NASHUA — Despite concerns from neighbors, city planners last week approved the construction of a five-story self storage facility off Amherst Street.
The building will be constructed on a 3-acre parcel located at 4 Blackstone Drive — just one of the developments expected at the site.
“Overall, we feel this is a good use for the property,” said Chris Rice of TF Moran.
A use variance for this same project was rejected one year ago by the Nashua City Planning Board, but a new ordinance was recently passed in the city that now permits self storage facilities in the general business zone, with a conditional-use permit.
On Thursday, the board granted that conditional-use permit, as well as approval of the site plan for the project.
“Right now this is an existing parking lot,” said Rice.
The five-story, climate controlled self storage facility will be about 24,000 square feet and include two loading zones and a turnaround area for vehicles.
The complex will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and will have 25 designated parking spaces.
The storage facility will not create significant traffic, and will be fairly quiet compared to other potential businesses that are permitted on the property, according to Rice.
“I think this facility really does need a fence,” said Edward Weber, planning board member.
Without a fence or a locked gate, Weber said, it could become a magnet for unwanted activity on the parcel. There is currently a vacant auto dealership building on the southern part of the site.
“It is anticipated that will be developed at a later date,” said Rice, adding there are plans for the state to widen a portion of Route 101A in the vicinity of the property.
About 30 feet of land on the parcel is being reserved for eminent domain related to the widening of the roadway.
City planners previously approved a variance to allow the construction of a gas station and convenience store on the southern portion of the parcel. A separate site plan for that project is expected to be submitted in a few months.
Neighbors who live at a nearby apartment complex voiced concerns about the large self storage facility.
“The nature of that area will change if a building like this goes up on that corner. Nashua can make a better choice than this,” said Tyra Allgrove of 7 Blackstone Drive.
Another resident at the apartment building, Eugene Thomas, said there are many veterans who ride their wheelchairs on Blackstone Drive.
“The presence of additional traffic, particularly trucks, could be hazardous,” Thomas said.