The Turner planning commission has given the green light to a self-storage business on part of the former Twitchell airport, with a 3-2 vote in favor. Richard Robeson, owner of Bear’s Self Storage, plans to build 28 8-by-20-foot storage units on the site at 40 Airport Road off US 4. Chairman William Bullard, Vice Chairman Edward Morris, and Eben Shaw voted in favor while Shirley Tuchel and Scott Abbotts voted against the motion.
The approval process for the site plans began in September 2022, and the application was found complete after a public hearing on April 19. The planning commission only needs to approve a factual finding that shows the site plan meets the requirements of the town ordinance, according to Ben Smith, a town planner contracted by North Star Planning.
However, Tuchel and Abbotts cited site changes, work done before approval was obtained, and a failure to produce drawings for the second phase of the project as their reasons for opposing the motion. They also expressed concern over the inability to provide screening in the middle of the project.
Bullard argued that approving the project, while requiring a Phase 2 site plan within 60 days, would be an enforcement issue if the requirements were not met. Tuchel countered that the process sets a bad precedent for future applications.
The former privately and commercially operated Twitchell airport will end 76 years of operation in November 2022, as landowners Kurt and Kelvin Uland have decided to sell about 145 acres, including hangar space and docks shared by the airport and seaplane facilities.