The first of two self-storage facilities was rejected in Hampden


HAMPDEN – After months of argument and documentation, the self-storage facility proposed at 2 Somers Rd. Failed to pass the Hampden Planning Board.

After a four-and-a-half-hour meeting in which the board defined the potential conditions under which the company could operate, the final vote was three for and two against. A special permit must receive four of the five votes to be adopted.


“I think we’ve done the city justice by doing a really thorough job,” Planning Council chairman John Matthews said of the process that took months. For his part, Matthews said he voted in favor of the special permit because he believed the petitioner, lawyer Daniel Garvey, “met the requirements of the settlement.” He acknowledged that not everyone would agree with him and said that regardless of whether the special permit is approved or denied, the case will likely be appealed to a land court. “It’s not a fun position to be on the planning board, especially with this,” Matthews said having to make contentious decisions.

Heather Beattie, one of two planning board members not to vote for the project, told Reminder Publishing: “After careful consideration of the language used in the regulations, as well as all of the information presented, I have determined that this storage unit proposal – regardless of well-meaning conditions to be placed on the special permit – was not appropriate for the chosen location in the town of Hampden.


Many of the nearly 20 conditions council has developed will likely be used as a model for the alternative self-storage facility proposed at 16 Somers Rd.

Among the more detailed conditions debated by the board was the one that would regulate the storage of hazardous chemicals. While the claimant, lawyer Daniel Garvey, previously said the storage unit rental agreement would prohibit the storage of hazardous materials at the site, he also said he could not guarantee full compliance.

In addition to requiring that a stormwater pollution prevention plan be submitted and approved by the building department, the board of directors debated the advisability of banning the storage of all hazardous materials on the building. site.

Planning Council member Jason Barroso, who has professional experience in the remediation of hazardous materials, suggested including a condition prohibiting hazardous materials in excess of amounts listed in state environmental regulations. He explained that state 310 CMR 40 rules determined what are considered “significant” quantities of hazardous material, depending on the substance. Spills in excess of specified amounts must be reported to the State.

Barroso said a 40 gallon oil spill he was working on only penetrated 18 inches. “That’s why I had issues for a lot of this, because it doesn’t go that deep,” he said.

Beattie asked how deep the hazardous material could penetrate if it was not discovered or reported and, therefore, not corrected. Barroso said he could not speak of a hypothetical situation, but that “soil dilution” meant that spills less than amounts the state deemed “significant” would likely not pose a threat to groundwater .

When discussing the user contract, it was noted that a bottle of nail polish remover in a moving box would violate a comprehensive hazardous materials ban. Wording was proposed for the contract that specified the prohibition of quantities beyond “domestic use”. Beattie and Brodeur asked how this term is defined.

The board discussed how to make sure the company enforces the hazardous materials ban.

“If his business is in danger, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be pretty diligent,” Barroso commented.

Beattie wanted to ask the company to randomly check each unit at least once a year, but Matthews suggested that be allowed in the user agreement, but not mandatory.

The council discussed the inclusion of any hazardous material found in an annual report to the city. Christina Brodeur, a member of the Planning Council, asked why Garvey would “shoot himself in the foot” and report the hazardous materials found there if he was penalized for it. Barroso suggested that if there was no spill and Garvey dealt with the problem himself, it would not be considered a violation of the special permit.

Although no response was given, it was also recognized that there was no better terminology.

Pollution insurance

Garvey had said earlier that he had a million dollar environmental liability insurance policy. As a point of reference, Barroso said two fuel oil companies he requested had purchased insurance in the amount of $ 2 million per event with a maximum of $ 5 million. “Is it the same risk as filling oil tanks,” Barroso asked his colleagues. He called it low risk, but Beattie argued it had a high impact.

Barroso estimated that insurance of $ 1 million per event and up to $ 3 million was sufficient for the risk and impact on the self-storage business. He noted that a steel mill refurbishment 15 years ago cost only $ 3 million.

It was agreed that the company should carry ongoing event-based insurance, which Beattie explained covers spills based on the year they occurred, not the year they were discovered. . That way, if the spill went unnoticed, the insurance company would be forced to cover it years later. It was also decided that an annual insurance certificate would be required, with conditions reviewed every five years to ensure coverage remains adequate.


Council also took the time to consider whether the special permit should be related to the applicant or to the property. Matthews had offered to attach the special permit to Garvey, and if he were to sell the facility in the future, the next owner would need his own special permit. City bylaws, however, specify that special permits apply to “successor” businesses.

Barroso stressed that the conditions are what the board believes need to be in place to run the business, and therefore, they should apply to anyone who runs the business. Leading his point of view, Barroso asked: “If [Garvey] got the approval and sold it tomorrow, will you care? ”

It was decided that the special permit should remain tied to the property as is the norm.

Other conditions

The council discussed other conditions, such as limiting hours of operation to avoid noise nuisance, requiring the 8-foot solid vinyl fence to be a dark gray-green color to blend in with the back. -plan and that the sign does not exceed 24 square feet.
Garvey did not respond to a request for comment at press time. He has 30 days from the date of the decision to appeal.

Editor’s Note: Planning Council is voting on the special permit for a self-storage facility project at 16 Somers Rd. Occurred on December 8, after press time. Follow the story at


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