WESTFIELD — The Westfield mayor and council passed three new ordinances — one pertaining to solar- panel installations, another that will relax certain fencing requirements for backyard pools and a third that will impose new stormwater-management regulations throughout the community — during a brief regular meeting held Wednesday.
The first ordinance (2033-32) will make it easier for residents to install rooftop solar panels on their homes by eliminating a previous Solar Production Ratio requirement (defined as the amount of energy that a solar array is expected to produce in a year divided by the total wattage of the installation) that Town Administrator Jim Gildea called “overly burdensome.”
The ordinance was deemed consistent with the town’s Master Plan at a recent meeting of the local planning board.
A second ordinance that will allow residents to install picket-style fences around their private swimming pools was also passed on Wednesday with the council’s unanimous consent.
The ordinance (2023-31), indicates that the board of adjustment has received 11 variance requests since 2020 from homeowners seeking to enclose their pools with “open-style fencing” rather than the “stockade, board on board, or other solid fence type” that the Westfield Land Use Ordinance previously required.
Wednesday evening’s final ordinance (2023-33) will impose new stormwater-mitigation requirements, including, according to language found in the document, “significant changes to incorporate nonstructural management strategies, protect communities from increases in stormwater volume and peak flows as a result of new development, maintain groundwater recharge, and protect waterways from pollution carried in stormwater runoff.”
Among the new floodwater regulations are provisions pertaining to mandatory permitting for soil work, property grading, sump-pump discharge and roof drainage.
“More changes to the land-use ordinance of this nature are being reviewed by the Code Review and Town Property Committee, but this is a good next step to continue to address our stormwater infrastructure,” Mayor Shelley Brindle said.
Mayor Brindle also on Wednesday extended her congratulations to the winners of this year’s town council races — Republicans Todd Saunders, MichaelArmento, Michal Domogala and David Kiefer — but added that she was “disappointed” with the outcome of last week’s public referendum vote on the Edison Fields turfinstallation project.
“I am grateful for all of the input we received on both sides of this issue over the past two years,” Mayor Brindle said. “I am especially disappointed for our student athletes and, more specifically, for the negative impact that it will have on our ability to provide greater equity for girls’ sports, which will not receive the additional field capacity that was intended. Thanks again to all who took the time to engage on something we all feel passionately about — providing better field options for our student athletes, marching band, and town leagues.”
The next meeting of the Westfield governing body will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28, in the council chambers at Town Hall.