By Adam Swift
A special permit request for a five-story self-storage facility on the American Legion Highway across from the Rumney Marsh Academy will remain in the City Council’s zoning subcommittee after some councillors raised concerns about the size of the proposed building.
Representatives from Beal Associates, representing the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company looking to acquire the property from Revere’s Conte family, said the building is intended to look more like an office building than the typical storage facility.
The look of the storage facility is intended to mirror the Rumney Marsh Academy across the street on the American Legion Highway, and the developer has committed to improved landscaping and cleaning the entire property.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro said the project is in his ward, and that he was met with the proponents several times.
“I’m very appreciative with what you are going to do for the area,” said Cogliandro. “It’s going to be a beautiful building, and I love that it is going to mirror the aesthetic of the Rumney Marsh Academy. I am in full support.”
Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri asked how many storage units will be in the building.
Matthew Costa of Beal Associates said there would be about 1,000, ranging from smaller five-foot by five-foot units to larger units spaced out among the five floors of the facility.
Silvestri said he believed a 1,000-unit facility was a little large for the area.
“Think of all of the storage facilities we have in this city currently,” said Silvestri. “Not one even comes close to 1,000 storage units.”
Councillor-at-Large and zoning subcommittee chair Anthony Zambuto noted that the building was also designed more attractively than other storage facilities in the city, and that it was likely a better use than others that could be allowed by right on the property.
Costa noted that the property is zoned for industrial use, and allowed uses include automotive repair and gas stations such as those already on the property, manufacturing, and parking.
The five-story building would be about 60-feet tall, the maximum height allowed in the district, Costa said.
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti agreed with Silvestri that the project seemed too large for the property.
“When you see a building of that magnitude, it’s going to hit you,” said Visconti. “I just think that it is a very big building that is going to be very close to the street. I don’t know why there are so many units and why it has to go up that high.”
Visconti asked if the developer had considered going up only four stories with the building.
Costa said in order to get the needed return on investment, the building has to reach a certain square footage. If the developers were to lower the height, he said the project would likely need variances for rear and side setbacks in order to expand the width of the building.
Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino expressed his disappointment that when developers such as the ones for the storage facility come before the city, they often appear unwilling to negotiate.
“I too, will be a no vote on this,” said Serino.
Zambuto motioned to table the hearing on the special permit request for the self-storage facility to a future meeting.