CLARK — The Clark Planning Board voted Thursday to accept the findings of a redevelopment feasibility study conducted in relation to two adjacent properties on Westfield Avenue.
According to testimony provided by Planner Paul Ricci, of RicciPlanning, LLC, the properties in question — 175 and 181 Westfield Avenue, designated as Lots 2 and 4, respectively — collectively meet the state requirements for classification as areas in need of redevelopment. The properties, located across the street from Cardsmart, are both owned by Supriya and Sumeet, LLC.
The 10,000-square-foot property at 175 Westfield Avenue, Mr. Ricci explained, currently is home to a long-since-vacated, single-family residence that has fallen into a “severe state of dilapidation.”
In its present state, Mr. Ricci continued, the structure qualifies both as an attractive nuisance (a legal term applied to buildings or objects that appeal to children and trespassers) and a potential “determent to the community.”
“The former residence on Lot 2 has been abandoned and allowed to fall into a state of disrepair…resulting in unsafe and unsanitary conditions,” Mr. Ricci said via his presentation Thursday, adding that the property also “has a significant amount of overgrown vegetation, portions of damaged sidewalks, an un-railed stairway” and other potential hazards and liabilities.
“In addition, the property’s driveway access to and from Westfield Avenue, an arterial roadway with high traffic volumes, is located directly after a curve in the road that restricts visibility and results in unsafe roadway conditions,” Mr. Ricci continued.
The second property, Lot 4, serves as the current location of a two-story office building, the active tenants of which include a dental practice and several other medical-care providers.
And while the office building is largely occupied and “fairly well-maintained,” Mr. Ricci said, New Jersey law dictates that a property can be designated as an area in need of redevelopment even when it does not meet the standard criteria for inclusion in certain circumstances.
In this case, Mr. Ricci said, the small lot size of the property at 175 Westfield Avenue, “greatly reduces its potential to be developed” within the allowable parameters of its current zoning.
“The main reason to include the office building [in the designated redevelopment area] is to allow for the consolidation of the lots,” Mr. Ricci said. “We recommend that it be included as it is needed for the effective redevelopment of the area and as a way to improve safety for that part of the community.”
The planning board voted to accept Mr. Ricci’s recommendations by unanimous decision.