WILLIAMSTOWN -- The town Planning Board might modify zoning bylaws to allow for self-storage facilities.

"It's something people have mentioned off and on as a business opportunity that seems to work in many communities," said Chairman Chris Winters. "Our current zoning doesn't make provisions for it."

Town Planner Andrew Groff said the town has a comprehensive zoning bylaw, which never makes mention of storage units. A bylaw amendment would be necessary to allow them, he said.

"At the board's request, I did some research on how self-storage is addressed in other communities and what other experiences people have had," he said.

So far, Planning Board members have discussed the merits of allowing self-storage facilities and where they could be located.

"The gist of the conversation was that they seemed appropriate in the light industrial zone," Winters said. "There's actually not much of [light industrial zoning] in Williamstown."

According to town bylaws, light, or limited, industrial "is intended for research laboratories, office buildings and selected light industries which are compatible with a low-density, rural residential community."

Groff said limited industrial zones are along North Hoosac Road and Cole Avenue and on land off Simonds Road near the town garage, sewer plant and transfer station. Light industrial businesses are now in this area.

Allowing storage-unit facilities could give new life to underutilized buildings or parcels in town, Groff said.

"It seemed like there was demand for potential consumers and potential entrepreneurs," said Winters, the Planning Board chairman. "It seemed appropriate for that zone, and it was the feeling of the committee we'd entertain that."

"Any zoning changes have to follow a pretty strict set of rules to even be considered at town meeting," Groff said.

A warrant article would need to be drafted, vetted at a public hearing and approved by Selectmen before the May 20 annual town meeting.

Storage facilities would be regulated by building and height codes already in place, Winters said. The town's zoning bylaws restrict a building's height to 35 feet or 21 2 stories.

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