FREMONT — After some discussion, the Fremont Plan Commission voted Tuesday in favor of rezoning a property at the corner of Walters Road and S.R. 120 from agriculture to R3 residential to allow the construction of self-storage units for high-end items such as boats and recreational vehicles.

Dan and Brandon VanGordon contend the rezoning, although allowed in the current zoning designation with a special exception, would be better.

“We received a letter from Jennifer Sharkey (county highway engineer) saying she had no problem putting a road in there,” said Dan VanGordon.

The entrance-exit for the property would be off of Walters Road, not S.R. 120 and would have to meet all Steuben County criteria.

VanGordon also said he spoke with Larry Gilbert, former county surveyor, just before his death and had been told he would receive a letter in favor from his office and the drainage board.

That letter did not arrive before Gilbert’s death on Sept. 29.

Were the property to stay zoned agriculture, Fremont’s zoning requirements would require the self-storage structures to be 500-feet away from residences on adjoining properties.

“That 500-feet would just kill it,” said VanGordon.

Multiple family R3 zoning, said Clerk-Treasurer Kathy Parsons, would not require any special exceptions for the project and would allow for standard setbacks, not the 500-feet requirement some other classifications have.

“What Brandon’s most concerned about is being able to do something with it,” said Dan VanGordon. “It’s on S.R. 120, it’s a good location.”

There is not water run to the property, though there are plans eventually, said commission member Steve Brown, to bring water out to Walters Road.

Commission member Keith Shaffer did want to remind the VanGordons that there are livestock in the vicinity which could mean a periodic smell from the animals. Neither had an issue with that.

“Our whole intent is storage facilities,” said Dan VanGordon.

Though R3 would allow for multiple family housing, VanGordon said they don’t have any plans to dive into that instead.

“I do think the board would give you a favorable recommendation to do what you want to do,” said Brown.

Commission President Jonathan Brown wanted to see something on paper, including a layout, but took a motion that the commission would proceed with the rezoning pending the layout.

Construction would potentially begin in 2021.

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