Storage in strong demand in Wilmington
WILMINGTON — On one weekday alone, a local storage business owner referred three people to different sites.
It's safe to say, he's outgrown his space.
"I've been filled since I opened," said Joe Montano, owner of Green Mountain Self Storage. "It's a great business and it's something you can do where you don't have to be here every day. It's not a climate-control indoor-storage business, where you need to have someone on-site all the time, which makes it a little bit easier to run."
Montano has a waiting list for new storage units he has proposed for 3 acres on Haystack Road near his current operations on Route 9. He said there's approximately 700 feet between the two parcels.
The property on Haystack Road is being leased to Montano now but he plans to close on the purchase in August. The idea is to expand his offerings by 70 units in three buildings within a footprint of 7,875 square feet. The new units will take up roughly the same amount space as the existing site. The goal is to open by next summer.
Some of the new units will end up being the largest ones Montano has available. And the selection will be more varied than the existing facility, he said. The smallest units will be 5 by 10 feet and the largest will be 10 by 25 feet.
Zoning Administrator Craig Ohlson is seeing a demand for these types of facilities. Part of it has to do with the nature of the area, he said.
The local ski resorts, Mount Snow and Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain, bring visitors and second homeowners that need the extra space. But Montano said he serves a lot of local people, too, since opening in January 2014.
"There's no majority," he said. "I have commercial businesses that rent space and just people that live in apartments locally that don't have space and second homeowners. It's kind of evenly split up."
The Development Review Board has approved of building the new units. But Ohlson said an Act 250 permit, which is administered by the state, is still needed due to the size of the property.
"(Montano) plans on doing the dirt work this fall," Ohlson said. "Just the grading and cutting of the trees at some point."
Montano hopes to start getting state approval in place before the end of the summer. He said it took about five or six months to obtain the Act 250 permit for the existing facility.
A similar project will come before the board on Aug. 15. The applicant is looking to construct a second mini-storage facility at 67 North Main St. Since it's in the village district, special permission is required.
"They have to get a waiver," said Ohlson. "They want to build a new building in the back, which at this time of year you really can't see. They have some outside storage right now but you can't see it because of the foliage up above. It's roughly about the same square footage as the other one."
Montano also hopes to deliver portable storage containers to residences for short periods of time. He said that will enable people to store items at their homes while they're renovating.
Although Montano has had to send customers elsewhere, he's optimistic. His attitude is "all boats rise on a high tide." He said he has to help people whether he makes money or not.
"I wish I was opened already," Montano said, noting that the Wilmington zoning process has been "very easy" but the state's permitting is "a little more daunting."
On the Act 250 permit, he added, "It takes longer and costs more. Probably 10 times more."
Contact Chris Mays at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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