Man Accused of Amwell Road Arson to Appear in Court
Curtis Westover also has an application before the Planning Board next week.
Curtis Westover is scheduled to appear in two different courtrooms in the next two weeks.
The 69-year-old Zion Road resident is scheduled to be in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Julie Marino in Somerville on Friday morning for a status conference on his indictment for setting fire to an Amwell Road barn in March.
Then on Wednesday, Sept. 6, Westover is scheduled to be in the township’s municipal courtroom for a Planning Board hearing on his application to subdivide his property on Zion Road.
Westover, free on $50,000 bail, appeared in front of the Township Committee just days after his arrest in March meeting to ask the governing body for help in resolving a zoning problem on his Zion Road property that led him to file suit against the Hillsborough Zoning Board of Adjustment in November.
That lawsuit, dismissed in February, charged the board with acting arbitrarily in ruling that it had no jurisdiction in a proposed subdivision of his property, which houses his home and his business, B&W Nursery, because of a deed restriction attached to a previous subdivision approval.
According to the Planning Board application, Westover wants to subdivide his 8-acre property into two undersized lots in the MZ District. Westover is asking for variances for minimum lot area, minimum lot width, impervious coverage, minimum lot area and minimum front yard setback.
Westover was arrested March 24 and charged with second-degree aggravated arson in connection with a fire that broke out at the unoccupied structure at 697 Amwell Road on March 18 at about 7:30 a.m., according to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.
John Lazorchak, chief of the Neshanic Fire Co., owned the building and the adjacent JML Landscaping. Lazorchak had been trying to demolish the structure and build a 6,700-square-foot office building but was involved in a legal fight with the zoning board of adjustment over the plan.
Westover has applied for entry into the state’s pre-trial intervention program. If admitted into the program and if he successfully completes it, the charge will be dismissed against Westover.
Westover was indicted on a charge of second-degree aggravated arson by a Somerset County grand jury on June 7.
The Pretrial Intervention Program provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process. If the program is successfully completed, there is no record of conviction and the defendant avoids a criminal record.
Supervision under the program may average from one to three years. If a defendant successfully completes all the conditions of the program, then the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction. If a defendant does not successfully complete the conditions of the program, then the defendant is terminated from the program and the case is returned to the trial list.