standing Charlestown Town Hall

CHARLESTOWN — A public information meeting on a proposed self-storage facility was continued Wednesday after a late-arriving memo informed the Planning Commission that the parcel on Route 1 proposed for development lies entirely within the Groundwater Protection District. As such, it would be subject to additional regulations.

The memo, dated Jan. 22, was from Town Planner Jane Weidman, who said the information was discovered during a zoning review. Groundwater protection districts have been designated by the town for the protection and maintenance of the municipal drinking water supply. 

Bonnita Van Slyke, Town Council liaison to the Planning Commission, said that somehow the existence of the groundwater designation had not been noticed until now. “It’s an overlay district,” she said. “It’s really hard to know and it was missed, I am assuming, by the staff. I don’t know.”

Storage Place LLC wants to build a 28,000-square-foot self-storage facility consisting of five buildings on property owned by Charlestown Willows Inc. on the Ninigret side of the highway. At a pre-application meeting last summer, the developer described plans to elevate the 2.7-acre parcel, which is located in a flood zone. Structural fill would be trucked to the site to raise the height of the property by 1 foot at the road and by 6 feet at the rear of the lot, where it slopes down toward the water.

In her memo, Weidman cited several additional standards that the developer would have to meet. Those include the prohibition of floor drains; a detailed environmental impact statement; proof that contaminants from the facility will not enter the groundwater; and protection of a minimum of 20 percent of the parcel as open space.

The change in zoning designation would require major revisions to the original site plan. 

“Twenty percent of it has to be left undisturbed and if they’re bringing in all that fill, that’s disturbing stuff,” Van Slyke said. 

The meeting has been rescheduled for Feb. 27.

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