Special permits bridge gap

WESTFIELD – The Zoning Board of Appeals approved a dimensional special permit to construct an aerial pedestrian bridge linking two buildings o  a business complex Wednesday night.
Frank and Kari DeMarinis currently own a majority of the businesses and buildings located on separate building lots at 209 and 217 Root Road. The couple petitioned the ZBA for relief of zoning which requires a minimum of a 15-foot side yard setback to construct the free standing bridge connecting two structures.
Frank DeMarinis said the pedestrian bridge will connect the Learning Center and Dance Center building with the Roots Gymnastics building.
“The bridge will help unify the whole concept,” DeMarinis said. “It will connect the second floor of the gym with the dance studio. This will be a free-standing structure, a separate structure.”
The eight-foot-wide, 94-foot -long bridge will span across the parking lot and eliminate foot traffic between buildings. DeMarinis said that the plan was reviewed by Fire Department officials to ensure sufficient height to allow the passage of emergency apparatus beneath the proposed span. The pedestrian bridge will have a clearance of 11 feet, eight inches.
“We had a concern about Fire Department access under the structure so we talked to two deputy fire chiefs. Modern fire trucks are design to be as low profile as possible,” DeMarinis said. There is over a foot of clearance.”
The ZBA members discussed the two special permit petitions and identified several issues.
“These are two separately owned properties which could create an issue in the future,” ZBA member Martin Newman said. “This is a unique issue.”
Newman said that “the safety of the kids” may override those concerns.
DeMarinis owns one of the buildings outright and has a 61 percent share of the business condominium building. Adjoining property under common ownership is often treated as one property
ZBA Chairman Michael Parent requested that the board attach conditions to the special permit and the dimensional permit.
The board limited the permits to the actual bridge and the permits are only valid if both properties utilize the structure. A condition of all special permits is that they expire in two years if not acted upon.
The board voted 3-0 to approve both the special and dimensional permits.

To Top