Self-storage facility approved on Schoolhouse Road
A self-storage facility will be built at 33 Schoolhouse Road, following quick and unanimous Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) approval on Aug. 18.
The serene tone of the public hearing was dramatically different than most meetings in 2015, which have been well attended by residents angry about various affordable housing proposals in their neighborhoods. At the Aug. 18 public hearing, there were zero residents in attendance and therefore no public comment on the proposal.
The board did spend the first half hour of the meeting in executive session to discuss a court-ordered settlement overturning the board’s denial of an 8-30g application at 86 Pond Point Avenue. The ruling regarding the plan for 23 condominiums on 2.7 acres was issued on June 29.
The board met with city attorney Jonathan Berchem and city planner David B. Sulkis to discuss the judge’s ruling. The board will continue those discussions at its Sept. 1 meeting.
Storage Facility Details
CT Self Stor filed the application for two storage facility buildings, one of which would be 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.
The company has 10 facilities in Connecticut, the nearest of which is in Meriden, plus two in Massachusetts, the latter of which operates 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.
Attorney Thomas Lynch, who was representing Jordan Realty, said the CDD-3 zone allows a variety of commercial uses, but self-storage facilities are not mentioned as either a permitted use or a prohibited use, hence the need for a special exception.
Lynch said there would be 595 storage units, ranging in size from a closet, which the company’s website defines as five feet. deep by five feet wide to 300 square feet,, which the website lists as 10 feet by 30 feet or equivalent in size to a two-car garage.
Vehicle access would be via a single driveway off Schoolhouse Road. There would be 14 parking spaces, one of which would be designated as handicapped parking, said Lynch. He said Milford parking regulations do not specifically address self-storage facilities, but said Cromwell requires one parking space per 50 units, while Groton requires one space per 100 units.
“I think it will be good for the area because it will generate a very low level of traffic,” said Lynch.
The self-storage proposal was introduced at the board’s July 21 meeting, but was delayed a month so the applicant could revise the plans to address recommendations from Sulkis.
Lynch said a five-foot wide landscaping buffer would be added in front of the large building. Also, the rear façade facing the railroad tracks would be changed from the original design of a plain wall to one with windows, matching the appearance of the other three walls. The applicant also agreed to recommendations from the Milford Tree Commission for the property.
Project Engineer James Sakonchick said the project would include a sidewalk from the adjacent CVS property extending across the company’s property to the railroad bridge. He said the buildings would be climate-controlled with elevators.
At the request of the fire department, the buildings will include sprinklers, which Sakonchick said is not required by the fire code. He said he worked with the fire department to insure that its vehicles had adequate turning radii around the buildings. He said the existing single-family house would be removed.
Sakonchick said, “A substantial portion of the site is left green,” including a large detention pond to collect and treat stormwater runoff from the buildings and parking lot.
The project received unanimous Inland-Wetlands Agency approval at its April 1 meeting. The project required IWA review because the proposed detention pond is within 150 feet of the upland review area for the Beaver Brook watershed. The IWA imposed conditions, including requiring signs by the pond to prohibit placement of snow in that area. Also, the applicant has to submit an invasive plant species inspection and removal plan.
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.
Ron Clisham told the board, “We don’t have anyone else running our places except ourselves.”
Commenting on the company’s expansion, J.R. Clisham said, “There is a demand out there and we are building toward that demand.”
In other business, Lynch is also represented Beach Village LLC, which is seeking an amendment to a special permit and site plan review to approve converting two mixed use buildings to two four-unit residential buildings, Buildings A and D.
The hearing was continued to the board’s Sept. 1 meeting. Lynch said a portion of the property is located within the coastal management zone and requires state review of the proposal.
Explaining the reason for the application, Lynch said, “Banks will not lend money on commercial condominiums. There is no market for them.”