NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 9, 2013

Ex-selectmen files complaint against town board

(Continued)

“We do site walks all the time,” Fusco noted, adding “I do know that Jay (Smith) was very upset with whatever was said to him on that site walk.”

According to a statement submitted by Atwood to the West Newbury Police Department, Smith entered the resident’s property around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 23 and immediately began taking pictures. Atwood said that when he informed Smith that he was trespassing and asked him to leave, the encounter turned nasty.

“Mr. Smith was belligerent in his attitude and tone. He stated that he had been checking a project up the street and noticed the work currently being done at my home. He said I was violating the wetlands perimeter,” Atwood wrote. But the homeowner insisted that there was never any wetland delineation on the subdivision plans for that area – a point he feels is validated by the fact that the Conservation Commission placed no restrictions on the subsequent construction of an additional room in his home in the 1990s. The new room fell within 40 feet of what Smith has identified as wetlands –- considerably less than the 100 feet perimeter beyond the wetlands that is by law required for construction, Atwood notes.

Atwood contends he had simply “cleared trees that had fallen and hit my home during Hurricane Sandy” and removed others that were poised to fall onto his house. But he says Smith insisted no work should be done on either side of the property without approval from the Conservation Commission – not even removal of trees that posed a danger to his home.

The statement noted an area of Woodcrest Drive -- a road adjacent to Hilltop Circle -- on which a municipal pipe is dumping water onto Atwood’s property and likely compromising the integrity of the trees. Atwood notes that the pipe flow is in violation of town bylaws and that in 2005 the town was given proper notice to move

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