Self-Storage Denied Near Houses

This narrow strip of land was the proposed location for a self-storage facility. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – A plan to build a self-storage facility between two rows of houses at 345 Drum Point Road was rejected by the Township Board of Adjustment on June 21, which was the third hearing for the application put forth by Del Corp Holdings LLC. The previous hearings took place in February and April of this year.

  The developer applied to build nine, one-story self-storage buildings, a business office, a second building and leave an existing one-story residential structure in place, resulting in a total of 12 buildings on the 2.310-acre site, located between Huppert and Leswing Drive.

  Local well-known architectural firm Barlo & Governale Associates designed the plan, which included 175 storage units of varying sizes.

  Over two dozen residents from the area attended the hearing, and about a dozen of them spoke out against the proposed development, said Zoning Officer Christopher Romano.

  “Bureau of Fire Safety Chief Kevin Batzel had some concerns in a letter he submitted, and the residents mirrored that,” Romano said.

The land where the self-storage facility was proposed is beyond these houses. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  He was referring to fire safety concerns Batzel had “regarding the limited access, width and location of the buildings such that if someone stops in front of one building on either side of the road access, other vehicles will not be able to facilitate the property.”

  The area is over 860 feet long, and if someone obstructs or is on opposite sides of the building between buildings 1 and 2, no one could access the rest of the structures, Batzel wrote. Also, the turning radius is very tight, he added. 

  Some of the other concerns of the residents who spoke during public comment was the narrowness of the lot, that the proposed storage buildings did not fit in with the dwellings, and that the proposal was not a suitable use for the site, Romano said.

  Some expressed concern about the 18-foot height of the buildings, which the applicant agreed to lower to 14 feet, the zoning officer said.

  “People didn’t like the look of it, they felt that it didn’t fit the lot due to the close proximity to residences,” he said.

  John Jackson, the attorney representing the developer, said that a number of variances were needed for the project, including a Use Variance – which would need a super majority of votes from Board members – due to the self-storage facility not a permitted use within the existing Village Zone.

  A variance is when a developer wants to build something that doesn’t conform to the rules set forth by the town. The Village Zone, established by ordinance in 2018, protects the township from high-density residential development while providing a means to improve businesses. Only Drum Point Road, Mantoloking Road and Herbertsville Road are currently in the Village Zone.

The proposed buildings would have looked like this. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  Other variances needed include some for setbacks and waivers for buffers and parking spaces.

  One positive aspect of the application is the storage facility is the quietest use for the parcel, which residents understood but wasn’t enough of a reason to sway them or Board members, Romano said.

  Five of seven Board members voted in favor of a motion to deny the application, so the application failed.

The proposed self-storage facility was planned for a narrow strip of land in the middle of the map. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  The day after the Board of Adjustment meeting, attorney Jackson said it was too early to make a comment on how his client would be going forward.

  “We thought it was a good plan,” Jackson said. “We’re assessing all our options at this time.”