Self storage facility denied in Branchville

Self storage facilities will not be permitted along Route 7’s business zone in Branchville.

That was the result of a pre-submission concept meeting for a multi-unit self storage facility at 71 Ethan Allen Highway — the lot next to Keane’s Autoworks — that went in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission on Dec. 18.  

“We’re proposing a climate-controlled, three-story building, or four stories, whatever’s allowed,” said Robert Gorman, who represents a buyer interested in the property.

Durant Party Rentals currently leases the property at 71 Ethan Allen Highway, just north of the Little Pub and the Route 7 and Route 102 intersection.

Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti said the town would have to change its regulations to allow self storage facilities in the B1 business zone, and that doing so would open the door to an influx of self-storage developments.

“So what you’re asking us to do is to allow self storage in the B1 zone to accommodate this one particular piece of property on Route 7… but it would also open up” the rest of the zone to self storage, Mucchetti said.

“How do we feel about that?” she asked the commission.

“Not good,” said Commissioner John Katz.

Gorman argued the town is currently underserved by self-storage facilities.

“That’s partially due to the Northeast, because in the Northeast we have basements,” he said.

The commission didn’t bite.

Commissioner Bob Cascella said he was concerned that a “big ugly building” would mark the entrance to the town.

“That’s ugly to you?” asked Gorman, holding up a rendering of the facility.

“The answer to that is yes,” said Katz.

Mucchetti said the commission wants village buildings — not “industrial.”

“It’s not the property itself, it’s opening it up to a use in the B1 zone,” she added.