The Conservation Commission voted to recommend the Planning Board consider granting a conditional use permit for a self-storage facility on Planeview Drive if the site plan is amended to remove pavement in a conservation buffer.
As proposed, the site plan for the 23,700-square- foot development features three, 30-foot-wide buildings with storage units, a small office building and 22 parking spaces.
Earl Sandford, the engineer for the project, said the state a couple years ago granted approval to impact 9,300 square feet of land and that the site plan leaves 3.75 acres of the property in conservation to mitigate the disturbance.
“We’re using the same footprint of what was approved and we’re using the same area of impact, so we don’t have to go for a whole new dredge-and-fill permit,” he said.
However, the development is less than 50 feet from a wetland on the site and pavement behind one of the three self-storage buildings to be constructed lies within a wetland buffer.
“We don’t have any buildings within the 50 feet. The only thing encroaching is 30 feet of pavement to get by the building,” Sandford said, noting they moved the three storage facilities back on the site and pushed back a proposed cul-de-sac to serve as the access to the property to limit impacts to wetlands.
Commissioner Deb Lievens said pavement within a buffer is not included in the Town’s Ordinance with regard to granting a conditional use permit.
“Our interpretation has been it’s not for driving around, it’s so people can actually use their property,” she said. “Say it’s a cul-de-sac – we can give you a permit to go through a buffer because that’s important for access to the property.”
The Commission agreed it could support a conditional use permit for the site plan if the developer removes the pavement from the wetland buffer.
But Sandford said the pavement is important to the efficient flow of traffic around the building.
“I have done the radiuses – this is the best design for easy in and out,” he said.
“I don’t see how it’s possible where they have vehicle storage for boats and campers. If you try to maneuver a large vehicle around there with other people parked at their units and with the buildings being situated where they are, I don’t see how they could do it,” Commissioner Jamie Mantini agreed.
But Lievens said she thinks development on the property should fit the site.
“I have a problem with the project itself allowing buffer impact on a property that has space and room for buildings, and every time we approve a building like this, we may lose a little ground for future activities,” she said. “The intent in the past has been we don’t feel we can limit people’s access to properties, but we don’t have to develop the perfect plan for them with everything they want just because there’s the opportunity for a conditional use permit.”
Chairman Marge Badois noted if the proposed buildings were shorter, there would be a greater turn radius around the perimeter of the facility.
The Commission agreed to recommend the Planning Board consider granting the project a conditional use permit, understanding it would support the permit if there were no pavement in the wetland buffer.