EASTHAM — Barbara Niggel’s quest to expand her Stow Away self-storage business at 4730 Route 6 ended at the planning board’s Aug. 18 hearing, with board member Joe Manas casting the lone no vote. Because the special permit Niggel sought required five yes votes, the expansion cannot happen.
Manas said his concern was that the town’s water supply could be contaminated by spills at the storage units. “I don’t feel comfortable,” he said. “Accidents happen.”
The location, at Niggel’s Willy’s World gym, is within the Eastham Corridor Special District and District J — the groundwater protection overlay district.
Before the vote, board chair Dan Coppelman, who voted to approve the permit, told Niggel, “I think you’ve done a reasonable job in answering our concerns from the engineering standpoint.”
The project had been reduced from the original plan to build five 14-foot-tall storage buildings, proposed in May 2020 and then withdrawn without prejudice. The proposal that was voted down on Aug. 18 would have added two sections of storage pods with a total area of 9,600 square feet.
Noting that he needed a unanimous vote from the five board members, attorney Ben Zehnder, representing Niggel and her companies, Goeroe’s Goldens and Stow Away LLC, said at the start of the hearing that he might request a continuance if believed he did not have the needed votes.
“I am going to be paying particular attention to the members’ questions and their demeanor toward the project,” said Zehnder.
About one hour later Zehnder said that, while he normally has a sense of how board members would vote, this time he was at a loss.
“I would really hate to have this go to a vote and have one member holding an ace that I haven’t seen and we have a denial,” said Zehnder.
Coppelman noted that, while he normally would allow a polling of board members, he did not think it was appropriate “in this particular case.”
“I don’t know where we are,” said Coppelman. “You have a choice — ask for a vote or wait another month.”
Zehnder asked if there were any further questions that board members needed addressed and, finding none, asked for the vote.
Coppelman, Craig Nightingale, Jim Kivlehan, and Brian Earley voted to approve the special permit, with Manas, holding the ace, voting no.