RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A standing-room-only crowd packed the old Forest View Rescue Squad building Tuesday evening as property owners pushed back against plans to build a storage facility in the middle of their neighborhood. The developer and his attorney were also in attendance to defend the project.
Developer Michael Hanky is asking the city to re-zone the old Forest View Rescue Squad property from residential to commercial, with plans to build a 700-unit self-storage facility on the less-than-two-acre lot.
“There is more demand for storage in the area as a whole that what is available today,” he said.
The feedback from neighborhood residents in attendance, however, was mostly negative. They say the densely populated area just off the busy Forest Hill Avenue is not the place for a storage facility.
“Mainly just the safety concern of increased traffic,” one resident said.
Residents at times talked over one another in defense of keeping the business out of their neighborhood.
“I know at least 20 people in that room,” Sarah Abubaker said. “We’re very tight-knit.”
Abubaker called off a Westover Hills Neighborhood Association meeting so members could attend and weigh in.
“A storage facility nobody needs is not a benefit to us,” she argued.
Hankey said the designs will be church-like; quiet and surrounded by trees. He also assured neighbors there would be high security at the facility.
“Actual usage occurs between the building and Forest Hill Avenue,” he explained.
Worried about their property values and the scale of the project, many remained unconvinced.
“We’re very concerned, cautious.”
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.