Deny Special Permit for Self Storage Facility at 255-257 Newtonville Avenue, Newton MA
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We the undersigned homeowners and residents of Newton and the Newtonville Avenue area oppose the issuance of a special permit allowing construction of a self-storage facility proposed for 255 - 257 Newtonville Avenue
A self-storage facility is proposed for the corner of Newtonville Avenue and Lewis Terrace in Newton, MA – directly across from the Cabot Park dog park. The Newtonville Avenue / Cabot Park & School Area is a residential neighborhood filled with multi-family dwellings, single family houses, a senior housing complex, an elementary school, a busy park and playground complex that houses a nursery school, after-school programs, summer camps, sports and recreation facilities, and a dog-park.
This facility as proposed requires several exceptions, that is special permit provisions, to the City’s Zoning Ordinances. The special permit provisions are required because: The facility would be 33% bigger than is allowed (allowable square footage is 74,580 sq. ft, the proposed facility is over 113,000 sq. ft.); the facility proposes to be over the allowed 2 stories/24- feet, and desires 3 stories and a height of 36 feet; it proposes a floor area ratio (FAR) of 1.5% instead of 1%, and wants to reduce the required number of parking spaces from 47 to 11. Over 100 trees will be cut down to build this facility. It will be uncharacteristic of this neighborhood, with metal siding, and will be open from 6 AM to 10 PM.
This facility does not meet the criteria required for the Board of Alderman to grant a Special Permit, specifically:
This site is not an appropriate location for this use as a storage facility: this is a residential neighborhood, not appropriate for a large facility with operating hours that do not fit a residential neighborhood. At 36-feet high and over 113,000 square feet, this facility would dwarf the surrounding houses and substantially change the aesthetics of the area.
The use as proposed to be developed and operated will adversely affect this neighborhood: Increased traffic of individuals with no vested interest in this area will access facility early in the morning and late at night. This creates potential safety hazards, particularly as this facility will be unmonitored for almost half of its operational hours.
There will be serious hazard to vehicles and pedestrians: This facility will bring increased traffic and significant on-street parking by trucks in an area and intersection which already has significant safety concerns. The access routes to this facility are frequented by significant pedestrian traffic including students walking to and from Cabot and Underwood Elementary Schools, Bigelow Middle School, and Newton North High Schools, a busy park and dog park area. Increased vehicle traffic, including truck traffic and truck on street parking in this area will be a serious hazard to other vehicles and pedestrians.
Access to the proposed facility is not appropriate for the types and numbers of vehicles involved: Access routes to this Self-Storage facility will affect a large area of neighbors throughout Newtonville and Newton Corner, as many truck-drivers will use access roads from the Massachusetts Turnpike onto Center Street and Washington, and then use Newtonville Avenue, Lewis Terrace, Washington Street, Walnut Street and/or Cabot Street, and other side streets to access the facility.
Many of these streets do not have the capacity for wide moving trucks and more cars. Newtonville Avenue is a winding road in several locations, and is narrow. Increased traffic and truck traffic in particular will result in hazardous traffic conditions that are unreasonable for this neighborhood.
The site planning, building design, construction, maintenance/long term operation of the premises will not contribute significantly to the efficient use and conservation of natural resources and energy. There is no plan for a long term operation of this plan and the landscaping plan is only proposed to be maintained for 5 years. This proposal also calls for removal of approximately 100 trees in this area.
The proposed self-storage facility is not an essential service and does not merit special considerations. This proposed facility will not be a “good neighbor” as it raises significant traffic safety concerns which have not been adequately studied, is excessively large, is inconsistent with and does not fit in with this residential neighborhood consisting mainly of small homes. This proposal will not enhance the quality of life of this neighborhood.
We therefore oppose the granting of a special permit to:
- exceed the 1.0. Floor area ratio (FAR)
- exceed 2 floors
- grant a waiver from the parking requirements and decrease the required parking spaces for this facility to 11 spaces.
Although this area is zoned manufacturing, I encourage the City Council to consider a use for this area and zoning which would revitalize this community and a use that is consistent with this residential neighborhood. We also encourage and Use Committee and the City Council to recommend rezoning of this area to residential use.
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