Planning Board May Modify Zoning to Allow Self-Storage in Williamstown, MA

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The planning board in Williamstown, Mass., is considering a modification to its zoning bylaws to permit self-storage developments. The current zoning doesn’t specifically address the service. The board asked Town Planner Andrew Groff to research how other communities zone self-storage facilities, where they permit them to be built, and how the areas have been affected by the business.

In ongoing discussions, the Williamstown Planning Board has determined self-storage would likely fit in the light-industrial zone, but the town has few areas zoned for these purposes, according to Chris Winters, planning board chairman. Currently, the town’s bylaws limit light-industrial developments to research laboratories, office buildings and select light industries that are compatible with residential communities.

The town’s limited industrial zones are along North Hoosac Road and Cole Avenue, as well as near the town garage, sewer plant and transfer station off Simonds Road. Self-storage facilities would be a good fit for some underutilized buildings or town parcels, Groff told the source. Winters also said there seems to be a demand for the service, so the planning board is willing to consider the bylaw change.

A zoning change would require a warrant article to be drafted, vetted at a public hearing and approved by the town’s board members before the May 20 annual town meeting. Any self-storage developments would be required to meet in-place building and height codes  of 35 feet or 2.5 stories, Winters said.

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