WESTFIELD, NJ — The planning board is slated to hear an application seeking approval to build a three-story office building on vacant land at 440 North Avenue East — next to the location of the now shuttered Vine Ripe Markets.

The application on the agenda for Monday’s planning board meeting shows that 440 North Avenue East LLC is seeking variances for parking, the size of parking spaces and sign placement.

The developer’s plans call for 41 parking spaces where the regulations would typically require 49 parking spaces, according to the agenda. In addition, those spaces are two feet shorter than the typical length of parking spaces, the agenda says.

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The total space of the lot is 18,000-square feet, according to the application, which states that cars would be parked on the ground floor on top of which the building would be constructed.

A third variance asks for a freestanding sign to be 19.72 feet from the roadway where 20 feet would typically be required.

In October 2019, the planning board heard a version of the application that called for an office building designed to appear from the exterior as if it were a residence.

The application had initially been presented in 2011, according to the application, and last October board members requested the applicant return with a revised plan that appears more like an office building.

“It doesn’t need dormers. It doesn’t need porches. It doesn’t need gables,” Board Chairman Robert Newell then said. “It’s an office building.”

A diner had previously been located on the property; however, the application notes it had not been in use for nearly 25 years.

Due to New Jersey’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order, meeting will be held via the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

If you are an existing Zoom user, you can connect using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/602589976

If you are new to Zoom:

  1. Go to Zoom.com
  2. Click “Join a Meeting”
  3. When prompted

Telephone (for higher quality audio): 470-381-2552 or 646-518-9805.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh