The Wicked Witch of Wytchwood vs The Timid Munchkins

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I’m sure that Westfield, New Jersey is not all that unique.

I’m sure that many towns suffer from over development and greed, but Westfield has lately refined it to an art form.

There is a case going on now that truly amazes me at just how much a person is willing to alienate themselves from their community in the name of making a buck.

On the one hand, we have a woman and her family determined to cash in on the development of their property and on the other hand, we have a coalition of people vehemently opposed to anything that will change their quaint environs.

Does this sound familiar?

The amount of turmoil that a subdivision and construction of a house can cause, is truly amazing.

It seems to me that the best solution would have been to give the woman the money she wants, buy the parcel off of her, put a conservation easement on it and then sell it.

The people in that neighborhood can certainly afford it and in the name of getting what they want, it would have been a bargain.

Alas…

Like lemmings going for a swim, the opponents try legal maneuver after legal maneuver to prevent her from doing what she wants…

Which is making a few hundred grand.

So, the lawyers get rich, the woman is happily the bane of everyone’s existence and the neighbors get a brand new McMansion, or two, and live unhappily ever after.

Let’s hope that no homes are falling from the sky!

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One Response to “The Wicked Witch of Wytchwood vs The Timid Munchkins”

  1. Amy Jester Says:

    Ahhhhhh, the controversy.

    Having been at the helm of the opposition group for the last 16 months, I am astonished at the length a town will go to approve an illegal subdivision and permit the destruction of a gateway to a neighborhood, all to protect themselves from a potential lawsuit by the applicant, should they deny the application. This is not a case of a bunch of whiney rich folks fighting something they just don’t like.

    Without hopping on a soapbox, here are a few highlights: the town would not consider purchasing & preserving as open space; owner would not entertain suggestion of sale to anyone else as she and her brothers are developing the property and will make far more by doing so; back room meetings and ordinance changes preceeded the formal application that resulted in facilitation of approval; the planning board chair is a developer whose decisions/opinons are colored by same; the chairman acted improperly, without integrity and compromised the ethical and moral standards that civil servants are held to (shocking!); the ball-less planning board approved the subdivision despite ordinances that make it illegal.

    It has cost the opposition $12K to argue at the local level and will cost another $20K to appeal at the county level. Obtaining transcripts of the Planning Board hearings in order to appeal cost approximately $400 per hearing; that’s approximately $2500 in transcript costs alone. All this, plus hundreds of of time wasted, for “the munchkins” to force The Town to do what they should have done initially… deny the application because it is illegal.

    Those cute little munchkins are a fierce and loyal bunch. Watch for future developments and remember, when all else fails, I have flying monkeys too. They have pretty outfits but don’t let that fool you.

    I’m tuning up my broom, firing up the caldron and hastily gathering snails & eye of newt as the Munchkins & I prepare to “drop a house”.

    Cheers,
    The Good Wych.

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