.

“We were not asked to provide comments on behalf of our sector, yet the end result institutes barriers to entry for our industry. The decision by edict appears to be arbitrary,” Dietz said.

Matt Powers, president of the New York Self Storage Association, said they are forming a stakeholder group and coordinating their response with the national association.

Protecting manufacturers

According to a press release from the de Blasio administration, the new restrictions are meant to safeguard opportunities for industrial and manufacturing businesses “against the influx of tourist hotels and personal mini-storage facilities.”

The release further explains the rationale behind the new land use controls: “Such storage facilities do not create a high number of jobs and thus do not align with the Mayor and Council’s vision for economic development in core industrial areas.”

Top photo via NYC Mayoral Photography Office

Alexander Harris