CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — The owners of a self-storage facility on Crossings Boulevard are seeking approval to expand their business with a three-story, climate controlled, public storage facility next to the operation.

Conceptual plans to expand Exit 9 Self Storage, 2 Crossings Boulevard, were reviewed by the Clifton Park Planning Board as part of the May 29 meeting. The business is located near the intersection of Crossings Boulevard and Sitterly Road.

The recent purchase of a 1.4-acre parcel on Sitterly Road and the demolition of an existing home on the plot has given the business room to expand to the south as well as an entrance into the storage facility from Sitterly Road.

Plans call for constructing a three-story building with a 12,000-square-foot footprint on the site of the demolished home. The storage facility’s owners are considering the eventuality of constructing a second, three-story climate-controlled building on the site.

Mike Bianchino of Lansing Engineering who represented the business at the meeting acknowledged that Sitterly Road is a perimeter street in the Town Center South node and as such shade trees, landscaping and lawn will be part of the project’s aesthetics.

To help advance the plan before it was formally presented to the Planning Board, representatives of the self-storage facility met with a Town Center advisory committee to discuss the restrictions inherent in the Town Center plan.

The site is currently zoned B-4 Highway Business but is expected to be changed to TC-5 (Town Center-5) in the future as Town Center South node becomes more built up and is absorbed into the Town Center plan. The business would be an allowed use in a TC-5 zone.

Noting that Sitterly Road is an entryway for the town and also a perimeter road for entry into the Town Center, Town Planning Director John Scavo requested the board recommends deciduous shade trees be planted along the road as part of any approval.

The request was supported by board member Jeff Jones.

“Clifton Park has many old trees and people come here because we look a certain way and we are taking them down and replacing them with these “bag trees”, the trees you see at the story with the roots wrapped in a burlap bag, and if we’re not careful we’re going to look like every other community,” he said.

Jones added that he knew he was treading close to a soapbox speech, but was bothered by what he has seen happening recently to the town’s vegetative cover once a board approval has been given.

“In the last six months people are coming in here and they can’t cut down 200-year-old trees fast enough and they are replacing them with bag trees,” he said.

Todd Fisher, a principal with Equinox Properties, the self-storage facility’s owner, assured Jones he will work with Bianchino and the town to save what mature trees he can on the site.

Board member Emad Andarawis was concerned with the visual connection between the Town Center east and west nodes.

“This is going to become a very important connection point,” he said.  “When the Town Center North node is built up that traffic is going to be directed right to this corner.”

Fisher queried the board, whether an artistically-designed water fountain at the corner of the business’ lot would be favored by the board.

Board chairman Rocco Ferraro supported Andarawis’ position that the corner was a difficult one, but also an important one.

“I’m all right with this [project] but I am concerned that self-storage businesses are not the best thing for other TC-5 zones,” he said.

As this was a conceptual review of the plans, the board took no action at the meeting on this project.

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