East Mountain Road property remains on Conservation agenda

Joe Rogers of GZA GeoEnvironmental goes over East Mt. Road restoration plan with Conservation Coordinator Meredith Borenstein and members of the Commission at a meeting in February. (AMY PORTER/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

WESTFIELD – At the Conservation Commission’s remote meeting on April 28, the ongoing enforcement of the restoration plans for property on 1223 East Mountain Road, owned by Mark and Chris Dupuis, was discussed.

Conservation coordinator Meredith Borenstein said she has been in contact with Mark Dupuis and GZA GeoEnvironmental, who is conducting the restoration.

Borenstein said the Dupuis had agreed with the commission about the need to make the chains visible which are being put up to prevent trespassing and crossing of Barry Brook on a popular ATV trail. She said she was informed the chains are bright yellow and orange, and will have signs on them. In addition, the Dupuis’ plan to put up gates 100 feet from the river before the chains, making it difficult to “fly through that area.”

“Seems like they anticipated our concerns,” said Conservation chairman David Doe.

Borenstein also reported that in an ongoing effort to access their land, the Dupuis’ are looking at easements from two other roads.

Clifford Laraway said he was concerned about the easement from a neighboring property on 1161 East Mountain Road. “My only concern is if they do that, they’re going to be putting down more than an acre of trees on their property to come in that way. It still cuts in before the crossing. They would definitely be taking off a lot more acreage of trees,” he said.

James Murphy asked whether they would be required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) or a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) to put that road in, which Doe said would be needed.

Borestein said GZA had done a site walk of that area regarding wetlands. “Nonetheless, I said we haven’t gotten to go over there. You still need to file an RDA; if there are no wetlands, we would just need to review that. And for the top of the hill, that would require an NOI, because it is so close to the resource area,” she said, adding that the abutter’s property is Natural Heritage, so they would need a permit from them as well as the Planning Board.

Laraway said the neighbor is fighting the right of way, and it will definitely go to court. “That’s going to be a big todo,” he said.

Also acknowledged at the meeting was a memo from Ward 6 Councilor William Onyski, noting that trees had been tagged on the property at the right of way.

The commission authorized Borenstein by a vote to write a formal letter to the Dupuis’ stating that no work is to be done on the property or access to the property without approval of the Conservation Commission, and that permission has to be obtained through an NOI or RDA.

Borenstein said she would schedule a site visit to the property at 1233 East Mountain Road the following week, to see the 400 trees that were scheduled to be planted for the restoration plan by May 1. Three other commission members said they would like to accompany her, including new member Robert Florek.

“The Conservation Commission is looking out for the neighbors, and making sure everything is done right on all the properties, which are a natural heritage habitat,” Onyski said following the meeting,

“Along with other City Departments, including the Police and Law Department, the city is protecting the natural resources that are a vital part of any community,” he added.

Earlier on April 28, the Westfield Police logs recorded an attempt by Officer Harry Sienkiewicz to serve Mark and Christopher Dupuis with a letter of trespass notice for 1161 East Mountain Road.

The log states that Christopher Dupuis was served at his residence, and Mark Dupuis at the site of the proposed hemp farm at 1233 East Mountain Road.

The log further states that Mark Dupuis said the Westfield Police are no longer welcome on the property unless they have a warrant, and further stated that “this is child games.”

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