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Westfield Board of Adjustment: Car Rental Agencys Request to Sell Cars Postponed Until April
by Anna Murray for The Westfield Leader, 97Mar12
The Westfield Board of Adjustment held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday evening, with an unusually light agenda, which was curtailed even further when four applicants made the decision to postpone their hearings until the April meeting.
After discussion with the board, the applicants chose either to make their plans more conforming to the Westfield Land Use Ordinance, or provide additional information to buttress their testimony. Regular business was transacted despite the fact that four members were not in attendance.
The application of Westfield Car Rental of South Avenue, West, to sell used automobiles at its facility, contrary to the towns Land Use Ordinance, will be on the agenda of the boards next meeting on Monday, April 14. Also postponed was the application of Westfield Food Service Corp., owners of the Westfield Diner on North Avenue, to erect a free-standing sign also contrary to the town ordinance. This would be an addition to an existing wall sign. Under the town ordinance a second sign is not permitted unless the zoning board grants a variance.
The first application heard by the board was that of Ronald and Gwen Brachman of Nancy Way who sought permission to build a kitchen addition and deck imposing a side yard violation of 13.42 feet against the town ordinance requirement of 15 feet. Owing to the fact that the total violation equaled one and a half feet and was a minor extension of an already non-conforming side yard, the board granted a variance.
Robert J. and Jennie Jordan of Maryland Street requested a variance to square off the rear of their house and construct a bed and bath on the main floor.
"We need this due to my wife's handicap," Mr. Jordan explained to the board. "It is getting more and more difficult for her to climb the stairs."
Again, under the side yard setback requirement, 8.18 feet against the required 10 feet, the board determined the change was a minor extension of an already non-conforming side yard and thus approved the variance.
Jon and Debbie Skolnick of Nancy Way sought to expand and erect a second-story addition to their garage. The side yard setback requested in this case was 12 feet, 6 inches, which was under the town requirement of 15 feet. The board approved the variance for the second floor.
The last appeal to the board was made by John Ciufo of Marlboro Street. Mr. Ciufo sought to build an addition which would incur a minimum side yard violation of 8.9 feet against the ordinance requirement of 10 feet, The plans presented to the board exceeded the minimum distance from principal to accessory structure.
In this case, the town ordinance required 10 feet while Mr. Ciufo proposed four feet. The latter violation is incurred when the new addition brings the house into closer proximity with the garage.
Zoning Official Jeremiah P. O'Neil was not in attendance, but Vice Chairman G. Graydon Curtis, who served as Acting Chairman for the meeting, relayed a discussion he had earlier with Mr. O'Neil regarding this article of the ordinance.
"The 10-foot separation was based on fire safety requirements rather than aesthetics," said Mr. Curtis. "According to Jerry, with the new stringent fire code requirements, gasoline containers and other potentially flammable items are more effectively stored or disposed."
Mr. Ciufo offered installing fire code sheet rock in his garage to conform with the law. The board granted the variance with the stipulation that Mr. Ciufo agree to any recommendation the town zoning official might make concerning the fire safety of the garage.
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