Smithfield Self Storage allowed to expand

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Smithfield’s Planning Commission, on Jan. 11, voted to approve Smithfield Self Storage’s expansion plans.

The 23,000-square-foot, climate-controlled self-storage facility opened in 2020 after securing a waiver in 2017 to permit a floor area ratio greater than allowed under the town’s zoning ordinance. Its manager, Trey Gwaltney, has since requested — and now received — another waiver that will allow him to more than double the three-story building’s square footage.

Floor area ratio, or FAR, measures the square footage of a proposed building to the square footage of the parcel on which it is located. A FAR of 0.1 would mean a single-story building that covers the entire parcel, or a four-story building that covers only a quarter of the available land.

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The 1.47-acre parcel on which the addition would be located was permitted a FAR of up to 0.5 under the town’s ordinance, which would allow a maximum floor area of 32,110 square feet.

In December, Gwaltney had proposed building a 39,150-square-foot, three-story addition, which would result in a FAR of 1.03. The Planning Commission tabled Gwaltney’s request until January after some of the commissioners expressed reservations about the size of the proposed facility.

The vote to approve Gwaltney’s revised January proposal was unanimous, with members Michael Torrey and Raynard Gibbs absent — even though the revisions now call for an even bigger addition, measuring 46,200 square feet and increasing the FAR to 1.13.

To make room for the enlarged addition, Gwaltney is proposing to remove five rows of existing, non-climate-controlled storage units — up from the four rows he’d proposed in December.

As the request is for a Planning Commission waiver, the commissioners have the final say on the matter, as opposed to their typical role of making a recommendation to Smithfield’s Town Council.

The matter is expected to return to the Planning Commission when Gwaltney presents his landscaping plan.