DERRY — Plans to expand a self-storage facility on Windham Road got conditional approval from the Planning Board, but neighbors still worry about potential impact to their property.
The project, Granite Clover Self-Storage, will expand an existing building and will also build a new 44,000-square-foot building on combined properties at 125, 119, and 117 Windham Road.
The Planning Board gave the plan its conditional approval at a meeting Nov. 5 by a vote of 6-2.
The original self-storage facility has been located there since 1983. The expansion and new building will create more one-level storage space for customers, according to engineer Eric Mitchell, representing the developers and owners.
For neighbor Maureen Rose, having the plan approved is still a cause for concern. She lives at 115 Windham Road and is the most directly affected abutter.
She has been a regular face at meetings when the storage unit plan is on the agenda and has maintained all along that the plan would impact her property.
Rose said she has already planted trees to create her own landscaping buffer to keep her property set apart from the storage units.
Earlier this year, she told officials she could see the existing self-storage building from her backyard. In the past, she said, there have also been issues in her neighborhood with drainage and water as the property was developed.
During the public hearing Nov. 5, Rose read a statement prepared by an attorney that spelled out certain conditions she hoped to see before the plan would be approved.
Those items included wanting information on a potential traffic study, and having assurances that proper buffers and landscaping would be put in place to shield her property as much as possible from the self-storage activities.
"The buffer is the most important issue," Rose read from the letter.
Rose requested in her letter that she be able to review landscaping plans prior to the conditional approval.
Mitchell said revisions were made to help accommodate neighbors including trees and other plantings. Fencing will also be included to help set the property apart from the residential areas nearby.
"We're willing to beef up the buffers," he said. "We're willing to come that far."
Town Drive resident Don Thompson said he already hears noise coming from the existing self-storage unit and hoped a larger, new building would not cause additional stress to the area.
"It's already busy with traffic," he said. "This is a small industrial area in the middle of a residential area. How are we going to be protected as landowners?"
Mitchell said this type of business is not constantly bombarded with traffic going in and out of the site. Research shows only about two trips in and out of the facility per hour, he said.
Customers would pull up to their units, unload or pick up items, then leave, he said.
“There will not be many people inside the facility at any one time,” Mitchell said. “They could maybe be there only five or 10 minutes.”
The property is zoned industrial, Mitchell noted, and is the final industrial zoned parcel in that area of town.
“It is, in essence, the final buildout of industrial land down there,” he said. “And it’s less imposing than other types of buildings that could go there.”
After the vote, Rose voiced concern that she still may not be protected from her industrial neighbor.
Planning Board Chairman David Granese said all uses are spelled out in the plan. The conditional approval will also warrant having the project return before the town with updated landscaping plans, permits, and the business will be asked to use a more environmentally safe snow removal plan.