Self storage facilities a hot commodity

Even before construction started on a self-storage facility at 33 Schoolhouse Road, the owner returned to the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) with an application to enlarge the unbuilt facility, a request the board unanimously granted at its May 3 meeting.

CT Self Stor received unanimous P&Z approval at the Aug. 18, 2015 meeting to construct two storage facility buildings, one of which would have been 51,200 square feet and the other 23,600 square feet in the Corridor Design District 3 (CDD-3), which is a commercial zone.

The board approved the required special exception and site plan review in 2015. The project needed a special exception because self-storage facilities are not mentioned as either a permitted use or a prohibited use in that zone.

Attorney Thomas Lynch filed an amendment to that special exception and site plan review, which he presented at the May 3 meeting. Lynch said that company owners J.R. and Ron Clisham have received so many inquiries for storage space that they decided to increase the available space in the two buildings from 84,000 to 106,500 square feet.

Lynch said the parking area would be increased from the proposed 14 parking spaces to 21 spaces. He said the zoning regulations do not specify parking requirements for storage facilities, and this number was calculated based on usage at others company facilities. Vehicle access would be via a single driveway off Schoolhouse Road.

The Inland-Wetlands Agency was concerned about snowmelt from the parking lot affecting the wetlands, said Lynch. He said the agency approved an amended plan with the requirement that a landscaping buffer be planted in that area.

Project engineer James Sakonchick said 20 feet would be removed from the rear of one building to allow for increased parking, and a third story would be added to the building near Schoolhouse Road to provide the extra storage space.

Sakonchick said the proposed sidewalk along Schoolhouse Road would be moved away from the road to provide a snow storage shelf. With this sidewalk in place, there would be a continuous sidewalk from Route 1 by the CVS connecting to the sidewalk over the railroad tracks that leads to the sidewalk by Motel 6.

“This will clearly improve safety in the area,” said Sakonchick.

The application was filed as a public hearing, but no members of the public were present for that portion of the meeting, so there was no public comment.

The single-family house on the property has been demolished.

At the Aug. 18, 2015 meeting, J.R. Clisham told the board that his father, Ron, started the company in 1988 and he joined in 2000. J.R. Clisham said the company’s philosophy is to offer clean and convenient facilities with friendly staff.

J.R. Clisham said the facility would have two full-time staff members, who will be there Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. He said customers have gate access from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., depending on the location, with 24 hour access available based on special request.

The company has 11 facilities in Connecticut, the nearest of which is in Meriden, plus two in Massachusetts, the latter of which operate under the name Stor & Go Self Storage. The owner of the 3.5-acre property is Jordan Realty LLC, which lists James R. Beard of Milford as its member.

This is the second self-storage facility the board has approved in the past year. The site of the former Liberty Rock Motel on Rt. 1 at I-95 Exit 34 is slated to become the home of Lock Up Milford, a 669-unit self-storage facility.

The board approved various applications at its Dec. 15 meeting to allow the project at 417-421 Bridgeport Ave. to proceed.  These included a Coastal Area Management Site Plan Review, site plan approval, and changes to the zoning regulations.

The combined parcels on Route 1 are 1.25 acres in size. The building would be 85,025 square feet in size, of which 63,000 would be rentable space. The three-story building with a sprinkler system is designed to allow customers to drive into an interior area to unload their vehicles.