WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Planning Board wrote a letter of recommendation to the Westfield Town Council in favor of changing the Land Use Ordinance for the town of Westfield at Monday night's meeting.
The planning board's recommendation will be put to vote at Tuesday night’s council meeting. If approved, the ordinance will be changed to update and loosen the restrictions on buildings in Downtown Westfield.
“This is essentially an attempt to loosen the restrictions while maintaining the character of Downtown Westfield,” Councilman and planning board member Sam Della Fera said.
The changes were suggested by Mayor Andy Skibitsky’s Downtown Task Force. The report contains about 50 suggestions, but approximately 17 changes will be recommended to the council. According to Della Fera, the proposed changes are recommended now because they are short- or mid-term solutions.
“We wanted to make sure that what we have on the books is user-friendly and doesn’t put Westfield at a disadvantage,” board member Donald Sammet said.
The proposed short-term changes include the allowance of A-frame or sandwich board signs, streamlining the parking in downtown, amending the height requirements for buildings with stair towers and elevator bulkheads, removing the restrictions on usage of basements, allowing walk-up windows and permitting ground-floor office use for buildings along North and South Avenue. The full report and recommended changes by the task force can be read here.
“I think the changes you’re making are great,” board member Frank Smith said. “I think it’s long overdue, especially the sign changes.”
The town council will put the ordinance changes to a vote at Tuesday night’s meeting in the Westfield Municipal Building at 8 p.m.
Also on Monday, the Westfield Planning Board unanimously approved the subdivision of 609 Drake Place. The existing structures at the location will be demolished and two new lots will be created with the construction of a new single-family home on each lot.
The next planning board meeting will take place on July 3 at 7:30 p.m.