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Jackie Lieberman
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Controversial Home to be Built in Westfield Gets a Facelift

August 7, 2013 at 8:24 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ — At a meeting of the Westfield Town Council Aug. 6, the demolition of a home at 257 Walnut Street was once again a source of discussion. At the town council meeting on July 9, many residents argued that its demolition and the construction of a two-family home at that location could endanger the street’s historic status application.

Despite the opposition July 9, the demolition was approved that evening. However, the  house could not be demolished because demolition of its detached garage had not been included in the original request.

On Aug. 6, with a resolution to authorize that demolition on the agenda, only one resident was present to voice concern. Changes to the new home’s plans likely played a role in the lack of opposition.

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At a council conference meeting held before the regular town council meeting that evening, Town Administrator Jim Gildea explained that a new zoning ordinance requires homes built in that zone to appear from the front to be single-family homes. Drawings submitted by the builder before and after that ordinance went into effect were handed out to council members. (See drawings above.)

Bob Burslem, one of the residents who had opposed the demolition on July 9, told the council, “What we see in the plans being proposed is a tremendous improvement and will fit in the neighborhood well.”

However, Burslem said he was concerned that the new plans add two curb cuts, two driveways and two detached garages.

“It just seems like something more than what the spirit of the ordinance change envisioned,” said Burlsem.

The demolition was approved later that evening at the regular town council meeting. More on that meeting to come.

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