Inyo Supes try to resolve dispute over permitting a storage facility in Wilkerson

By Deb Murphy

Last Tuesday afternoon’s Inyo Board of Supervisors timed item was eerily familiar. A land owner needed a conditional use permit on his property, neighbors hated the proposed use and the Planning Commission passed on the issue.

In late August, the Bishop City Council listened as East Line Street residents slammed a metal building for personal storage on a lot zoned for retail. The neighbors hated it and in this case the Planning Commissioners nixed the project and the owners, Roy and Beulah Chacon appealed to the Council—and got their project nixed a second time.

Tuesday, Marty Williams appealed a non-decision (the same as a no) by the County’s Commission for a storage facility at the corner of Gerkin and North roads in Wilkerson. Currently, the site hosts an abandoned blue building that once was a convenience store that served really good pizza according to Supervisor Rick Pucci.

Chair Dan Totheroh grilled Williams after the neighbors expressed their fears, fears that ranged from out-of-the-area folks in their neighborhood to safety issues. Totheroh tried to assuage residents’ fears but ran out of time. The final resolution was worthy of a Solomon. Planning staff will get together with Williams and his potential neighbors to see if there’s a way to move forward. Then come back before the Board in early November.

But there are a lot of neighbors’ issues that have to be resolved.

Like the Line Street case, the land is not zoned residential—the one use protestors thought made sense. Retail and C-2, the zoning on the Gerkin property, properties technically have a greater monetary value than residential zoning. The County can’t arbitrarily change zoning unless the owner asks for the move. That would amount to a take.

Also like Line Street, anti-project folks were reminded what could go into the site consistent with the zoning and not up for review or community input. In Bishop, the worst case scenario was a Seven-11. In Wilkerson, the lot could be used for a trailer park, motel or liquor store, to name just a few enterprises drawing folks not from the community in droves.

Williams’ project would include 41 containers, brand new and painted beige, motion sensor lighting and no electricity so those storing materials couldn’t use the facility for other operations. He’s already put up a wooden fence at the back of the lot and removed dead trees, leaving enough to reduce the visual impact.

Williams owns a larger facility, with 130 units, in Laws, zoned industrial.

Neighbors list of bad things included the site would attract transients as well as folks not from Wilkerson, a proposed Porta-Potty wasn’t pleasing, diminished property values, a school bus stop close by and people would party at the site.

Acting CAO Clint Quilter came up with the potential resolution. Planning Director Catherine Richards agreed to get the neighbors together with staff and Williams and see what could be resolved.

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9 Responses to Inyo Supes try to resolve dispute over permitting a storage facility in Wilkerson

  1. Wondering October 10, 2018 at 6:26 am #

    I do not understand why this is even being questioned? If this is a commercial property…..and the owner wants to put something Commercial on it? Someone please explain this to me……..

    • Bishop Local October 12, 2018 at 6:12 am #

      Commercial tends to refer to thungs that are more active – like stores, restaurants, or professional offices.

  2. Trouble October 9, 2018 at 1:06 pm #

    Bishop has plenty of empty buildings for storage. And Wilkerson already has one. But who real cares.

    • sugarmags October 10, 2018 at 9:11 am #

      It’d probably be cheaper to construct new mini storage on vacant land than to alter the interior of a commercial building into personal size storage spaces. And not the best use of downtown commercial space either.
      It is interesting that residential rents have gone through the roof and we have almost a zero vacancy rate while commercial properties are languishing.

  3. Rick O'Brien October 8, 2018 at 11:31 pm #

    I don’t think that there’ll be too much “partying” going down at a storage facility , and don’t the Bishop folks have a need for additional storage ?

  4. Tinner October 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

    “That would amount to a take.”

    • Tinner October 8, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

      What does that mean?

      • sugarmags October 9, 2018 at 2:54 pm #

        As in a taking of private property for public use. I’m not sure they’re correct, but I think they’re saying a downsizing of one’s zoning could be interpreted as an eminent domain type of ‘taking’

  5. sugarmags October 8, 2018 at 9:20 am #

    Such NIMBYISM….its a commercially zoned lot, let the owner use it. There should be interior lighting of the units for safe use. But I don’t see any reason for a porta-potty. Most storage places do not have bathrooms available for use. Most storage places are secure….Require the owner to completely fence the property, with a gate with a keypad for users.
    Just because you live nearby, you don’t get to pick what your neighbor legally uses their property for.
    Or, band together and buy him out!


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