Around Town

Projects on land subject to wetlands protection approved

WESTFIELD – Several residents received permission from the Conservation Commission on April 27 for projects on land subject to the Wetlands Protection Act.

Dan Allie’s organic garden on leased land within the riverfront area of Powdermill Brook was granted an agricultural exemption. There had been some question as to whether the portion of the land being farmed had been in continuous agricultural use, as the exemption goes away after five years of non-use. The Commission requested that the garden, composed of 25 foot beds farmed with hand tools, be no closer than 79 feet to the river.

Michael Barna at 360 Prospect St. Ext. received permission to remove a shed and two trees and install a garage within the 100-foot buffer zone to bordering vegetative wetlands. Conditions included installing erosion controls during construction, that any disturbed soil be loomed, seeded and vegetated, and leaving the stumps on two dead trees to be cut down. Installation of ten native plantings and a no mow zone 30 feet from the edge of the wetlands were also conditions on the permit.

Gene and Diane Turner of 1220 Russell Road received a variance to put in a pool, deck and fencing within the 100-foot buffer zone to an intermittent stream. Diane Turner said they had limited space between the stream and the road, and wanted to take down a shed, vegetate the disturbed area and put up a fence and arbor vitae as borders to the house, which was built in 1785.

Conditions from the committee required erosion controls during construction, the disturbed soil to be loomed, seeded and revegetated with five native shrubs, and a no-mow zone of 25 feet. A decaying sugar maple on the property was permitted to be removed, with the stump to remain in place.

An enforcement plan for Paul and Melissa Ancelli of 36 Janelle Drive to restore an area cleared of vegetation in the 100-foot buffer zone to bordering vegetated wetlands was also approved. The cleared area will be reseeded and the buffer zone restored, and trees that were cut will be replaced with seven native river birch, maple and flowering crabapple and pear.

Conservation Coordinator Meredith Borenstein said she was happy with the written restoration plan. She said the encroachment of the buffer zone occurred on neighbor John Beltrandi’s property, and the owners have put in a request for permission to install a chain link fence in the rear.

Commissioners said the restoration needed to be completed before approval of the fence and a month was reasonable to do the work, after which Borenstein could schedule a site visit for the fencing. Beltrandi agreed with the restoration plan, and asked that the Ancellis sign a hold harmless agreement while completing the work on his property.

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