Westfield Veterinary Group Receives Approval for New Facility; Zoning Board Wants Developer’s Agreement

WESTFIELD, NJ—The Westfield Board of Adjustment on Wednesday approved the application of RVM Family LLC to construct a new veterinary hospital on the site of the Westfield Veterinary Group at 562 Springfield Avenue.

However, that approval is contingent on the completion of a developer’s agreement between the veterinary group and the Town of Westfield that would assure that the applicant adheres to phasing guidelines for the project and abides by certain other zoning board restrictions.

The agreement, which would be drawn up by Town Planner William Drew, the town engineer and other officials and signed by Westfield officials and the veterinarians and their legal representatives, would have to be approved by the board of adjustment before the application’s approval is finalized.

Sign Up for E-News

The veterinary group wishes to demolish the existing two-story veterinary hospital and a separate building which houses a kennel to make way for a three-story structure that would house only a veterinary hospital and offices.

Zoning board attorney, Vincent Loughlin, advised the board to seek the developer’s agreement, with construction contracts attached, due to the fact that the veterinarians, as part of the “phasing plan” for construction want to keep their current business in operation while the new facility is being built.

He said the town has seen many construction projects go on long after the promised completion date and he did not want to see the board approve the unusual temporary variance to keep a business running while a new facility is built without some guarantees.

The applicant’s engineer, Thomas Quinn of Scotch Plains, outlined a six-phase construction plan that, he said, would stretch over 15 months.

Quinn added, however, that he had been given the 15-month figure by a construction contractor in e-mails and had not actually spoken to the contractor.

Dr. Thomas Maus, one of the applicants, told Loughlin that his brother, who had been in the construction field his whole life, had provided the information used in the phasing plan.

Loughlin was not confident “hearsay” about information provided by the brother of the applicant could be relied upon in determining if the phasing schedule would be followed.

He said there also should be a pre-construction dialogue between town officials and contractors and other representatives of the applicant.

The board attorney also called for an escrow account with bonding in case the existing facility was not demolished as planned.

In addition to the developer’s agreement requirement, the zoning body’s approval also was conditioned on discontinuation of the boarding facility currently on the property, a ban on radioactive materials and a crematorium on the site and approval by the Union County Planning Board and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Although the county had approved the application, Drew questioned a provision by the county that a portion of the Springfield Avenue right-of-way in front of the hospital be dedicated to the town rather than the county.

He believed the right-of-way should be dedicated as county property since Springfield Avenue is a county rather than a town road.

In order to meet parking variances sought by the veterinary group, board chairman, William Heinbokel, said the applicant should be required to live up to assurances made by Maus that the veterinary group would not go beyond its current roster of 45 employees unless its business expanded once the new facility was in operation.

Maintaining the 45-employee roster, he said, with employees working in two shifts, would help ensure the new facility could operate efficiently with the proposed 59 parking spaces rather than the 81 spaces required by the town’s zoning ordinance.

Aside, from the conditions for the application, however, board members were in favor of the proposal.

Heinbokel said the applicants currently had to do business in a facility “retrofitted” to accommodate its uses, whereas the proposed state-of-the-art facility would be “much more holistic.”

“This is a well-thought-out plan that will vastly improve the use,” said board member, Andy Wasserman.

He praised the elimination of the kennel and reconfiguration of the current haphazard traffic pattern along with relocation of the animal hospital from the front to the rear of the property.

Board member, Mark Doherty, said the plan would improve the quality and service of the facility.

In reviewing the plans for the site, applicant planner, John McDonough, said, “It is good planning to allow uses to evolve.”

He noted the new hospital would combine all the facilities in one state-of-the-art building, the parking lot would contain more lighting, there would be better traffic circulation and the renovated site would contain 17 additional plants, most of which would be dogwoods.

The proposal’s call for a five-foot setback rather than the required 55-feet, he said, would not change the site much because the new building would be constructed over an existing paved area.

In fact, he added, the plan would not increase the impervious coverage of the site.

Although the phasing plan caused him some concern about the safety of employees and clients during construction, board vice president, Chris Masciale, said the developer’s agreements and other requirements for town oversight assured the project would be done correctly.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Jade Isle to Stay Open One More Week

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The sudden announcement that the venerable Jade Isle restaurant (158 Terrill Road in Scotch Plains) would close on Sunday evening caught many of its fans by surprise. As a result, longtime customers flocked to the eatery this weekend for one last meal. 

Not wanting to disappoint those who wanted to stop in a final time, owner Jack Lee has postponed ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_324736565a1e77afd508_inflatbles

Mon, February 19, 11:00 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

President's Day Jump

Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_fadfd1c21bc636c673db_schmidt_john_01_pp

Thu, February 22, 8:30 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, Hamilton , Hamilton

Defending Your Independent Contractor & Wage & ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Earn Scholarship Finalist Standing

February 17, 2018

The National Merit Scholarship Program has determined which of the 16,000 semifinalists named in September 2017 have met all requirements to advance to Finalist standing in the competition. All Finalists will be considered for National Merit Scholarships to be offered in 2018.

Wardlaw+Hartridge seniors Jennifer Guo and Suraj Chandran of Edison received their Finalist certificates from Susan ...

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI Arrest & More

February 15, 2018

February 7, 2018 10:25 p.m.

Officers Natale and Gill arrested Brian Mueller, age 55, of Westfield, NJ for driving while intoxicated pursuant to an accident investigation in the area of Mountain Avenue by Colonial Avenue. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released to a sober adult.

 

February 9, 2018 2:21 a.m.

Selena G. Palacios, age 22, of Westfield, NJ was ...

How Tax Reform Impacts You

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brings a host of changes to tax returns for 2018. Highlighted are just a few of the new rules that may impact many of our clients. Please reach out to us to find out if and how your personal situation is impacted.

For Business:

·       A flat 21% corporate tax rate for C corporations replaces the 15% - 35% graduate rate ...

Sinai or Sanctuary?

 

 

And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Westfield Public Schools Celebrate High School and Intermediate Music Honors

Westfield High School sophomore Brooke Walden auditioned and was selected to the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra for a second straight year.  Brooke was the top scoring piccolo player and ranked third on the flute.  She will perform in February with the Wind Ensemble and in November with the Orchestra.

Walden also was among 12 WHS musicians to perform in January with ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

6 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford & Mountainside

Six homes sold last week, 2/4/2018-2/11/18, in Westfield, Scotch  Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford.*

Sale Price   TOWN                  ADDRESS                  ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

Cat Found in Westfield

UPDATE: Reunited with family!

ORIGINAL POST: Cat found in Golf Edge area of Westfield. Call 908-913-0509.

Doing Well While Doing Good

The new tax law is predicted to reduce significantly the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions.  That has some concerned about charitable giving. There are ways for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to give to charity and still receive some tax benefits.

Give from your IRA. Those aged 70-1/2 or older, who must take required minimum distributions from retirement accounts, can ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
Read more

Nutley Schools Closed Friday Following Security Threat

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ — The Nutley Police Department is currently investigating a video posted to Instagram that suggested a possible threat to schools. Dr. Julie Glazer, Nutley Superintendent of Schools, made the decision late Thursday night to close Nutley schools on Friday as a safety precaution. 

The Nutley Police Department reports they have spoken to the individual ...