Self-storage facility proposed on Dexter St.

Self-storage facility proposed on Dexter St.

Plans call for constructing a massive self-storage facility on Dexter Street, at the intersection of Curran Road, in Cumberland, adding 13 buildings of varying sizes on the site of the 1950s-era American Steel building that currently houses storage, at left. (Valley Breeze photo by Tom Ward)

CUMBERLAND - Businessman Tariq Khalil is seeking to build a massive self-storage facility on Dexter Street in what's currently a million-dollar assessed piece of property that the American Steel & Aluminum company operated until last year.

According to the plan, Khalil is taking over a 5.5-acre site, at the intersection of Curran Road, with three lots that contain the 41,000-square-foot building and parking areas, and will also acquire a series of smaller vacant lots to complete the 5.5 acres.

Plans call for adding 13 buildings of varying sizes in addition to the 1950s-era American Steel building. The building already contains storage space for a total of 93,050 square feet of gross storage space and 3,990 square feet of office space in two stories.

While the American Steel property is zoned for industrial use, others are residential and will need Town Council permission to be rezoned to the industrial designation. American Steel & Aluminum Corp. was a metals processing and storage facility.

The project is on this week's council agenda for permission to advertise only, and will be heard at a subsequent council meeting, likely in September.

The firm has already won Zoning Board Review approval for a 6-by-30-foot illuminated sign that exceeds the size regulation by 150 square feet. Board members did decline the request for all-night illumination and instead require it to be turned off at 11 p.m. when the facility is closed.

Additionally, the developer is seeking to cover 86 percent of the land with structures or other impervious material, more than the 80 percent permitted by regulation. He's also asking to locate the rear property line closer to neighbors than the 150-foot buffer the regulations require.

At a Technical Review Committee meeting in Town Hall last week, Kelly Morris, director of Planning and Community Development, met with resistance when she urged the developer to reconsider the lot coverage, particularly in light of the reduced buffer zone he's requesting at the rear lot line.

She's also calling for landscaping along the Dexter Street and rear lot lines.

"We like the project, and we want business in town, but we also want to make sure it looks nice," she told the developer.

The current 41,000-square-foot building is valued by the town at $1.09 million, with the land at $186,000. It last changed hands in 2009 for $1.47 million.

The east side of the property is bordered by a Narragansett Electric easement. There's a river also to the east that links Happy Hollow Pond to Robin Hollow wetlands. Across Curran Road, there's a used auto parts dealer.

The proposed facility is nearly twice the size of Cumberland Self Storage, 95 Industrial Road, that has 54,575 square feet of office and storage units on 3 acres of land. The town values that project at $1.48 million.