Letter: Dupuis addresses land clearing

To the Editor,

It has come to my attention that the city and state would like us to cease all operations until further notice. This is the first time the city and state has indicated any type of alleged illegal or non compliant activity’s have occurred. To date it is still our belief that all activities are compliant or exempt with the city and state as “land used primarily in Agricultural, Educational or Religion.”
We have tried to be very transparent with our intents. Prior to Mark Steven Dupuis receiving an industrial hemp license, MDAR conducted an onsite inspection with Chris Dupuis on 7-16-19. Chris spoke with the inspector in regards to clearing and concerns. The only concern of the MDAR was “Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR)“ which no part of our land is under.
On 7/24/19 Rebecca Giguere Hemp Inspector (MDAR) emailed me stating that the license would be approved. At the end of the letter she states “Additionally, if your brother would like to start clearing/erecting a greenhouse, he should feel free to do s.o”
On 8/10/19 Mark Steven Dupuis, Chris Dupuis and affiliate Pro Grow LLC filed and received a business certificate with the city of Westfield. The application specifies the following business types: Agricultural, Horticulture and Floriculture. Business was To be conducted at the 3 parcels located at 0 East Mountain Road. (property was recently issued address 1233 East Mountain Road). The name of the new business was established as East Mountain Hemp Company.
On 9/4/19 I submitted a Zoning Determination to the Superintendent of building Carissa Lisee. The following week I called to inquire about the outcome of the determination. At this point I offered to submit site plans, but this was not required as our land is “primarily in Agricultural .”
Agricultural operations are a permitted zoning use in Westfield Rural Residential districts on parcels larger then 5 acres. Additionally, Section 4-140 of The Westfield Zoning Ordinance states ”This ordinance shall not prohibit the development of any land in any district for use for educational or for religious purposes , nor shall it prohibit its use as a municipal facility, nor shall it prohibit the use of land for the primary purpose of agriculture, horticulture, floriculture or viticulture.” At the end of our conversation Carissa said word for word  “keep clearing your hemp fields.”
On 7/2/19 the Westfield Conservation Commission issued a written warning notice to Mark and Chris Dupuis LLC after a neighbor complained about our land surveyor operating near Berry Brooke during the delineation. I Spoke with Karen Leigh from Westfield Conservation via phone in regards to the notice and our plan for AG use hemp Farm. She explained that surveying was exempt, but if we were to operated within 200ft of the Brook or 100ft of the flood plain it would require a permit.
At this time Berry Brooke and the Flood plain were already in the process of being delineated by a register surveyor as part of our survey and due diligence efforts. These protected areas are know as the 100ft FEMA Flood plain buffer zone and 200ft river/stream buffer zone.
Neighbors are confused and believe these protected areas  are “wetlands.” They have made many false complaints and allegations. They also continue to harass us and our contractors daily verbally and by illegally trespassing to take video and photos. To date our entire 65 acre property does not contain any known “wetlands.”
On  9/4/19 A land plan was submitted to Karen and Westfield Conservation via email showing the delineated area and where the proposed work would occur. This work is all well outside of the protected areas not requiring a permit from Westfield conservation. At this time I also submitted a copy of the Industrial Hemp License issued to Mark Steven Dupuis by MDAR.
As it is well know, my two older brothers and myself (Mark Steven Dupuis) attended Westfield Vocational Technical High school.  Part of our operational plan includes reaching out to the Westfield  Vocational High School, Westfield High School and other local institutes.  We will be forming Educational Programs that will include internships, early work release programs and additional programs covering Organic Farming, Farm Construction and Management, Hemp Processing,  Forestry, Conservation, Hunting and Firearms Safety, Wilderness Survival and possibly Computer Networking w/ Wireless and Radio Communications Tech.
In order to further help the community we plan on creating a Social Equity and Spiritual Center. Our focus would be on identifying people that have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs, specifically Marijuana related arrests. These select groups of individuals along with Military Veterans would be invited to participate in free on site hemp/cannabis industry training, job placement, and legal aid/assistance to start their own farms and businesses.
We greatly apologize for any troubles this misunderstanding has created. We hope to schedule a meeting immediately with state and local officials to review/inspect the project and address concerns. It is our goal to turn this land into a thriving family business that will employ local citizens, stimulate the economy and educate to preserve the city of Westfield and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
These notices were received over the weekend by me Via Email. I would like to respectfully note that on 10/11/19 the business principal office and registered agent were updated with the Secretary of State as part of our annual report. Please check with Secretary of State and update all future notices and correspondences accordingly.
In response to the City and States request all activity will be ceased on Monday 10/21/19. We ask that all future notices and communications regarding this matter be directed to Attorney Daniel Mckellick from Bacon Wilson, P.C.
Mark S. Dupuis
Co-Owner / Registered Agent
Mark and Chris Dupuis LLC
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