WESTFIELD, NJ — (Updated at 8:09 p.m.) Have you gotten your permit to drop off yard waste at the Conservation Center? If you want one, you’ll have to log in at just the right time.

The Conservation Center was a popular place to be in Westfield Thursday morning. Around 11:30 a.m., a line of approximately 15 vehicles was waiting to drop off carloads of grass, leaves branches and recyclables.

Police directed traffic and enforced social distancing guidelines. For a short time, the town suspended online sales of the $60 permit that allows residents to drop off certain yard waste at the conservation center.

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By 1:30 p.m., one hour before closing time, however, the town reported on Facebook that the line had subsided, and it had resumed online sales of permits for dropping off yard waste at the conservation center.

Then, around 8 p.m. Mayor Shelley Brindle reported that the town had sold “hundreds more” online permits and has residents awaiting decals. Brindle said the town would again temporarily suspend permit sales beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.

“This will allow the DPW to monitor the wait time and assess their processing capacity to determine if additional demand can be met,” Brindle said. “If capacity allows, we will open the sales back up during Center hours; otherwise, permits can be purchased after 2:30 p.m. for future use.”

Officials had anticipated the wait times as the social distancing guidelines required that only a certain number of cars be allowed in the center at the same time.

“I want to stress the need for patience as we undertake a new process to ensure social distancing while managing demand,” Brindle said Wednesday. “This demand is anticipated to be much higher at the Center in the initial few days of operation, as folks with a permit will need to have their online purchase verified and the decal put in place.”

Brindle recommended that people who are looking to just deposit recyclables wait until the first two weeks of the conservation center’s opening passes.

For ongoing updates on the Conservation Center, visit www.westfieldnj.gov/conservation, the town said. Due to COVID-19, permits for the conservation center are only being sold online.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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