Westfield board OKs site plan for medical building

OBSERVER Photo by J.M. Lesinski Pictured is the Westfield Village Board at its special meeting Tuesday.

WESTFIELD — The site plan review for 216 East Main Street, submitted by Family Health Services Inc. for a new medical office building in the village, special meeting of the village board took place Tuesday evening at Eason Hall. The end result was the approval of the site plan by the board.

The day before, the Westfield Planning Board conducted their site plan review and special use permit public hearing, ultimately approving both and giving their recommendation of further approval to the board, as long as the following eight conditions be met:

1) Any signage will require a separate sign permit and a separate approval later.

2) Outdoor lighting that conforms to Village of Westfield B1-A Design Guidelines be incorporated into the design submitted.

3) Landscaping of the coniferous variety selected for installation be a minimum of 6 feet above grade at the time of planting and all other plantings on site meet the standards of the village of Westfield’s Professional Office District requirements.

4) A handicap parking concern (that will likely be solved by a variance).

5) The existing western curb cut be signed and utilized as an “entrance only” and the eastern curb cut be signed and utilized as an “exit only” to avoid traffic congestion at Westfield Central School.

6) Buffering described in the landscaping plan be installed between the development and an adjacent residential property: 20-25 feet back from the front lot line, to provide for visibility when exiting the neighboring property, and that a shrub or tree be selected to provide adequate buffer while also not encroaching on the neighboring property at maturity.

7) The building be shifted to the east by 5 feet to provide a larger buffer area between the residential property to the west of the property.

8) The colors of the building be adjusted for aesthetic purposes.

Of the conditions proposed by the planning board, the village board primarily discussed the handicap parking concern during the meeting. Amy Reinhardt of Family Health Services Inc. was also present to discuss the issue with the board.

“Being a medical office, they really need those spots up front,” Reinhardt said of the condition put forth by the planning board.

The handicap parking condition itself reads as follows in the planning board meeting minutes:

“Handicap Parking, and the four regular parking slots proposed for the front of the building, must be eliminated and moved to the area west of the building designated for parking. The 20-foot landscaped buffer, as required by 155-20.2(E)(4)(a) must be established from the lot line as a part of the setback requirement. If relief is sought from this condition through an area variance, a landscaping buffer with vegetation as originally shown is recommended by the Planning Board.”

Mayor Michael VandeVelde reiterated the planning board’s stance on seeking a relief when addressed with Reinhardt’s concerns. “The option for that would be to appeal to the zoning board to have that variance to put the spots there,” he stated.

“There are five points that you have to prove to the ZBA and one of them is hardship, and that’s the most difficult to prove,” Trustee Jill Santi added. “The 20 feet in front of the building is the new district. They don’t have 20 feet of planting in front of the area and you need 20 feet of buffering according to the district.”

In response to proving the hardship, Reinhardt replied, “It is a hardship…It’s really our liability if someone with a disability or injury falls and breaks their leg in the parking lot.”

The board assured Reinhardt that the option for variance was the best solution moving forward and lauded the success of the site plan in general as well. “It really is an A+ for everything,” Santi noted.

“Everybody’s excited,” said VandeVelde of the proposed medical office. “This is good for Westfield, good for the hospital, good for everyone.”

Following their discussion, the board motioned to approve the site plan at a vote of 4-0 with Trustee Alan Holbrook abstaining.

The next meeting of the Westfield Village Board will be Monday, October 21 at 7 p.m. in the North Room of Eason Hall.


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