WESTFIELD - Even though the matter of helicopter rides being offered in the Town of Westfield was settled when the applicant rescinded the request, the Board of Trustees still got an earful during the continuation of the public hearing.
The public hearing regarding a special use permit for an outdoor family recreation area on agriculturally zoned land across from Cross Roads Farm Market on Sherman-Westfield Road to allow helicopter rides was still open after the town's May meeting. However between then and the meeting on Wednesday, June 6, applicant Mei Lu decided not to pursue the helicopter rides or flea market idea and dropped her request for a SUP regarding those uses.
Town Supervisor Martha Bills explained the situation regarding the hearing and the applicant's decision, but Mike Ceci, a village resident who also owns property directly across from the site in question, had some questions to ask and issues to share with the board regarding the situation.
Out of the multiple uses requested on the SUP, Ceci wanted to know which had been approved. Bills responded only the Birdie Golf request had been accepted by the board. Ceci then wanted to know what the applicant would have to do if they had other uses they wanted to request. Bills responded they would have to reapply.
Ceci then complained he was upset the notice that went out to the public was not clear about what the applicant was trying to get approved - it did not mention the helicopter rides - and at the multiple uses in one SUP, which he believed was against the code. He compared what he and his wife went through when they applied for a SUP, saying the procedure he experienced was much more in depth than the one the hearing was about.
"It was a different standard," he said.
Ceci further complained the drawings submitted for Lu's SUP, "looked like a sixth grade person did the drawings," and added he was amazed the planning board would even consider, let alone approved it. He asked the board what it had to say in response, and Bills responded whatever is applied for has to be done to the same standard of any SUP application. She explained the difference between Ceci's SUP and this SUP was Ceci's was asking for a new building.
Ceci then asked if permits were obtained by Lu for the two temporary buildings currently on the property. After much back and forth between Ceci and Bills, Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Jim Pacanowski answered the question saying a permit had been obtained for the building by the road and that he was looking into the other structure. He invited Ceci to stop by his office with any questions on the permits.
In other business, the board approved Resolutions nos. 29 and 30, adopting Local Law 1-2012 which made several amendments to the zoning code including to permit accessory living quarters in the manufacturing district by SUP, to permit restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries in the residential-agricultural district by SUP and to revise setback requirements in the commercial district.
In yet another step towards improving the water system to the Barcelona area of Westfield, the board adopted Resolution no. 31 which approved the increase and improvement of facilities of the Barcelona Water Benefit Area Project in the North Town Water District and Resolution no. 32 which was a bond resolution authorizing the capital improvement project in the Barcelona Water Benefit District and the issuance of serial bonds not to exceed $1,085,000.
Board member David Brown asked what would happen regarding the bonds if the United States Department of Agriculture backed out of funding the project. Seachrist said it the resolution is not an obligation, just an authorization.
"This is a beg step and we've waited a long time to get to this point," Bills said. "Hopefully we'll be moving along right on schedule."
The pier was approved for use as the site for the Westfield Academy and Central School Alum Memorial Service on Sunday, July 8 at 11:30 a.m., as part of Ox Roast weekend.
Two public hearings were scheduled for the town's meeting on Wednesday, July 11. The first will start at 7:20 p.m., and will be about a tri-county residence. The second will start at 7:25 p.m., and will be about the proposed Mazza distillery/winery on West Main Road.