January 6, 2017 at 8:23 AM
WESTFIELD, NJ – Arguments over tree preservation, lot width and depth, hypothetical house plans and memorable New Jersey court cases were taken into account by the Westfield town officials on Wednesday night, when an application to raze the home and subdivide the property at 657 Boulevard was unanimously denied by the Westfield Planning Board.
The dwelling became world famous as the so-called "Watcher House" in 2014 shortly after its owners, Derek and Maria Broaddus, bought the $1.3 million, century-old home. The couple and their children never moved in after receiving threatening letters from a stalker who claimed to be watching the house and awaiting "young blood." The story reportedly may become a major motion picture.
The overarching factor cited by several board members was that the benefits of having two single-family homes on the site as opposed to the existing structure simply did not outweigh the detriments.
Despite the efforts of the applicant’s attorney, former Councilman James Foerst, along with testimonies from expert planners and a civil engineer, the board sided with attorney Robert Simon and dozens of neighbors in attendance who sought to protect the historic character of the neighborhood.
Board chairman Vince Wilt officially disproved the notion that the application was submitted for personal or financial gain and urged the public not to spread such rumors.
“I think everyone should realize this: [Homeowners] The Broadduses didn’t ask for this,” Wilt said. “I think they are just trying to get out of a bad situation.”