WESTFIELD, NJ — The architect of a proposed three-story office building designed in the colonial style for North Avenue will have to go back to the drawing board.
The Planning Board on Monday tasked the owner of the vacant lot at 440 North Avenue East with coming up with a more contemporary design for the office building proposed for the site wedged in between Vine Ripe Markets and McIntyre’s Locksmith and Lawnmower service.
While Planning Board Chairman Robert Newell said the board supports offices at the location, board members requested the applicant, 440 North Avenue East LLC, return Jan. 6 with a new plan that looks more like an office building than it does a home.
“It still looks like it’s residential,” Newell said, referring to plans presented Monday. “It doesn’t need dormers. It doesn’t need porches. It doesn’t need gables. It’s an office building.”
The applicant’s architect, Roger Winkle, detailed the exterior designs for the board — designs that will now have to be reworked.
“We have full balconies which are prevalent on Broad Street and a typical gable and dormer look,” Winkle said. “So we designed the front of the building to look a bit colonial and residential. The first floor of the building is all brick the second floor and third floor will all be hardy plank.”
It was an application the town had considered in 2009.
Board member Anastasia Harrison said architectural styles have changed since the officials initially heard the application.
“This is from nine years ago, and that’s a long time in architecture and planning,” said Harrison, who is herself and architect. “Right now, it’s a wonderful use that we need, and I think it will really benefit the community if it’s reflective of the architecture of the times.”
Mayor Shelley Brindle said she was pleased see the proposal for a commercial building. Commercial development drives foot traffic in the downtown, Brindle said. However, she suggested that the building be more favorable to pedestrian traffic.
“What has changed in the last eight years, and what will be changing, especially along this corridor, is that we are very focused on safe streets going through this part of town,” Brindle said.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
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