A zoning change proposed Tuesday night at Westfield’s planning board meeting would ban nightclubs from opening up in the downtown area.
“Theres a lot of college kids in our city. There’s a lot of young adults in our city and there’s nothing wrong with nightclubs,” City Advancement Officer Jeffrey Daley said. “But on the strip in our downtown, we feel that it’s pretty important to keep that safe and pedestrian friendly.”
Daley worked with City Councilor Jim Brown to draft the motion. In it, pre-existing bars with nightclub type activities like The Mapleleaf would still be allowed to have late night entertainment. Andrew Porter is a disc jockey at The Mapleleaf and says the city is misdirecting their efforts.
“I feel like Westfield spent a lot of time trying to get the college kids back into downtown only to shut down their night life activites,” Porter said.
Daley says residents and business owners have asked the city to control who moves in, and that while Westfield State University students are a large downtown demographic, the city has to think of everyone.
“We want them to be safe and to provide a good education doens’t mean providing 3 or 4 nightclubs where they can go drink till 2 in the morning,” Daley said.
Still, Porter says having a nighclub is better than having no business at all.
“I think we’re down to a not in my backyard type of scenario,” Porter said. “We’re trying to cut off what they think are problems that could really be benefits to this community.”