A residential and commercial development proposed for Westfield has met significant public opposition, leading city officials to recommend the developer change the project.
Last month, Pulte Homes and local real estate developer Mark Zukerman presented plans to the Westfield City Council to build 94 single-family homes and up to 90,000 square feet of commercial space at the northeast corner of 146th Street and Oak Ridge Road. The project has been dubbed The Landing at Village Farms.
Since the plans were presented, more than 700 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the city to deny the developer’s request to rezone the 58 undeveloped acres of land targeted for the project to a planned unit development allowing for high-density housing and commercial development. The land is zoned Single Family-2, which allows only for low density single-family housing.
The city also received more than 130 emails from residents opposed to the project ahead of a meeting on the matter this week.
At a public hearing on the rezoning Monday, more than 100 people packed Westfield City Hall. The public hearing was scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but by 7 p.m. a line had formed out the door to get a seat inside the already filled meeting room.
While the plan commission did not vote on the matter, plan commission members recommended Pulte and Zukerman work with neighbors to craft a project they’re more comfortable with. The majority of members said they would not recommend the city council approve the rezoning unless the proposal is changed. The plan commission makes zoning recommendations to the Westfield City Council, which makes final decisions on zoning issues.
As proposed, the commercial buildings, which would be built on about 17 acres, would house neighborhood-type uses, such as drug stores, coffee shops or a daycare. Larger businesses such as fast food restaurants and gas stations would be prohibited. Houses in the development are expected to sell for about $350,000 and would occupy most of the land.
The petition and emails give some insight into why neighbors are opposed to the project: High density housing would lead to increased traffic and a potential strain on public services; the commercial development would lead to increased noise, light pollution and traffic; and the development will add additional drainage to already-stressed lakes and retention ponds in adjacent areas, the petition and emails stated. Multiple emails also cited concerns about the development “changing the character” of the area and driving down property values in the neighboring Village Farms and Westfield Farms neighborhoods.
Pulte Homes representatives and Zukerman were not immediately available for comment but have told city officials they plan to work with neighbors to modify the project.