The anticipated change for the area follows significant public opposition over a proposed subdivision in the neighborhood.
WESTFIELD, NJ — A proposed rezoning of the area encompassing New England Drive would allow only for the larger lot sizes already existing there, officials said.
The new regulations were introduced at last week’s Town Council meeting, where officials considered the impact of the zone change and its legality.
“We reviewed that area,” said Town Administrator Jim Gildea. “That street specifically has some characteristics unlike those in any other zone.” The properties are much larger on New England Drive than in other zones, Gildea said.
If approved, the proposal would change the area from an RS-12 zone to an RS-16 zone, Town Attorney Tom Jardim said. A public hearing and final approval for the measure is anticipated Feb. 12, officials said.
The allowable size of lots in the zone encompassing New England Drive became a hotly contested issue last year when a builder proposed tearing down a single-family home on the quiet street and building two in its place.
In December, the Planning Board denied the application for a proposed subdivision of the property at 885 New England Drive, following significant neighborhood opposition and a close review of the town code.
Gildea said the application drew attention to the size of the lots allowable in the area.
Councilwoman Jo Ann Neylan asked if the zone change could be construed as the illegal practice of placing a small area of land in a different zone than that of neighboring properties.
“Is what’s happening here spot zoning?” Neylan asked.
Jardim said the town planner was careful to detail the justification behind the proposed zone change with measurements of the existing lots.
“It looks fairly obvious that the more appropriate zone in that area is an RS-16 and not an RS-12,” he said.
Allowing for subdivisions, the type that the proposed regulation is anticipated to avoid in the New England Drive area, has become a controversial topic in Westfield.
Mayor Shelley Brindle, however, has said that an update to the town’s master plan, which is slated for this year, could also address this issue in other neighborhoods.
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