Testimony on Ordinance Allowing Self-Storage in Assembly Square

(Submitted to Planning Board and Land Use Committee 11/4/10)

November 4, 2010

To: Somerville Planning Board
Board of Aldermen Land Use Committee

From: David Dahlbacka
<address and phone omitted>

Re: ASMD Self-Storage Ordinance

Here are some remarks on the self-storage ordinance:

  1. To the introductory section on the first page, just before "Now Therefore, be it adopted", add something like the following:

    "Whereas, car, bicycle, and pedestrian access to the Assembly Square Orange Line T-Stop is necessary for its success;"

  2. Add the following findings to the "Required findings" on page 2:

    "f. The development of the lot will facilitate access to the Assembly Square Orange Line T-Stop."

    "g. The development of the lot will not inhibit high-value development in adjacent areas."

  3. Add the following to the Development Standards:

    "f. The total storage and warehouse uses in the Assembly Square PUD shall not exceed 'X' square feet."

    [The cap ('X') should be the minimum required by law to avoid spot zoning. Suggest getting an opinion from the City Solicitor.]

    "g. Windows shall be placed in a manner consistent with the floors behind them and at a height reasonable for reuse."

  4. Question to be answered: Do the hyphens in the District column next to self-storage facility < 5000 s.f. and 5000 to 9999 s.f. mean as-of-right?

    [Note: answered in meeting. The hyphens mean "not allowed."]

  5. Section on removal requirement for Denial Letters in the ASMD.

    Suggest reinstating this, unless there is some technical reason to remove it.

    [This doesn't look relevant to the self-storage issue. Also, it looks like a bad idea, unless there is some other mechanism for getting a development into the Special Permit process. Suggest getting an opinion from the City Solicitor.]

    [Note: Answered in meeting. Apparently this is the only remaining circumstance in which a denial letter is required for entry into the Special Permit process.]