Application For Route 27 Self-Storage Facility Withdrawn For ‘Re-Envisioning’

1784 Capital Holdings will try again sometime next year.

Artist’s rendering of a proposed self-storage facility that ran into stiff opposition at the December 16 Zoning Board meeting.

Sensing his client’s application was going to be denied by the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the attorney representing the developer of a proposed self-storage facility on Route 27 withdrew it in favor of some “re-envisioning.”

Arizona-based 1784 Capital Holdings wants to build a three-story, 125,000-square-foot self-storage facility on the property that now houses Fama Nursery.

The facility would also include 75 spaces for long-term storage of recreational vehicles, boats and other vehicles.

It was the sheer scope of the project that turned off many of the Zoning Board members who sat through more than two hours of testimony at the Board’s December 16 meeting.

A number of neighbors of the property, including representatives of adjoining apartment complexes, voiced their objection to the project.

But it was after hearing negative comments from Board members Robert Shepherd, Kunal Lakhia, Gary Rosenthal and Cheryl Bethea, that Chris Murphy, 1784’s attorney, made his suggestion that the application be temporarily pulled.

“I think it might be worth us adjourning and going back and rethinking some of the elements, meeting with the neighbors, and maybe re-envision certain aspects of it,” he said. “I would hate to go down tonight and not be able to go ahead with it at all.”

“I think you’re wise asking for that,” Board chairman Robert Thomas said. “I think a lot of the problems can go away with a reduction in the size of the facility.”

The applicant’s engineer, architect and planner told the Board about the various elements the project entails.

Initial plans for light stanchions taller than what the township’s ordinance allows, and a six-foot wrought iron fence were modified during the hearing, with the lights coming down to honor township regulations, and the fence being replaced by a solid wall.

“The overall takeaway of this is a low-impact use, a use you want to see in an area like this,” Josh Kline, the project’s engineer, told the Board.

He said the targeted property’s shape – basically a long, narrow rectangle – made it hard to develop a residential or retail project.

He said the plan is to remove 76 of 98 trees, and then plant a total of 284 trees as part of the overall landscaping plan, which includes the planting of more than 190 shrubs.

The facility would not offer 24-hour access, Kline said. He said office hours would be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and that storage space renters could access it from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

The property’s neighbors expressed other objections, such as to the height of the building – 35 feet – and uncertainty over where stormwater runoff would go.

In the end, the idea of a 3-story building on that property, amidst solid residential uses, did not sit well with Board members.

The application is scheduled to be heard at the Board’s January 6. 2022 meeting, but Murphy indicated that he would probably need more time than that to meet with his client and neighbors.

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