WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board on Tuesday evening started looking at whether and how it can allow storage facilites to operate in town.
"Right now, the use is not listed in the use table in our zoning bylaws," Chairman Chris Winters said. "You can't put it anywhere. Some people have been asking ... so we should accommodate them."
His colleagues agreed that it would be convenient for residents if such a business was available in town.
"They're a great service," Pat Dunlavey said. "Having used one recently, it's a pain to have to drive 10 to 15 miles to get there."
That said, the planners expressed a strong desire that such units are not located just anywhere in town.
"Where my daughter lives in Brooklyn, there are several big, mega-storage facilities that really put a damper on community development," Ann McCallum said. "They're dead on the street."
McCallum suggested that that kind of development would be ill-advised along the Route 2 corridor in the town's planned business district.
On the other hand, the panel agreed that storage facilities would be appropriate in the town's limited industrial district, which includes the area on North Hoosac Road around RK Miles and Connor Brothers Moving and the Steinerfilm complex on Simonds Road.
"Warehouses are permitted [in light industrial]," Dunlavey said during a meeting telecast on the town's community access television station, WilliNet. "So essentially this seems to me like kind of a warehouse use. It's just more granular or smaller."
The potential storage facility would be limited by the existing rules governing building heights in the district, currently 2-1/2 stories with the potential to increase to 45 feet by special permit, Town Planner Andrew Groff told the board.
The planners discussed what sort of specific rules the town might want to establish for facilities, including whether the property could be locked up after hours or if that would present a problem to Williamstown's first responders.
Groff agreed to take the idea to the police and fire departments before the board's next meeting so it could have some feedback before moving forward with the plan.
"I'm nervous about making a decision in a vacuum ... and walking into town meeting and having someone say, 'Have you realized what a bad idea this is?' " Dunlavey said.