Seven items you DO NOT want to forget to bring to your Wetlands Commission meetings for a faster approval.

1. A colored rendering is a Must. While many items like the building design or looks are not supposed to be a part of the wetlands commission purview, but a pretty picture goes a long way.

2. Pictorial information about your facility. Pictures of cameras, TV monitors, fencing, access gate, lighting, signage, office, mounted on a single board tells a great story about your security.

3. Know your facilities policy on prohibition of storage of hazardous materials. Provide a copy of your lease provision prohibiting hazardous materials. Provide a copy of the sign to be posted in your office prohibiting hazardous materials. Give an explanation that includes how you know your customers, i.e. a copy of every renter’s driver license, home & work phone numbers, email address, a second contact person etc. An explanation in detail how the staff is required to walk and inspect the site several times a day can help give the commission confidence there will not be a problem at the facility.

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4. If you are going to rent units for car storage (which is worth fighting for!) be prepared to explain the steps you will take to insure gasoline will not leak and cause a problem. If you can’t figure this one out email me and I will point you in the right direction. (Hint: look up the requirements for cars in public buildings like a car show in your civic center and include the 2 or 3 safety items in your lease.) Also, you should only rent for cars that are registered and insured, i.e. no problem cars.

5. While you (and your engineer) always had to be prepared to explain the storm drainage design and storm drainage detention design, now it is common to provide detailed (and expensive) storm water quality best management practices. Make sure you personally understand these site features and the required maintenance, so the commission has confidence that they not only will be built but you, as the owner, personally understand the importance of maintaining them.

6. Make sure that you and your engineer have walked the wetlands, even though your soil scientist is coming to the meeting. Your knowledge of the property could help turn the deciding vote your way.

7. Early on in the design process you should have confirmed there are no endangered species on the site. Often the Department of Environmental Protection can provide areas of know or reported endangered species. Be prepared to confirm there are no endangered or threatened species or be prepared to discuss the impact to endangered or threatened species if they exist.

Ten items you don’t want to forget to bring to your Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, which can make a difference.

1. All the items you brought to the wetlands meeting.

2. Bring all the professionals (you can afford), design engineer, landscape designer, traffic engineer, architect and attorney if customary in your town. But a single presenter can do the majority, if not the entire presentation.

3. Office hours and gate hours.

4. Samples of the building materials, including colors.

5. Light photo metrics to show the light does not impact neighbors. A manufacturer’s detail sheet for full cutoff lights is helpful. LED lights cost more to install but will pay for themselves in a short time and save you money for many years. Let them know you are a green builder and will be using energy efficient LED lighting.

6. A copy of a standard lease. You can get one from your state’s self-storage association.

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7. Knowledge of your marketing study to confirm the need for self-storage in the area. Again, this should not be part of the commission decision process, but I have had the questioned asked several times. Let them know it’s a benefit to the area as most of your customers will be the people located within 5 miles or less from your property.

8. The owner should attend all meetings and be prepared to let the commission know they are an expert on self-storage and are excited about being a part of the community. Be prepared to make concessions the night of the meeting if necessary to get an approval.

9. Be prepared to rebuff the many myths about self-storage such as; noise; drugs; low value; no taxes; people living in units; used mostly by people from out of town; ugly; self-storage does not mix with residential uses; high traffic, etc.

10. Be prepared to present a traffic study. Traffic is often a concern if there is any opposition. If the Town did not require one as part of your application, I would at least have a simple on page summary for the estimated daily and peak hour traffic generation. This can be very beneficial to show that self-storage is one of the lowest traffic generators and has less traffic than typical retail, office, businesses and even a residential subdivision.

Self-storage is a local business. The majority of your renters will be people from town. Early in the design phase you will have to determine the percentage of climate control units for your site. Often the outside of the Climate Control building will have non-climate control units with doors directly to the driveway.