Milford restricts location of self-storage facilities
The Milford Planning and Zoning Board on Aug. 6 unanimously adopted changes to the city’s zoning regulations, restricting the location of future self-storage units to the Housatonic Design District, a mixed-use industrial zone along the Housatonic River.
Self-storage facilities had previously been permitted in other zones, including office zones, industrial zones and commercial zones, along with the Housatonic Design District zone.
The Housatonic Design District zone extends along the Housatonic River, south from Oronoque Road at Lexington Green to the zone’s southern boundary at I-95, excluding Caswell Cove condominiums, which is the Waterfront Design District zone. The Housatonic Design District zone varies in width: the section north of Caswell Cove encompasses both sides of Oronoque Road, while south of Caswell Cove, the Housatonic Design District zone is located between the Housatonic River and the Naugatuck branch of Metro North.
The regulation change is effective Aug. 30, which is a month before the board’s moratorium on applications for new self-storage facilities expires.
The board first approved the moratorium at its Nov. 20, 2018 meeting, and with the moratorium having expired on June 30, the board voted in July to extend it to Sept. 30.
In his review of the proposal, City Planner David B. Sulkis wrote that the moratorium was prompted by a letter from the city’s Economic Development Commission, and that self-storage use is counter to the intent of the Corridor Design District zones, as described in the board’s Plan of Conservation and Development.
Speaking to the board on Aug. 6, Sulkis said the change was prompted in part by inquiries to his office about some large commercial buildings on Route 1 for possible use as self-storage facilities.
“Those sites really lend themselves to other forms of development, which I believe would be better for the city in the long term than a self-storage use,” said Sulkis.
Sulkis said limiting the use to the Housatonic Design District zone is in keeping with the Plan of Conservation and Development. He said the change keeps commercial corridors as vital corridors, which the city probably would not have if storage facilities were permitted.
“We would probably lose some of that vitality by putting these uses in those corridors, since they really are a low traffic sort of use that gobbles up large amounts of land,” said Sulkis.
Sulkis said the new regulation excludes Limited Industrial zones because these provide space for startup businesses and small companies. He said most Limited Industrial zones are developed, whereas he said the Housatonic Design District zone is a “fairly large zone that is fairly underutilized.”
Only two people attended the public hearing and they both spoke in favor of the regulation change.
Milford Economic and Community Development Director Julie Nash made the moratorium request to the board at its Nov. 20, 2018 meeting. Nash spoke in favor of the regulation change at the Aug. 6 meeting, saying the change is in keeping with the Plan of Conservation and Development.
Nash said Milford has 53,000 residents, and the self-storage industry recommends seven square feet of storage per capita, which equates to 371,000 square feet of space for city residents. Nash said just five of the seven facilities in Milford contain a total of 469,000 square feet of storage space.
“I think we have reached the saturation point,” said Nash.
Attorney Thomas Lynch represented CT Self Storage before the board in 2015, which approved the plan for its facility at 33 Schoolhouse Road. Lynch said he was representing CT Self Storage with his remarks on Aug. 6, saying his client has more than 106,000 square feet of storage space and has invested more than $6.5 million in purchasing and developing the property, while paying close to $120,000 in property taxes a year.
With the “proliferation of self-storage units in Milford and Stratford,” Lynch spoke in favor of limiting the facilities to the Housatonic Design District zone.
“That zone, as David [Sulkis] said, is more or less a mixed use area that does encourage development along industrial lines and it does encourage warehouse facilities. On a going forward basis, we feel that is an appropriate change to make to the zoning regulations,” said Lynch.
The board approved a self-storage facility for CT Self Stor at 33 Schoolhouse Road at its Aug. 18, 2015 meeting, and one for Lock Up Self Storage at 421 Bridgeport Avenue, at its Dec. 15, 2015 meeting. Both facilities have been constructed.
According to online listings, other storage businesses in the city include CubeSmart Self-Storage at 90 Rowe Avenue, Extra Space Storage at 488 Boston Post Road, EZ Access Self Storage at 540 New Haven Avenue, Good Friend Self-Storage at 1599-B Boston Post Road, Hacienda Storage at 125 Old Gate Lane, and Life Storage at 1525 Boston Post Road.