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Milford, CT, Officials Restrict Self-Storage Development Following Moratorium

Update 8/15/19 – The Milford Planning and Zoning Board unanimously adopted changes to the city’s zoning regulations last week that’ll restrict new self-storage development to the Housatonic Design District, a mixed-use industrial zone along the Housatonic River. The regulation goes into effect on Aug. 30, a month before the moratorium expires. Two people attended the public hearing and spoke in favor of the change, according to a source.

The ruling is in line with the city’s “Plan of Conservation and Development,” and will keep commercial corridors available to other types of development, Sulkis said. “We would probably lose some of that vitality by putting these uses in those corridors, since they really are a low-traffic sort of use that gobbles up large amounts of land.”

The regulation excludes limited industrial zones, as they provide space for startups and small businesses. Most of these zones have already been developed while the Housatonic Design District is a large zone that’s “fairly underutilized,” Sulkis said.

7/15/19 – The Milford Planning and Zoning Board unanimously voted this month to extend its moratorium on self-storage development to Sept. 30. It also approved distributing a draft of new zoning regulations for self-storage to city departments, area agencies and towns for review. The intent is to have the new regulations in place before the moratorium expires, according to a source.

The proposed regulation would limit self-storage development to the Housatonic Design District, which extends along the Housatonic River, south from Oronoque Road at Lexington Green to the southern boundary at Interstate 95. Self-storage is currently permitted in the Corridor Design Development District 3 (CDD-3).

In recent months, the city has received inquiries about storage development for a former Kmart and a Babies R Us building on U.S. Route 1, both of which are in the CDD-3, Sulkis said. “This is not a preferable use for our vibrant and important commercial corridor,” he added.

11/27/18 – The Milford Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously on Nov. 20 to impose a six-month moratorium on self-storage development. The ban will begin on Dec. 17 and end on June 30. The city will use the time to examine how the number of storage facilities in the area conforms to its conservation and development plan, according to the source.

During the public hearing, Nash indicated the amount of available self-storage space far exceeds Milford residential requirements. Using seven square feet per capita as the benchmark, the city’s population would need 371,000 square feet. That figure is far below available supply, as just five of the eight facilities in town comprise 469,000 square feet by themselves, she argued.

“Self-storage units are typically developed on very large sites and generate very few jobs,” Nash told the board. “We would like to ensure that any future development is appropriately geared toward that which will result in greater financial impact to better the city and its residents by generating domino effect business and creating more jobs.”

City staff could also use the moratorium to create new regulations targeted at self-storage, city planner David B. Sulki said during the meeting. He noted that several retail buildings within Corridor Design Development districts would be attractive for self-storage but that the use is “counter to the intent of the corridor districts.”

10/30/18 – Milford, Conn., officials are considering whether to impose a moratorium on self-storage development. The planning and zoning board voted unanimously last week to schedule a public hearing on the matter, though no meeting has been scheduled, according to the source.

The city’s economic development director, Julie Nash, made the request to the board, though it’s unclear from the report what prompted it. The report also doesn’t specify if the ban would be permanent, temporary or isolated to specific areas of the municipality.

Milford is home to at least eight self-storage facilities, with two projects approved in 2015. Its population is around 53,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Several municipalities have imposed self-storage development bans in recent months. Most recently, officials in Rock Hill, S.C., are looking to enact a six-month moratorium and limit where self-storage could be built. In April, the Arvada, Colo., City Council unanimously approved a 180-day moratorium to temporarily halt any self-storage applications for the area. The city is evaluating the business use in relation to its Comprehensive Plan.

Officials in Denver have approved a ban on self-storage in some areas. In January, the New York City Council banned self-storage development within industrial business zones without a special-use permit. The city also created a two-year application process, which includes a uniform land-use review procedure. Other cities to establish development barriers include Margate, Fla., Poulsbo, Wash., and Woodland, Calif.

Milford Mirror, Residents Outnumbered by Self-Storage Space: P&Z Sets Moratorium on Self-Storage Facilities
Milford Mirror, City Considers Moratorium on Self-Storage Facilities
Milford Mirror, City Extends Moratorium on Self-Storage Facilities
The Milford Mirror, Milford Restricts Location of Self-Storage Facilities

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