Stewarts and storage projects moving before the planning board

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 7/28/21

Recent actions taken by the Lloyd Planning and Zoning Boards shows just how projects move forward in the pipeline.

The Stewart’s Shops has proposed a new 3,850 sq/ft store on the corner of …

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Stewarts and storage projects moving before the planning board

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Recent actions taken by the Lloyd Planning and Zoning Boards shows just how projects move forward in the pipeline.

The Stewart’s Shops has proposed a new 3,850 sq/ft store on the corner of Route 9W and Chapel Hill Road in Highland. The company is also simultaneously seeking two variances from the Zoning Board of Appeals because their engineered plans do not meet the town code; one variance is for an additional 10 inches in the height of their sign and a second for lot coverage of 59% when the code permits a maximum of 40% coverage.

The Planning Board’s land use attorney Paul Van Cott said after the ZBA held a straw poll on this project, “and walked through the various criteria,” Van Cott was directed to prepare a resolution for approval of the project that they will take up at their August meeting. Van Cott noted that lot coverage has been a key issue surrounding this project, however, Stewart’s reduction from 62% to 59% is still far above the code’s requirement of 40%. The Planning Board did not object to the higher lot coverage the company is seeking.

Building Department Director Dave Barton said Stewart’s representative, Tyler Fronte, provided additional information on the site’s soils, noting that pervious surfaces of a project are not included in calculating lot coverage. He said town engineer Andrew Learn will review this issue when the project comes back before the Planning Board.

Barton said some Planning Board members are also concerned about how traffic will flow on and off the site, which he said should be fully addressed the next time they appear before the board.

All Space Storage
Earlier this year project representative Kelly Libolt appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals seeking to add 5 more storage buildings to the 13 already existing at 480 Rte. 9W in Highland. These additional five would bring the total lot coverage to 48.4% when 40% is the maximum allowed by the town code.

Chairman John Litts said the ZBA is supposed to grant the minimum necessary to grant relief to an applicant. He said removing 2 of the 5 requested buildings would bring the applicant into compliance with the code and no need for a variance from the 40% stipulation. The board conducted the required balancing test, using Libolt’s answers, concluding that the five additional storage buildings would have no significant impact upon the community, traffic or the environment. Board member, Alan Hartman, thought granting the additional 8.4%, which translates to 54,000 sq/ft, is significant. Rather than adhere to granting the minimum that Chairman Litts said is the charge of the ZBA, the board voted unanimously to grant All Space Storage the full 5 buildings, instead of a lesser number. The ZBA concluded that, “the detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the neighborhood or community arising from granting the requested variance is outweighed by the benefits to the applicant of such grant.”

Barton said the applicant will add additional landscape plantings as well as downward directional lighting as a way to shield the storage facility from its neighbors.

Planning Board Chairman Scott McCarthy pointed out that it was the ZBA that granted the area variance and not the Planning Board. He said a public hearing on this project is scheduled for August.

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