Proposed Self-Storage Facility Next to City Green Already Causing a Stir


At last night’s Board of Adjustment meeting, which handles requests for variances pertaining to Clifton’s zoning ordinances, several commissioners were absent from the dais. Because five affirmative votes are required to approve certain applications, several applicants requested to have their hearings carried to a future date when the full Board would be present. The application for the Clifton Avenue Dunkin’, which has been pursuing permission to create a drive-through at the existing store, was moved to the November 1st meeting. Main Foot and Ankle LLC, Hasan Ferdous, and Lourdes Nunez were all carried to the next meeting on October 18th.

Geeland LLC’s application, at 811-813 Route 46, was carried to the December 6th meeting and was an issue of great interest to several residents who had come out to object, not realizing that the application would not be heard at this meeting. This applicant seeks to raze the existing Aerodyne building, next to the Colfax Avenue ramp from Route 46, and to construct in its place a four-story self-storage facility. The applicant will require many variances pertaining to site use, building height, number of parking and loading spaces, and more.

Objections to this proposal included concern about the large number of mature trees that would be removed if this application were approved. The trees, they said, provide visual and noise coverage from Route 46 and are home to many different species. The property abuts City Green’s farmland and additional concerns focused on the climate changes the farm could suffer if those trees came down. Flooding was another point of contention, as the tree roots and existing soil are important for taking in rainwater and preventing flooding. The planning review, submitted by the applicant’s architect, indicates that “dense plantings” of both evergreen and shade trees shall be planted along the entire length of the property adjoining the farm.

The submitted checklist for this site indicates a waiver request for an environmental impact study, which the BOA may require. 

There was a long list of new applications from residents seeking either to make changes to their properties or to secure a variance for work already in progress or fully completed. Often, homeowners do not realize that variances are required in order to make certain alterations and then they run into problems with the city when the work is completed but found not to be in compliance with local zoning ordinances. These ordinances serve many functions, including protecting neighbors from unwanted side effects of a neighboring project.

One such application came from resident Sohel Kahn, who had already started work on a small 9X10 foot storage shed. Because there’s a pool in the yard, the options for placement were limited and the shed is closer to the property line than what is allowed. Vice-Chairman Gerard Scorziello motioned to approve the application after hearing from the applicant but received no second. Concerned about setting a bad precedent for other residents by permitting a shed to be placed so close to the property line, the Board ultimately denied the application.

Other applicants had greater luck with the BOA, easily gaining approval for projects that included an existing pergola that needs to be moved a couple of feet from the property line, a proposed deck that would cover slightly more of the backyard than is permitted, and an addition on a single-family home that would convert it to a two-family home. This applicant testified that the addition would provide housing for elderly family members. The BOA expressed some concern with parking allocation, as the neighborhood is already congested. The applicant will have sufficient parking on his property, so as not to further burden the neighborhood’s street parking spaces.

You can view the agenda HERE.

The next meeting of the (Zoning) Board of Adjustment is on Wednesday, October 18th at 7 pm at City Hall.

The hearing for the Geeland LLC proposal on Route 46 is scheduled for December 6th.

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