The area by Route 28 off of Perkins Road will be getting a new addition. Bluebird Londonderry, LLC had its application for a climate controlled self-storage unit approved at the Nov. 1 Planning Board meeting.
Joel Kahn, the managing member of Equity Alliance spoke at the public hearing for the application. Kahn acknowledged that, at first glance, their building seems like every other self-storage facility in town and residents wondered why Londonderry needed another one.
“Aren’t there enough of those in the world? Why would you want more?” Kahn joked. “This is different. This is climate controlled. This is not about outside doors, and you know, access is all internal,” he explained.
Kahn went on to say that the biggest difference between this facility and other is the humidity control. By regulating the heat and moisture in the storage units, it would provide better protection for the renter’s items. He stated that “there is a great need for that today.”
With some families and couples looking to downsize and move from multi-family homes into smaller rentals, Kahn asserted that storage units are a suitable alternative for those whose new homes don’t have the storage space they need.
Having the new storage facility next to the Twins Smoke Shop raised some concerns about increased traffic and parking. Kahn said “we don’t generate traffic… we’re quiet neighbors.”
One of the biggest debates about the project had to do with the design and making sure it kept up with the aesthetic of the area. In a previous Heritage meeting, the committee had asked if some brick could be added to the outside to the outside of the building. Brian Pratt, the engineer, said that the design was changed to incorporate the brick so the facility would match architecture of the surrounding buildings.
Despite the change, some committee members were still not entirely happy with the design. “I think it looks like a warehouse,” said Ann Chiampa. “I think it dwarfs everything in the area.” She went on to say that she would prefer the design of the roof be pitched, not flat, because it would be more in character with Londonderry. She felt the current design is “better suited to an industrial area.”
Pratt said the site is 3.5 acres and the building would be 104,000 square feet and three stories tall. The primary access point will be off of Perkins Road with a second emergency access driveway also off of Perkins. That will be gated and only accessible by the Londonderry Fire Department. The application proposed 13 parking spots in front of the building with more in the rear. There are also two loading docks planned for the front, and additional loading areas located around the building, so renters can have easier access to their units. Because the planned driveways would be less than 200 feet from the existing driveways for Twins Smoke Shop and the Sleep Inn, Bluebird Londonderry, LLC had to apply for two waivers, which the Planning Board granted.
Public debate led to a discussion of concerns about customers for Twins Smoke Shop using the parking lot for events and how that would affect traffic. Jan McLaughlin said she was worried about the proposed detention pond as well. “I’m concerned we’re going to have cars in there,” she said.
Kahn and Pratt assured her that there would not be an issue. The building would have restricted access and Pratt explained that there is a “15 foot separation between the edge of the pavement and where that detention pond starts. That’s plenty of recovery room if someone pops the curve.”
At the end of the discussion, Vice-Chair Mary Wing Soares and the board approved the application.