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U-Haul business proposed on Route 9 in Howell

By Jennifer Ortiz
Staff Writer

HOWELL — The Zoning Board of Adjustment is considering an applicant’s request for site plan approval and a use variance that would permit the construction of two commercial buildings to house a U-Haul business.

The U-Haul site would include a self-storage facility, a retail truck rental location, warehousing and retail sales uses, according to the application that was presented to the board on April 25.

Attorney John Giunco represents the applicant, AMERCO Real Estate Company, which seeks to develop a three-story storage facility on Route 9 north between West Farms Road and Casino Drive.

A project for a similar use at the site was approved in 2007, but never developed, Giunco said.

Ronald Troppoli, who is the zoning board’s attorney, said because the current proposal is different than the original plan, the applicant will need a use variance for the self-storage facility and may also need a variance for multiple principal uses on the site.

Engineer Jason Fichter, of InSite Engineering, Wall Township, representing the applicant, said his client’s vacant tract is bordered by a vacant lot to the north, a residential property to the east, a nursery to the south and wetlands to the northeast. He said his client is proposing a typical self-storage facility, with retail sales that consist of moving and storage supplies.

“There is equipment rental, so there are trailers, pickup trucks, vans, car dollies and box trucks – everything you are used to seeing from U-Haul. They provide installation services for hitches on a vehicle and they also have what they call a ubox (storage container). All of those products are for customers to rent,” Fichter said.

He said the property is about 4.8 acres, with 109,064 square feet of building space. A three-story climate controlled self-storage building will account for a little more than 105,000 square feet (between 100 and 105 storage spaces) and there will also be a 3,900-square-foot building on site.

“For reference, what was previously approved was 118,800 square feet, so we are proposing a little bit less,” Fichter said.

Issues regarding the parking lot design and signs that may be placed at the site were discussed, but not resolved. The applicant is seeking a variance that would permit the installation of a 40-foot-tall pole with a 210-square-foot sign because a nearby billboard would otherwise block the U-Haul sign.

The AMERCO application was carried to the zoning board’s June 6 meeting.

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