Real Estate

Westfield Board of Adjustment Holds Final Hearing for Townhouse Project

J. Michael Petry, a civil engineer and planner, was the last witness to testify on behalf of the Robinson family on Carol Road. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
Petry was cross-examined by attorney Jon Schmidt, who represents the applicant. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna

WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Board of Adjustment heard the final witness during its sixth hearing for Country Classics’ proposed townhouses at Monday night’s special meeting. The applicant seeks to build six multi-family, age-restricted townhouses at 1481 East Broad Street.

Although it was rumored that the board would make a decision at Monday night’s meeting, the members agreed to postpone their decision until the Sept. 11 meeting due to the absence of board member Robert Whitehead.

Instead, attorney Richard Schkolnick, who represents the Robinson family on Carol Road, presented his final witness, civil planner and professional engineer J. Michael Petry. Petry said there is no evidence that the property, where the Pierson-Clark home currently exists, can take on the density of such a project.

Sign Up for E-News

“It doesn’t relate to the opposite side of East Broad Street,” Petry said. “As the land use map clearly indicates, this side of East Broad is exclusively single-family. The proposed use would be both intrusive and, in my opinion, inappropriate.”

Petry said that the proposed density is inappropriate to the zone, the parking lot proposed for the property would end nine feet from his client’s yard, the townhouses exceed building coverage standards, the townhouses would increase traffic and that the intensity of the proposed building’s height cannot be blocked. The maximum building height per ordinance is 32.75 feet and the proposed building height is 35.75 feet.

“Due to the nature of property for those over 55, it’s indicated the same number of humans would be located on this development if it were subdivided into three lots,” board member William E. Heinbockel asked. “Could you comment to the intensity of single-family homes versus the proposed multi-family structure?”

Petry said it’s a misconception that those older than 55 live without children and that the size of the units, three bedrooms with a den, must be considered.

“The onslaught of people that move into a new development are generally people in that 55 to 60 range who are more active and may still have college-age kids who are coming home,” Petry said. “Coming home turns into a few years to pay off those loans. The occupancy over time will be lessened, but what happens to the 55-year-old parents without kids that move into this development? Pretty soon these people have grandchildren being dropped off. You’ll start to find a different type of movement in terms of traffic patterns and activity.”

Following Petry’s testimony, he was questioned by Jon Schmidt, an attorney representing the applicant.

After the cross-examination, about 15 residents addressed the board to voice their concerns regarding the proposed project. One of the first speakers, Neal Acito, attempted to argue against the project based on the historic significance of the Pierson-Clark home, which was built in 1755. The board said they could not consider the property’s historic significance because it is not a designated historic site.

“The board of adjustment is not permitted to consider historic significance as a factor when determining land appropriateness and use,” board member V. Laughlin said.

Although Acito was unable to speak of the specific property’s historic significance, he did mention the history of the town as a whole.

“We’re hitting the tipping point and this is it,” Acito said. “This is not consistent with the master plan. You’re wondering when colonial Westfield ceases to be colonial Westfield and become just another town? This is it. This is the one.”

Other residents repeatedly mentioned the traffic impact, the inconsistencies with the town’s master plan, the density of the lot, parking concerns and more. Most were questioned by Schmidt following their statements, resulting in a meeting that lasted about four hours.

“If you allow this, it’s like opening Pandora’s Box,” resident Michael Blancato said. “Once it’s open, how are you going to fit us back into that box? The thing about Pandora’s Box is, what’s left in that box is hope. I hope that you guys realize the community is against this. I hope you realize that there could be a major traffic impact here. I hope you realize that this is a neighborhood. I hope you consider what everyone out here is doing and I hope you think about the master plan and how it was investigated in 2013 and since then.”

The Westfield Board of Adjustment plans to announce a decision about the application at its Sept. 11 meeting. The application will most likely be the first issue addressed at that meeting, Heinbockel said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Linden Man Arrested After Explosion in Cranford

June 22, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ — An explosion heard in Cranford Wednesday has led to the arrest of 26-year old Michael Kossup of Linden, NJ, according to authorities. Kossup has been charged with Possession of Prohibited Destructive Devices (3rd Degree); Possession of Under 50g (Marijuana); and Possession of Paraphernalia. 

On Wednesday, June 20, 2018 ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on June 19

June 22, 2018

I opened the Board meeting on a somber note, announcing the death of sophomore student Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel.  Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over his death.  We extend our condolences to the Uziel family.  I noted that school counselors are available for all students or staff who may wish to discuss their feelings ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Between Park Street and Washington Street, Westfield

Walking Tour: What Makes a Great House and ...

Home & Garden


Sat, June 23, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...



Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...


Westfield Police Blotter: Criminal Mischief to Vehicles Continues & More

June 20, 2018

June 13, 2018 9:24 a.m.

Officer Santangelo arrested Hakan Kaya, age 46, of Westfield, New Jersey on an outstanding warrant (#E19490) in the amount of $304.00 out of Neptune City Municipal Court pursuant to turning himself in at WPD Headquarters. Subject was processed and released after posting the full bail amount.


June 13, 2018 11:02 a.m.

Lieutenant McFarlean and Officer ...

Summer Foreign Festival to kick off at Westfield Memorial Library

June 23, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ – The Summer Foreign Film Festival kicks off at the Westfield Memorial Library on Monday, July 2 with all films showing at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The library is located at 550 East Broad St.

On the roster is “A Fantastic Woman” on July 2 (Spanish, 104 minutes); “The Fencer” on July 16 (Estonian, 99 minutes); “The Women’s Balcony” ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...

Understand the New Law for Paid Sick Leave

Paid sick leave is now the law in New Jersey.

New Jersey has passed a paid sick leave law which preempts paid sick leave ordinances adopted by several cities and towns so there is now one uniform law in this area for New Jersey employers. Here is what you need to know about the new law.

33 Homes Sold June 10 to June 17 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Thirty-three Homes sold from June 10 to June 17, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside.*


TOWN         ADDRESS                      STYLE    ...

Westfield 3rd Graders Receive Top Honors at Mock Trial Competition

Westfield third graders recently received top honors for three mock court cases they presented at the New Jersey Bar Foundation Law Fair.

“I am proud that, out of 84 entries submitted, our third grade students (now fourth graders) in the Gifted Program have won 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention in the 3rd Grade category [of the Law Fair ...

Maximizing Your Portfolio’s Returns -- Beware the Taxman

The old adage in the investment world is that it is not what you make, but what you keep that counts.  Investors often overlook the ultimate deflator of portfolio returns – the taxman. An astute global asset allocation should be the number one priority for investors.  However, there are preferred ways to distribute this asset allocation over the spectrum of taxable and ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

Healthy U Spring Symposium Marks 10 Years of Community Impact

WESTFIELD, NJ — More than 100 Healthy U champions and partners from YMCAs and schools from all over the state gathered at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health. 

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the ...


AtlantiCast Episode 17

On this week’s AtlantiCast, it’s National Men’s Health Month, so check out important health tips for you or the men in your life, learn about groundbreaking research into breast cancer treatment that could mean an end to chemotherapy for some patients, meet a local sports hero who’s living his baseball dreams thanks to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and much ...

Bridgewater Mall Shut Down for 2 Hours After Fight Breaks Out

June 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — No injuries have been reported after a fight involving a crowd of people shut down the Bridgewater Commons Mall for two hours Thursday evening.

According to a Nixle alert from the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 9 p.m., the investigation at the mall has been completed, and the mall was resuming normal business operations.

According to Somerset County ...


Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more