Commercial Development Near Miami Beach Draws Questions and Opposition

Photo credit: Google Map Data, 2021


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OLD LYME — A proposal to construct three 10,500-square-foot commercial buildings that would house storage units and businesses at 250 Shore Road (Route 156) will come before the Zoning Commission at a special meeting on August 12 at 6 p.m.

CN&S Realty of Old Lyme has applied for a special permit to build three buildings, each measuring 70’ wide by 150’ long, and 35’ in height. Each building would house twelve 875-square-foot spaces that would be rented as storage units or for “business service establishments,” as permitted by the zoning ordinance. Retail establishments would not be permitted. 

The 3.77-acre site, owned by Peter and Joyce Meltschnig of South Lyme, is located across from Flagler Road and Biscayne Blvd. 

Each rental unit will have bathroom facilities and there will be one septic tank for each building with leaching fields. 

Town regulations would allow landscaping services, telephone answering service, secretarial services, but would exclude retail establishments and motor vehicle repair and services. 

At the May 10 and June 14 Zoning Commission meetings, a number of area residents spoke in opposition to the project, many saying the proposal is the wrong use of the property for the neighborhood. 

In addition, more than 100 residents have signed a petition opposing the project, citing environmental concerns including “the negative impact of three septic tanks producing waste, sewage, and overflow of leaching fields in previously identified fragile areas,” as well as stormwater runoff and potential damage to Swan Brook and surrounding residential wells. The petition also cited increased levels of noise, commercial traffic and pollution and potential danger to pedestrians, bicyclists and joggers on Route 156. 

The entrance to the new project would be located directly across from Flagler Road, which is an entrance and exit to Miami Beach Association and particularly busy in the summer, residents said. 

At the June 14 zoning meeting, Robert Doane, the engineer representing CN&S Realty, said that 24-hour access to storage units is typical, however several members of the Zoning Commission expressed concern about the hours of operation and asked for time limits. 

At that meeting, according to the minutes, Jane Marsh, secretary of the Zoning Commission, said she was concerned about the intensity of use and the number of potential uses and asked how the applicant has modified the project to fit the neighborhood. 

Doane said his client would consider paring down the statement of use “until there is comfort level for commission.”

Zoning Commission member Mike Miller said that the applicant has the right to use the property to the maximum potential and should not be asked to revise the business plan. 

However, Marsh said the purpose of the commission was not to allow maximum use of any site. 

Zoning Commission Chair Paul Orzel said he was uncomfortable with the plan and wanted clarification of the statement of use. He said he was looking for a fair and balanced approach that took into consideration the concerns of the beach community, the applicant and the commission.

Photo credit: Google Map Data, 2021