Storage Facility Returns For MLUB Application Hearing

An applicant for a proposed storage facility on West Westfield Avenue is set to go back before the Municipal Land Use Board (MLUB) tomorrow night.

148-152 W. Westfield Ave LLC is the name of the applicant. The property is next to the car wash across the street from The Castle.

The preliminary site plan application was presented to the board by the applicant’s attorney, Stephen Hehl of the law firm Hehl & Hehl, during the August 13th MLUB meeting. The site is comprised of five lots: Block 602 – Lots 2.01, 2.02, 2.03, 4, and 5.01. An existing deed restriction that limited one of the lots (5.01) to be used only for parking for the other four lots. This needed to be removed to allow development for the property. Although the application was for five lots, only two of them – 4 and 5.01 – were to be used for the storage facility. The other three lots needed to be included to address the deed restriction since they were named in it.

Additionally, setback variances were requested. The front area requires a 20 ft. setback and the applicant was requesting 8 feet. Both side yard setbacks are 65 ft. and the application wanted 35 ft. The rear area has a 25′ setback and the applicant was asking for a 5 ft. proposed setback. Finally, a use variance was requested since storage facilities are not explicitly allowed in that zone.

The facility, called Blue Sapphire, will be a gated, five-floor, climate-controlled facility with off-street parking with 1,005 storage units ranging from 5 ft. x 5 ft. (25 sq. ft.) to 13 ft. x 30 ft. (390 sq. ft.). 240 units were proposed on the first floor and 255 units on the other three floors. The fifth story will have a clock tower that will decorate one corner of the structure. The first floor will have an office, restrooms, a lounge area, utility rooms, elevators, and the elevator room. There will be fourteen (14) parking spots.

The facility will have hours from 9 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The office will be closed on Sundays. Access to storage units will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The facility will have 24-hour camera surveillance inside and outside and motion lighting.

During the August meeting, the applicant stated that they would demolish the existing house lot 4 and use the parking lot (5.01) for the facility. Documents were provided at the meeting and to the board that night. MLUB Chairman Loren Harms stated he was disappointed that documents were provided the night of the application because it did not provide the board with the opportunity to review them beforehand.

After testimony was provided by the applicant’s architect, civil engineer, traffic engineer, and professional planner, the board offered recommendations which included increasing the setbacks from the street and neighboring properties.

The second and final application is scheduled to be heard tomorrow night at the 7 p.m. MLUB meeting in borough hall located at 110 East Westfield Avenue.