Officials in Worcester, Mass., are considering a zoning amendment that would require developers to seek a special permit before building self-storage in most business and industrial zones. Currently, self-storage is classified as a general use, which makes approval easier, according to Peter Dunn, the city's chief development officer and the person proposing the change.
City officials called the benefits of self-storage “limited” because facilities create few jobs, often replace historic buildings, have large footprints and don’t “contribute to the vitality of a neighborhood,” Dunn said.
Under the proposal, the zoning board of appeals would consider several factors to determine whether to grant a special permit for self-storage development. These would include accessibility, market demand, site conditions, and historic or architectural significance of the building.
Storage projects in commercial districts would need to adhere to additional provisions. The amendment calls for limits on facility size and restrictions on ground-floor uses. In addition, developers would need to incorporate active uses into the plan, according to the source.
Six self-storage developments have been approved in Worcester since 2016, including a 71,000-square-foot building at 29-49 James St. The mixed-use project will also contain retail or office space totaling 6,000 square feet in an adjacent building.
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