The Andover Planning Board continued a hearing on a special permit for a 77,400-square-foot self-storage facility on River Road at its meeting Tuesday.
3P Properties LLC, which is based in Whitinsville, MA, wants to build the three-story, self-storage building at 43 River Road on a two-acre site. 3P Properties owns Koopman Lumber, which has a store at 43 River Road. The site is near Greater Lawrence Technical School and the Homewood Suites hotel, and access to the facility would be from Riverside Drive.
Architectural plans have not been completed, but Dirk Koopman of Koopman Lumber said there would 350 to 400 units ranging in size from 5′ by 5′ to 10′ by 30′.
Andy Pojasek, of Dana F. Perkins Inc., the project’s developer, said the facility would be open roughly from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be no dumpsters for tenant use on the site. “The applicants have built several of these throughout Massachusetts, and as soon as you put a dumpster in, stuff ends up in the dumpster instead of the storage unit, even if it’s gated in,” he said.
The self-storage industry has boomed in recent years and is projected to grow 5.45 percent annually between 2021 and 2026, when it is expected to be a $64.71 billion business. Industry officials now estimate a need of 10 to 13 square feet of self-storage space per capita, up from six feet in 2020. Koopman said while some “markets are over-saturated, this one isn’t.”
The hearing will resume at the planning board meeting scheduled for Sept. 13. Pojasek said he expects the project’s peer review to be completed by then.
Planning Board Vice Chair Rocky Leavitt asked the developer to consider increasing the number of trees in the buffer along the edge of the property from the current site plan, which had one tree every 70 feet. Leavitt also raised concerns of the plan’s parking, which only has four to five sites. Koopman said the 30-foot buffer around the building allows for plenty of parking.
“The reality of what we have here…is one spot for the person working there….and there’s rarely more than two customers there at a time. People using the facility are either going to pull up to their unit or one of the doors,” Koopman said. “People are going to do whatever they can to make their move as easy as possible.”