Planning Board Backs Plan to Ban Self-Storage From 3 Districts in Woburn, MA

The Woburn, Mass., Planning Board has unanimously recommended the city council approve an ordinance that would eliminate self-storage as an allowable use in the city’s business-interstate, industrial-park and industrial-general zoning districts. The measure is sponsored by council president Richard Haggerty, who believes self-storage doesn’t generate enough tax revenue and devalues industrial properties, according to the source.

The Woburn, Mass., Planning Board has unanimously recommended the city council approve an ordinance that would eliminate self-storage as an allowable use in the city’s business-interstate, industrial-park and industrial-general zoning districts. The measure is sponsored by council president Richard Haggerty, who believes self-storage doesn’t generate enough tax revenue and devalues industrial properties, according to the source.

“There seems to be a trend of turning these industrial buildings into warehouse facilities,” Haggerty told planners during a recent meeting. “I look at our zoning in the city and want to encourage higher-end uses. There’s really no jobs created by these [self-storage businesses], and they tend to devalue properties when they’re converted.”

Though Haggerty acknowledged there’s consumer need for self-storage, he believes the local market is saturated. “We have seven of them. I think we have plenty to meet the needs of the community,” he said.

Planner Michael Ventresca noted there have been instances when converting an existing building to self-storage has made sense for the city. Calling the use “low impact,” he also warned that banning self-storage from the identified districts would eliminate the use as a possible fit for industrial buildings that border neighborhoods or high-traffic corridors.

Haggerty countered that many residents tend to oppose self-storage within neighborhoods. He argued that other uses would provide better investment opportunities for the city, the source reported.

If passed, existing self-storage businesses would be allowed to continue operation as pre-existing, non-conforming uses, according to the source. The report didn’t indicate when the city council is likely to vote on the ordinance.

Sources:

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