Dorset planners grant controversial storage permit


Friday, March 27, 2009 

DORSET — The site plan for the construction of three 2,000 square-foot self storage buildings on the site of Brad Tyler's home and electric business in Dorset was approved by the town's planning commission on Tuesday.

The approval of the site development plan — which was contingent upon the receipt of a finalized landscaping plan from Speath Engineering and an agreement with a neighbor concerning screening of his property— paves the way for issuance of a permit.

According to zoning administrator Joseph Bamford, a permit would likely be issued within 15 days. At that time, any party opposed to the project would have 15 days to file an appeal.

Throughout Tuesday night's planning commission meeting, attended by an overflowing crowd of more than 20 people, controversy swirled over whether the project was a permitted use at that location, which is zoned as "village commercial."

The discussion on Tyler's application went on for more than two and one-half hours.

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Andy Tarantino, who is also in the self storage business, was one of the people who spoke out at the meeting, stating that he did not believe the project to be a permitted use.

"I think what's at issue here is whether it's a permitted use in this zone," Tarantino said. "Permitted uses are listed under the bylaws in the village commercial [district]. Not permitted uses are not listed because there's hundreds of not permitted uses. I've had an attorney look at the bylaw and if the administrator, the applicant, his engineer are hanging their hat on that section of the bylaw as a permitted use they are incorrect."

However, Bamford disagreed because he believed the facilities would fall under the rental portion of the sales, retail, and rental recommendation for permitted use that he made to the planning commission.

Tyler's proposed project met all of the criteria required by the planning commission's site plan review and the few concerns that they did have were addressed and answered adequately.

One of those concerns centered around hours of operation. There was some concern that people might access the storage units at odd hours, possibly creating a disturbance. To alleviate that concern, Tyler eventually stated that he would install a gate around the facility and post hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the three facilities — each of which would contain 16 larger storage units and eight smaller units, Tyler said.

The issue of traffic was also addressed by John Wright, an engineer employed by Speath Engineering, and proved to be of little concern.

"There's approximately eight trips generated for that current access and we're anticipating adding three additional trips per peak hour on the weekend. So a total of 11. We did receive a letter back from VTrans indicating ... that our access is adequate for what we're proposing and the site distance meets the state criteria," Wright said.


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