Proposed city ordinance could improve residents being notified of zoning changes

WESTFIELD—Residents whose homes are beside prospective parcel changes may finally be given notification before any changes happen.

At-large city councilor Dan Allie has proposed an ordinance change that would mandate notification to abutters of possible map or parcel changes and the ordinance will be in front of the planning board and city council next week. The proposal aims to help residents, city officials and businesses, as a way to address problems beforehand through residents’ knowledge.

“With this people have a chance to voice their opinion rather than finding out after the fact,” Allie said.

Dan Allie

As the ordinance is currently written, property owners whose property is within 300 feet from the border of a property directly affected by a map or parcel change will be notified within 10 days via mail of any public hearings related to the proposals.

Allie said that the origin of the ordinance came during a proposal to change a parcel of land on Southampton Road from a residential zoning to an industrial zoning. During the first meeting of the property, some residents came and voiced their concerns but many were not aware of the proposal. During the second meeting though, more showed up and voiced concerns, and also provided information that could have been utilized by developers to improve the project.

With the proposed ordinance, Allie believes a problem like this could be potentially avoided.

“If you are going to be doing something, it’s best to address any complaints as soon as possible, rather than down the road when you committed to something,” he said.

The ordinance is expected to be discussed by the Westfield Planning Board on Tuesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. It will then be in front of Westfield City Council on Thursday, May 4, during their regularly scheduled meeting, also starting at 7 p.m.

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