Letters to the Editor

Time to Stop Giving Developers Carte Blanche in Westfield


I have had the pleasure of living in Westfield for over 25 years. During these years, I've seen many changes, and as a pragmatist, I understand progress and growth. When developers purchase and knock down older homes in town, I understand that they are in business to make money but I always hope that they will preserve the integrity and aesthetic of the town, rather than build enormous monstrosities that abut the property line and disregard the surrounding community.  

On our street, although it is only one block long and one block from town, we have many older homes, some from the late 1800's and some from the 1920's. There is one house on our street, one of the oldest in town in fact, built long before the rest. I remember meeting the woman who was born and grew up in this house. Her name was Helen Pearsall and she explained that her grandfather had built the home that the street was later named after. His name was James R. Ferris. 

In fact, her distinctive pre-Revolutionary home was recognized by the Westfield Historical Society in 1990 and awarded a plaque (made with wood salvaged from the flooring of an old farmhouse), depicting the era that the house was built, "circa 1750." Sadly, when the home was purchased by a developer, the plaque was quickly removed.

Sign Up for E-News

This developer, who also owns the property on the adjoining lot, has primarily kept the historic house empty and it is presumed that he plans to bulldoze the house and develop the land. He is, after all, a developer, and that is what they do. However, when the grass became exceedingly high and weedy this past spring, the house began to look abandoned and neighbors became concerned.

A few weeks ago, I luckily (or so I thought) bumped into this developer, introduced myself pointing out where I lived, and politely asked if he were in charge of the lawn at 112 Ferris. He said he did not know. I was surprised and stated my concern that the house was beginning to look somewhat deserted. Ironically, his colleague overheard our conversation and agreed with me. 

Once the third party left the conversation, the owner/developer became extremely defensive. He repeatedly asked me who I was, what I did for a living, and then asked, how I would like it if he came to my house and asked about my own home. 

Needless to say, I was shaken and intimidated. I apologized for upsetting him and continued on my walk.The following week the lawn was mowed, and in addition, five beautiful mature trees were leveled to the ground. Sadly, this also happened to be the week before the town council was scheduled to discuss closing the loophole in Westfield's tree ordinance law.

Although I've been here a quarter of century, I still very much enjoy being a part of this community, attending school functions, volunteering at various organizations, and participating in numerous activities throughout the town. And yes, I get that times change and things get built. However, progress and development do not have to be at the expense of our historical and architectural distinctiveness. I believe we can move forward and still respect Westfield's rich history, as well as the neighbors who happen to live around it.

And perhaps, even more importantly, we take notice before this pre-revolutionary home, which is a part of the significant fabric of this community, becomes rubble.  Isn't it time we stop turning a blind eye to the historic preservation that is inherent to the beauty of this town and giving developers carte blanche? 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Another Car Smashes into CVS on Morris Avenue in Union

April 21, 2018

UNION, NJ – For the third time in the past year, a car hit the CVS building at 2287 Morris Avenue at the corner of Commerce Avenue.

Union firefighters responded to a call at the CVS at about 12:50 p.m. Thursday.  According to Fire Chief Mike Scanio, a car had struck the building. The Union Fire Department Special Operations Team along with a township construction official ...

2018 Municipal Budget is on Collision Course with Principles of Financial Soundness & Stability

April 18, 2018

Having chaired the town council’s finance committee in the recent past, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing a municipal budget for a town as large and dynamic as Westfield. But as I have expressed publicly and also to the mayor and my council colleagues, I do not support the adoption of Westfield’s 2018 municipal budget. Although the budget contains much that I ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, April 21, 9:30 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Westfield Area YMCA Camp Open House

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Tamaques Park, Brightwood Park & Mindowaskin Park, Westfield

Westfield 2018 Spring Clean-Up

Giving Back Government Green


Sat, April 21, 1:30 PM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Free Aquatics Healthy Kids Day

Health & Wellness Sports

Westfield Police Blotter: Residence Burglarized & More

April 18, 2018

April 11, 2018 10:23 a.m.

Raymond Rodgers, 56, of Westfield, NJ was arrested in the area of E. Broad Street. Rodgers was arrested pursuant to an unrelated traffic investigation. Rogers was transported to Westfield Police HQ without incident. At WPD HQ, Rodgers was processed and released after posting the full bail amount ($250). Rodgers was arrested on the strength of an outstanding Westfield ...

The Secret to Managing Insulin for Weight Loss

April 21, 2018

Not too long ago I was sitting with my good friend, Charlie, and I asked him, "Hey Charlie, what's the easiest way to get rid of belly fat?"

"C'mon, Tony, you know the answer to that question." I was pretty sure I did, but I wanted to see if he knew something I didn't. Charlie continued, "The secret to losing belly fat and keeping it off is simply a matter ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Edison Students Participate in Beta Test of Google Augmented Reality App

Students and teachers at Edison Intermediate School participated in a recent beta test of a Google application that uses augmented reality technology to explore the inner workings of plant cells, the functions and framework of the human skeletal system, and other educational subjects.

Edison Media Specialist Andrew Cusumano arranged for a Google representative to visit the school on April 9 to ...

Get Your Home Ready for Summer Before its TOO HOT

Finally, the weather is getting warmer and you are shedding those down coats. Now is a great time to start thinking about summer and getting your home prepared. Paying attention to a few maintenance items can alleviate painful repairs later on if you wait too long. The line ahead of you will build as the summer rush starts. So, let’s not wait.

Check your roof   (hire the expert ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

Mets Sign Patriots Pitcher Before He Can Unpack His Gear

April 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The Somerset Patriots have announced that right-hand pitcher Scott Copeland’s contract has been purchased by the New York Mets.

So, instead of stretching out and getting in shape at TD Bank Ballpark, he's been sent to extended spring training at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The 6’3” righty broke into the big leagues in ...