Westfield Planning Board votes on potential for Roots special permit revocation

Roots was previously given a cease and desist notice from the city’s building department

The outdoor lighting is seen to be reflecting off another neighboring house at night. This picture was previously shown to the planning board. (Photo previously submitted by Heidi Leonard)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) —The city’s planning board voted on whether or not they will hold a hearing to address revoking Root’s Athletic Center’s special permit yesterday.

The board voted four to two against holding a special permit revocation hearing based on Root’s outdoor light usage during a special meeting at city hall yesterday. This decision came in spite of previous complaints to the board from neighbors about the lights at night, as well as two police reports that the city’s law department provided the planning board that referenced the light’s usage at night.

According to a law department representative at the meeting, Roots was previously given a cease and desist notice from the city’s building department about the use of outdoor lights. In addition, abutters to the Root Road property have provided the planning board with complaints and photographs in previous meetings about alleged light pollution that has occurred into their homes and on their properties.

William Carellas, one of two members who voted to hold the special permit revocation hearing said that it was important that the board be able to utilize this authority.

“I think it needs to be out there that we have the ability to do this, whether we do it at our next meeting or three months from now, the ability for us to be able to exercise our rights should be out there,” he said. “I would like for normal, level heads to prevail. I don’t want it to be construed that we are weak about taking it off the table.”

He added that the board should still leave opportunity for the business to be successful.

“We are only discussing violations that have occurred, not the light use in the future,” Philip McEwan, planning board commissioner, said. “We don’t have to take it off the table.”

In the end, the votes were counted and the revocation hearing was OKed. Final tallies are as follows: Carellas and Carl Vincent voted yes; McEwan, Robert Goyette, Raymond St. Hillaire and Bernard Puza voted no.

Copyright 2017 The Westfield News