Smithland Garden and Pet Supply fence approved

WESTFIELD – The Conservation Commission granted a request for determination for a fence in the rear of 81 Springfield Road brought by Nabil Hannoush and Henry Orszulak, clearing the way for a Smithland Garden and Pet Supply to open in March of 2021 at the former site of Kelly’s Home and Garden and Westfield Home & Garden.

At the continued hearing, Orszulak spoke on behalf of the tenants saying there is an existing fence on both sides of the property, one of which drops into the Little River. He said Smithland has proposed replacing a portion of that fencing and putting one up at the edge of their parking area, 25 feet further away from the river bank, to protect their plants from wildlife while allowing for a wildlife corridor.

Orszulak said the existing guardrail on the river bank would remain. He said they would remove the fencing and leave the posts and concrete in the ground, but cut the posts at ground level and fill them in.

Commission Chair David A. Doe said the existing fence is impinging the top of the bank, and removing it would increase the wildlife corridor. “I think this would be an improvement by removing existing fences and putting up a new one much closer to their property,” he said.

The permit was granted with a request for a pre- and post-construction meeting, removal of the old chain link fence with posts cut to ground and filled, and the planting of five native shrubs in the disturbed area.

Orszulak said that Smithland wants to be a good neighbor, and has already repaved the parking lot in the front of the store.

A continued hearing for Aldi’s Market at 231 East Main St. was pushed to the Commission’s next meeting on Jan. 12. Conservation Coordinator Meredith Borenstein said that by then, Stantec, the engineering firm hired for a peer review of the building project, will be ready to make present their findings.

The Commission had sought a peer review because they did not feel comfortable determining whether the new building and associated improvements would negatively impact flooding on Mainline Drive, or whether it was in their jurisdiction to make such a determination.

Also continued until Jan. 12 was a notice of intent for a single family home at 34 First St., in the buffer zone and floodplain of Pequot Pond.

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