The Westfield Town Council voted on May 24, 2022 on a resolution approving a redevelopment agreement with Ferris Prospect Development LLC concerning the redevelopment of block 2504, lots 12, 13 and 14, also known as the Sophia.
Councilwoman Emily Root delivered the following comments prior to voting no on the resolution.
As you know, I was recently appointed to the Town Council and I was not involved in the process that led up to this vote tonight. I like to think I bring a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective to this process.
I had lots of homework to do over these past few weeks.
I have thoroughly reviewed:
- the Prospect Ferris redevelopment plan
- the area in need of rehabilitation study
- the Master Plan Consistency Review that was presented to the Planning Board
- the redeveloper’s agreement
- the recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission to designate 112 Ferris Place.
I have reviewed the petition and the advertisement that was in last week’s Westfield Leader.
With pleasure, I have listened to many residents who have called and emailed me and who I have run into while being out and about in town.
I want to thank everyone for reaching out to me and expressing your views.
An important part of my job and my priority is to listen to your concerns.
I am also intimately familiar with the corner of Prospect and Ferris.
When I first moved to Westfield in 2000, I rented the second floor of the house next door to the project, at 217 Prospect Street.
I was happy to see a redevelopment proposed for the area because the structures on those properties have been long neglected by the owner.
I know how much work on the part of my colleagues went into the proposal that we’re seeing as part of the redevelopment agreement tonight.
I know this proposal started out much differently that what we’re are voting on tonight and I appreciate that there was some give on the part of the developer.
However, when I look at the proposal as it is now, I still can’t support it. I want to see even more compromise given this property’s location in what I view as a transitional area – between downtown and the residential neighborhood on the westerly side of Prospect Street.
I have no doubt that a project of this size and scale would be smart for a corner in downtown Westfield, but just not this corner.
I believe this project should be scaled down so that it would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
For that reason, I have to vote no.
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