South Amherst property proprietor to handle wetlands violations

Revealed: 10/1/2021 9:43:48 AM

AMHERST — With unanimous approval from the Conservation Fee, a sequence of wetlands violations at a South Amherst property will quickly be mounted.

Commissioners at their Sept. 22 assembly unanimously approved the corrective actions for a Pondview Drive property owned by Kim Harwood, the place violations of each the Massachusetts Wetlands Act and the city’s wetlands bylaw have been found final spring.

The vote approves a willpower of applicability filed by David Haines, of Haines Hydrogeologic Consulting of Belchertown, in response to an enforcement order issued by the fee and Wetlands Administrator Erin Jacque.

The violations, in response to city officers, included landscaping completed to create trails, which infringed on bordering vegetated wetlands, removing of invasive species and pruning bushes, and placing hardscape on the banks of a perennial stream.

“What we’re proposing to do is take away the fill from these wetland areas,” Haines mentioned.

In a single part of path, Haines mentioned, 150 sq. toes of fill would get replaced with a lavatory bridge that includes wood planks. In one other space of the path, gravel on the banks could be eliminated and changed with high soil made up of compost. The work additionally calls for brand spanking new plantings.

An current plank bridge throughout the stream might be eliminated, whereas a second strolling bridge might be maintained as a result of it was beforehand permitted, Haines mentioned. A stone bench and different paths will stay.

The choice brings to an in depth Harwood’s response to the unique cease-and-desist order that led him to create a web-based petition “demanding that the Conservation Fee drop this ridiculous case and get on with the vital work of defending wetlands which can be truly at risk.”

However even with the petition, Harwood risked a monetary penalty of $25,000, and doable jail time, with out compliance.

Jacque instructed the fee that she is happy the work might be completed. “The proposal, principally as submitted, meets what I requested to be supplied to the fee,” Jacque mentioned.

Fee Chairwoman Jenn Honest expressed gratitude for the decision.

“We really feel like it is a far more protected perennial stream in consequence of those restoration actions,” Honest mentioned.

Haines mentioned Harwood needed to make the enhancements, noting he’s a caretaker of his property, as evidenced by wildlife that he noticed whereas there, together with blue herons and raccoons.

Scott Merzbach might be reached at

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