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Old Lyme, CT, Officials Discuss Possible Self-Storage Moratorium, Development Restrictions

February 27, 2024

4 Min Read

Update 2/27/24 – The Old Lyme, Connecticut, Planning Commission voted against establishing a moratorium on self-storage development. As reasoning, members cited a conflict with the town’s long-term planning document for economic development. To achieve its goal, the zoning board will now need at least four of the five members to vote in favor of the measure at a March 11 meeting.

The planning commission was tasked with determining whether the proposed moratorium is consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, according to town counsel Ed Cassella.

“The town encourages additional development that is consistent with the historical and cultural character of the community, and provides goods and services or employment to residents,” said Harold Thompson, chair of the planning committee. “Growth of light industry, as well as distribution and office facilities, are permitted in the vicinity of Exit 71 off I-95. There is room for additional commercial growth along Halls Road and in specific locations along Route 1 in Laysville and Route 156 in the shore area.”

Kid’s Realty and Pond Road LLC are challenging the zoning commission’s denial with the state Superior Court.

1/15/24 – A development proposed by Kid’s Realty LLC and Pond Road LLC was denied last week in a 3-2 vote by the Old Lyme, Connecticut, zoning commission. In addition, the commission once again discussed establishing a six-month moratorium on self-storage.

In a discussion prior to the vote, one member reiterated that self-storage isn’t the right fit for the parcel. “The facility is not appropriate for a beach community and architecturally does not fit into the community as well,” said commission chair Paul Orzel.

He also expressed concern about the project’s plans to allow vehicle storage. “I also believe that with the introduction of that type of equipment that the facility could draw, I am concerned about the maintenance of equipment in that area, the possible spillage of fuels that may not be reported in a proper manner to authorities or even to the managers of the facility,” Orzel said.

The project did have several supporters, including commission member Mike Miller, who approved of its design. Even though there were concerns from community and commission members, he reminded his colleagues that the property is commercial. “The storage units would bring more revenue into our town and have no impact on our schools and no impact on police and fire. It’s a net plus in my opinion,” he said.

The attorney representing the developers said they haven’t determined whether they’ll resubmit their application.

Following the vote, the commission discussed imposing the moratorium. The options are to ban self-storage in the city entirely, develop new regulations or keep the current ones. Eric Knapp, the city’s land-use coordinator, will prepare a document for the proposed six-month suspension. The commission will vote on the measure in February, then set a public hearing for March.

1/15/24 –  Officials in Old Lyme, Connecticut, may place zoning restrictions on self-storage development along Shore Road after an application received by the town called for three, 35-foot-tall buildings near one of the town’s beach communities. During a recent zoning-commission meeting, board members also discussed the possibility of placing a six-month moratorium on future applications, according to the source.

The discussion was spurred by the proposal submitted by Kid’s Realty LLC and Pond Road LLC, who initially made this proposal in 2021 and withdrew it after more than 100 residents signed a petition in opposition. A second application was denied in May, in part because officials said there was a lack of precedent for buildings that tall in the neighborhood. The applicants are appealing that denial in court, though the latest proposal is expected to be formally reviewed on Oct. 10, the source reported.

The moratorium is one of several possibilities the town can pursue to set new self-storage building standards. Commissioners also discussed minimum distances between storage businesses, changing the bulk standards and zoning elements for commercial buildings, as well as the possibility of establishing a special Shore Road district with its own zoning regulations.

A moratorium would give officials time to put new regulations in place before the end of the delay, commission chair Paul Orzel said. The ban would apply only to new self-storage applications, not those already submitted, according to Eric Knapp, the town’s zoning-enforcement officer.

“What we have facing the road are three big buildings with security fences [and] lights. The aesthetic going down there are kind of like Stalag 13,” said commissioner Mike Miller. “What we’re trying to do is look at our zoning regs on storage units and say that if we’re going to have storage units in our town, this is how we want them built.”

Commissioners are expected to make recommendations on potential self-storage and other business-use restrictions on Shore Road next month, according to the source.

CT Examiner, Plans for Self-Storage Business in Old Lyme Spur Talk of New Commercial Zoning
CT Examiner, Old Lyme Zoning Votes Down Storage Project in Split Vote, Will Consider Moratorium
CT Examiner, Old Lyme Planning Commission Rejects Storage Unit Moratorium

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