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I-Deal Self Storage Wins Approval to Build in Dryden, NY


Update 11/8/16 – I-Deal Self Storage received unanimous approval from the Dryden Town Board last month to develop its Enterprise Drive project. The board voted 5-0 to grant Hilker a special-use permit but will require him to pick a unit-door color other than orange to meet zoning regulations in the district, according to the source. The developer won’t have to construct sidewalks as part of the project, as had been previously proposed.

The board argued against Hilker’s assertion that orange doors were a necessary part of his brand identity. Cipolla-Dennis countered that prospective customers were more likely to look for self-storage through a Google search than door color, while fellow board member Kathryn Servoss noted, “It’s really the design of the building that shows it’s a storage facility.”

Hilker ultimately agreed customers would come to the facility for self-storage needs regardless of door color, the source reported. The business owner successfully rebuked the proposed sidewalk requirement, noting that that portion of the project would be an unnecessary expense since the self-storage facility won’t generate foot traffic.

10/4/16 – I-Deal Self Storage, which operates two facilities in Ithaca and one in Trumansburg, N.Y., is seeking approval to build a fourth location in Dryden, N.Y. Company owner Willis Hilker presented his proposal to the city’s planning and zoning department during a Sept. 15 meeting. The desired site is at the corner of Enterprise Drive and Freeville Road in a mixed-use commercial zoning district. A special-use permit would need to be granted for the project to move forward, according to the source. A public hearing is set for Oct. 20.

The proximity to Tompkins Cortland Community College was a major draw to the proposed site, Hilker told the board. I-Deal’s two Ithaca properties are near Cornell University. “This last year, we had call after call after call wanting storage [in Trumansburg] because there wasn’t anything over here available,” he said.

The plans include a single building comprising 10,500 square feet of storage space in 121 units on about a half acre of the nearly 2-acre plot. The facility is sketched at 70 by 150 feet with five parking spaces, the source reported.

Based on the sketch plan, the planning department recommended the board waive a full site-plan review and accept the proposal with seven conditions. Three of stipulations were discussed during the meeting.

Although the plans call for landscaping in front of the property, the board had concerns about the facility’s orange doors and how they would blend with future developments. “That’s a branding for us. Actually, it’s a branding for self-storage nationwide,” Hilker said. Board members said they’ve seen other facilities with doors in other colors. “You could be a trendsetter,” said Linda Lavine, councilwoman.

The board also requested that sidewalks “be required for continuity and connectivity to adjacent Village sidewalks and to future businesses along the corridor.” Hilker said the request would be “problematic” due to a dead end at the back of Enterprise Drive and the lack of foot traffic on Freeville Road, the source reported.

The board also recommended minimizing the use of metal siding in favor of lightweight stucco finishes.

Councilwoman Deborah Cipolla-Dennis asked if solar energy would be incorporated into the project. Although it was considered, Hilker said the cost prohibited it. The buildings will be insulated and have dehumidifiers, the source reported. I-Deal installed solar panels on its main office in Ithaca in 2008, according to its website.

During the meeting, Deana Madigan, a town board candidate, stressed the need for new business. “Our town has got to give people a reason to come here,” said Madigan, who owns Shear Visions Hair Salon. “We have to. We have to have businesses grow. We have to have new business. We have to have people [who] want to stay here and that are not being run out because of the taxes.”

The town board has been working to bring new business into the area, according to Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer, who cited solar companies, solar farms and self-storage as possible developments.

Although Madigan said she didn’t think storage facilities would bring in residents, Leifer noted there’s a need in community for them. Last year, the board approved a zoning request by Dan Hagberg and Nick Huber, owners of valet-style self-storage company Storage Squad. The facility is expected to open at 1401 Dryden Road in February.


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