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Planning Board approves special permits and extension

Jay Vinskey, City Planner for Westfield. (WESTFIELD NEWS FILE PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – The Planning Board continued its work remotely on June 2, granting two special permits and one special permit extension.

Farzaan Mufeed, who runs a wholesale motor vehicle shop out of 66 S. Broad St, was seeking a special permit for retail sales.

Mufeed, who lives on Marjorie Street, said he has been operating the wholesale car dealership at the same location for one year. He said he has had opportunities to sell cars in Westfield, and was seeking permission via a retail license.

Mufeed also said the home improvement company next door to his shop went out of business, and he would like to expand if he gets the approval. He said the landlord has been waiting three months for his decision, but due to the shutdown, he couldn’t get before the board.

Mufeed said he can park 17 cars inside and another 20 outside. “If you can give me a 30 car license, that would be sufficient, but I can park more than that,” he said.

City Planner Jay Vinskey said the Planning Board was approving the zoning site use, and Mufeed would need to seek an additional license for car sales. “The council approved the wholesale license, so it’s a modification of the permit. Effectively, motor vehicle sales are occurring there. The use is not changing except for retail,” Vinskey said.

The Planning Board saw no issues with the site, and after discussing signage, which Vinskey said is covered by an ordinance, and hours, the special permit was approved.

Ed and Angie Stallmann were seeking a special permit for a 20 x 30 outbuilding for a commercial kitchen at their residence at 104 Springdale Road for their food truck business.

Ed Stallmann said they have owned the food truck business, which delivers breakfast and lunch to commercial enterprises in the city, for six years. He said he and his wife are the sole proprietors and employees, and they are not seeking to expand the business, but food must be prepared in a commercial kitchen and not on the truck. Currently, they rent a kitchen for food preparation.

Responding to questions from the board, Stallman said the food truck will not be open on the property, and they have no plans to open a restaurant. He said they currently serve 200 to 300 meals a day at factories and businesses in the city.

The Stallmann’s neighbor on Springdale Road, William Giles, sent an email that was read during the public input portion of the hearing stating he had no objections to the plan. “They are good neighbors,” Giles said. He did ask that the board put in a clause that they can’t put in a takeout restaurant.

The board approved the special permit with conditions that the permit is non-transferable upon sale of property; the Planning Board has the right to inspect the property; no signage; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday hours of operation; a side yard setback of 10 feet; no onsite service or sale of food or merchandise, no commercial dumpster, and a professional plot plan must be submitted to the Building Department.

The Planning Board also granted a two-year special permit extension for a car wash and additional retail to Todd Cellura of Sovereign Buildings, for the proposed business on 710 Southampton Road.

Cellura said he initially started the process for a contract purchaser who decided not to buy. He said he then planned to build it himself, but found it to be more costly than assumed, and was about to seek a bank loan when COVID-19 came up.

“Makes the bank pause, makes me pause because I’m concerned about the economy after the fact. I need an extension to see if I want to proceed. So I can see where I’m going to be, I guess. Vehicle traffic is down, banks are hesitant to process commercial loans, funding is difficult,” Cellura said.

Cellura said while the project would take eight months to a year to build, he was asking for a two-year extension. “I feel that when the dust settles, all these people who are unemployed. In all honesty, I don’t want to tell you that I’ll make a decision in six months. It is reasonable that I would pull a building permit in the two-year period,” he said.

Richard Salois said he had no issue with the request. “Worst case, we’d have the same building property, with the same building” Others on the board agreed.

“We all hope that a year from now this bounces back to normal,” Cellura said.

“I do think we need to be flexible,” said Jane Magarian.


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