WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve two ordinances that turn more than a dozen of the near-term recommendations made by the Mayor’s Downtown Task Force into reality.

The Westfield Planning Board, after reviewing the proposed changes, wrote a letter Monday night recommending that the council approve them.

Ordinance 2082:

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  • Makes it easier for a new business to get a parking variance without going before the planning board.
  • Removes parking requirements for a business with a short-term (two-month or less) lease.
  • Streamlines the approval process for renovations so that business owners spend less time going before boards for approval.
  • Allows more types of businesses, such as arcades (which were banned during the 1970s) and paint-and-sips, to move in.
  • Removes the need to get a variance to use basement space for something other than storage, provided the space will be used for functions ancillary to a principal permitted use on the ground floor.
  • Allows for more than one tenant to share space.
  • Allows walk-up windows for businesses such as pizzerias or ice cream shops.
  • Excludes stair towers and elevator bulk heads from maximum building height requirements.
  • Excludes decorative architectural features from maximum building height requirements.
  • Allows ground-floor office use on North and South Avenues.

Ordinance 2081 eases restrictions on signage. The ordinance legalizes A-frame/sandwich board sidewalk signs, which were not previously allowed downtown, though were nevertheless in wide use.

It also sets standards for the A-frame signs, including size, location and permitting.

The ordinance also allows for window signage for a certain percentage of the window area and awning signage.