Real Estate

Westfield Planning Board Denies Subdivision Over Safety Concerns

Joseph Triarsi represented himself and his neighbors at the Westfield Planning Board meeting on Monday night. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna

WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Planning Board unanimously denied an application to subdivide 226 Lynn Lane at Monday night’s meeting.

If approved, the lot, which currently houses one single-family home, would have been subdivided into two lots with a new single-family home facing a curve on Springfield Avenue.

“We can reasonably build a house here that is not unusual and it’s not difficult to put something in here,” engineer James Watson said. “It’s not a detriment to the community.”

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Nearby residents disagreed. The group of neighbors were led by Joseph Triarsi, a neighbor and attorney who served in a volunteer capacity at the meeting.

“None of us are opposed to a neighbor gaining economic advantage,” Triarsi said. “But we do object, and the law says we should object, to a neighbor gaining economic advantage at someone else’s detriment.”

Triarsi and the other opponents expressed extreme concern for traffic and safety. Neal Acito, who serves on the Westfield Historic Preservation Commission, mentioned that a young girl was killed on that curve of Springfield Avenue in the 1970s.

“School-age children would be on the school bus,” resident Tara Rohwetter said. “Can you envision how dangerous it would be to stop a school bus on that curve of Springfield Avenue? What would happen to the traffic behind that bus? Could it stop? There could be a very dangerous accident.”

Ultimately, the board agreed, citing safety concerns as the basis for their denial.

“Entering and exiting that driveway on a curve is especially dangerous,” Walsh said. “There are other driveways near there but they’re both on a straight road. The other concern is the safety of the vehicles traveling on Springfield Avenue. It’s a dangerous road to begin with, there have been a lot of accidents and there’s no sidewalk there.”

Frank Smith, vice-chairman for the board, agreed, adding that he’s unsure about the light, air and noise affects that the subdivision would cause.

“For that reason, I cannot support the subdivision,” Smith said.

Earlier in the meeting, the planning board adjourned for a 45-minute executive session to discuss adopting the resolution for 667 Fourth Avenue. The application to subdivide the historic lot was approved in April.

After returning from executive session, the board postponed the adoption of the resolution to the July meeting due to “significant comment and concerns by the board members,” according to board attorney Alan Trembulak.

“This is the second time the resolution’s been carried,” attorney Stephen Hehl said. “There are time constraints that my clients have and we would really like to see this move along as quickly as possible.”

An application for a subdivision of 942 Summit Avenue, which was carried from last month’s meeting, was also postponed to the July meeting.

The Westfield Planning Board will meet again on July 2 at 7:30 p.m.

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