Business seeks new building near Essex River

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Jul. 22—ESSEX — Local property owner John Coughlin said his company's planned construction project near the Essex River won't negatively impact the surrounding wetlands.

Coughlin is seeking to build a 30- by 160-foot storage building on his property at 73 Eastern Ave. for his business, North Shore Mini Storage of Essex.

"There's a big need in the local community for self storage right now," said Coughlin.

A portion of the planned building encroaches on the mandated 100-foot wetland setback. When speaking to Times on Wednesday, Coughlin said he was unable to give the measurements as he did not have the project plans in front of him.

"It's very little, very insignificant," he assured.

Coughlin planned to seek approval from the Essex Conservation Commission at a public hearing this past Tuesday. Unfortunately for him, the state did not supply the town with the project's assigned Department of Environmental Protection number in time. The public hearing has since been moved to Tuesday, Aug. 3.

"The commission requires a permit even when you're one inch over the line," Coughlin explained.

This is the second project proposed at North Shore Mini Storage of Essex near Essex River. In the spring of 2020, North Shore Mini Storage leased a portion of its land to Centerline Communications of West Bridgewater. The company plans on building a 200-foot cell tower on the small patch of land. The proposed site is 550 feet from Essex River.

Save Essex's Landscape, a community group of residents, has been fighting the cell tower proposal. It claims, in part, that the tower would negatively affect the Essex River's wetlands. At this year's Town Meeting, the group failed to garner support for its redrafted bylaw implementing stricter cell tower regulations in Essex.

Coughlin said he has no idea where the cell phone tower project stands at this time as he isn't directly involved. Representatives with Centerline Communications could not be reached in time for this article. A call and email to the town's Conservation Commission also went unanswered before press time.

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com

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