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Steel fence to surround former Westwood Country Club

A 9,000-square-foot fence will be erected around the former Westwood Country Club in Amherst – site of a proposed large-scale development – to secure the property in preparation for remediation work, developers said.

Previous environmental tests discovered traces of arsenic in some soil samples, likely from the use of pesticides in the past.

“The site is a brownfield and was designated as such upon the discovery of arsenic in excess of what is deemed safe by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,” said Andrew J. Shaevel, managing partner of Mensch Capital Partners, LLC, owners of the property.

“Over the course of the past several months, a number of trespassers have been seen on the site and were asked to leave the property,” Shaevel said. “We are concerned about the safety of our neighbors, and the security and liability of the property relating to the site’s recent brownfield designation.”

Amherst residents are closely watching for any new developments at the site.

The four-member investor group purchased the 170-acre property for $2.5 million in 2012 and unveiled plans for a $238 million mixed-use residential, commercial and retail community with housing options for 1,700 people.

It’s unclear, however, if the large-scale project will get the go-ahead. Plans are still in the early stages of a lengthy environmental review process by the Town of Amherst, before eventually going to the Town Board for a decision.

Meanwhile, it will take several weeks to install the permanent, galvanized-steel fence, Shaevel said. The fence will stand 5 feet tall and be located about 10 to 15 feet inside the Westwood property line, along North Forest Road, Sheridan Drive, Frankhauser Road, Fairways Boulevard, Maple Road and portions of the Audubon Par 3 Golf Course.

“There will be heavy equipment and substantial activity on the site during this process,” Shaevel said. “The fence will help to protect the safety of neighborhood residents, children and family pets. Appropriate signage will be placed on the fence, so that everyone is aware that access to the site is strictly limited to work personnel only.”