Milford ZBA OKs personal storage facility

MILFORD – A plan for self-storage units near the Quarry Condominiums earned a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment recently despite the opposition of condo owners who say the former school bus lot at 211 Mont Vernon Road should be developed for residential use.

The plan is from Eber and Trudy Currier, who have another self-storage facility across from the quarry. Under their plan, along with self-storage units, the garage on the property would be used for auto repair and maintenance, and there would be outside storage of vehicles.

The Curriers needed a variance because the property is in the town’s Residence A district. Morgan Hollis, attorney for the Curriers, told the ZBA it had been a school bus depot for many years, approved for that use in 1984. At that time the land was in the industrial zone. Then in 1985, the zoning changed to residential and the bus lot became a lawful pre-existing nonconforming use.

Self-storage would reduce the traffic impact and hours of active operation and would be the "highest and best use" of the land, Hollis said. Chad Brenner, of Fieldstone Land Consultants, talked about the variety of uses along the corridor, including a nearby auto repair shop, making self storage consistent with the character of the area. It would be a "mixed use on a fairly busy roadway," and there would be no change visible on the outside, he said.

During the more than three-hour hearing Jan. 7, an attorney for the abutters, Daniel Muller, talked about concerns for the wetlands on the site and said the proposed use for the 15 acres would be heavier than what had been going on at the bus depot.

Acting board Chairman Kevin Johnson said there was much misinformation surrounding the case, which had been postponed several times since it first came before the board in October as new documents were offered. In response to written testimony that the board gives too many variances, Johnson explained the role of a zoning board is offering a "reasonable release valve" from zoning restrictions, and that it is the board’s job to grant variances. Board members voted unanimously in favor of a variance. The proposal still needs site plan approval from the Milford Planning Board.