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Residential, commercial special permits approved

Westfield City Planner

WESTFIELD – A new house on Allen Avenue, a change of use to offices for an insulation business on Airport Industrial Park Road, and a change of use to a retail showroom on North Road were among the special permits issued by the Planning Board on April 6.

Robert Levesque of R. Levesque Associates presented the plans for the house on on a divided lot at 23 Allen Ave. on behalf of property owners Willian C. Romani and William J. Romani. The special permit, which had been continued, was required to allow for a reduction in lot size requirements.

Levesque said he had gone back to the drawing board after the last hearing and a conversation with City Planner Jay Vinskey to make some adjustments, including a side setback to the property, which was being divided into two lots. The 18,000 square-foot two-story home being proposed will have a single car garage, front porch, side gabled roof and rear porch, patio or deck, and will have an access on Allen Avenue.

Several abutters had emailed their opposition to the proposal, citing congestion and safety and visibility concerns about exiting Allen Avenue at West School Street. Other concerns expressed were not under the purview of the Planning Board.

Resident John Burris, whose mother abuts the property at 19 Allen Ave., asked detailed questions about the setbacks, and requested a site visit, which Levesque said he would be happy to accommodate.

Levesque said the house meets the requirements of the infill ordinance. “It makes sense, you have sewer, water, gas, power — if you’re going to develop anywhere, infill where you can. It increases the tax base, and is not a huge demand on additional services. It’s not inconsistent with the neighborhood in terms of congestion,” he said, adding that the house will be compliant with the building code.

The Planning Board conditioned the permit to include no plantings above three feet on the corner at the intersection, to replace trees that come down, and razing the existing garage structure unless relief is granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

A special permit, also continued, to allow Kevin Barbieri to relocate the offices of his insulation business to 845 Airport Industrial Park Road passed with no objections.

Barbieri said his business works on job sites in several states, and the location would be office only plus storage of safety equipment for staging, primarily ladders. He said excess material from job sites would also be stored there temporarily, and used on new job sites.

“You wouldn’t be able to recognize it as an insulation company, just offices,” Barbieri said in his first appearance before the board.

This time, he asked whether he would have to apply for permission for a Conex box on site to store his bobcat for snow removal and other excess materials, which he is thinking of purchasing. He said the box is a solid sealed trailer without wheels, which he would pull into the rear of the parking lot.

Planning Board Chair William Carellas said he had no objections, and included in the conditions that the box not exceed 40 feet.

Appearing for the first time before the board was Timothy Drost, owner of Window World of Western Massachusetts in the Hampton Ponds Plaza, who is looking to purchase the property next door at 975 North Road for his offices and showroom space. He said he plans to improve the look of the property by removing overgrown brush in front, and knocking down an old fence. He will also be removing a gravel parking area in front of the building.

“We want to restore the front to more of a natural state,” Drost said. He said he will be working with the Westfield Conservation Commission on new plantings for the site. He also said there will be no trucks on the property. “We will improve the property dramatically,” he said, before the special permit was granted.

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