The owner of a Westfield-based commercial realty company was recently cited by IDEM for illegal wetlands destruction in Anderson, and his after-the-fact application for authorization and mitigation is currently under review by IDEM (IDEM project 2014-468-48-HAP-V).
Mr. Mark Wisely (of Wisely Commercial Realty in Westfield) told IDEM that he planned to farm his newly-acquired acreage on North Madison Avenue located about 3/4 of a mile north of Cross Street. He had purchased the property in a foreclosure sale. He told IDEM that he intended to farm the land. He also told IDEM that he was unaware of any regulations regarding wetlands protection vis-à-vis the property. Mr. Wisely had illegally (w/o the required IDEM authorization) removed the vegetation on a 6.2 acre tract of forested Class II wetlands (which aerial photography shows to have been forested since at least the 1930s) and 5 acres of Class I scrub-shrub wetlands.
The Wisely realty website indicates that Mr. Wisely specializes in mobile home parks and RV campgrounds. One wonders if Mr. Wisely isn’t actually planning on putting a residential development on the site. That would seem to be more in line with his business interest than farming.
One also wonders how a commercial real estate practitioner would be oblivious to wetland regulations. It seems highly implausible. Yet, the agency (and thus the public) unfortunately cannot disprove his implausible claim of ignorance.
Wisely’s website also prominently features a waving American flag along with the caption: “God bless the United States of America”. As one popular conservation writer has aptly quipped: “God bless America. Let’s save some of it.”
Westfield’s mayor Andy Cook and officials in other sprawling cities and towns in Boone and Hamilton counties have been lobbying for new water supply sources to buffer against future dry spells (and to ensure their continued growth and profligate water use). Ironically, in this case, we see a Westfield business owner who illegally destroyed (albeit allegedly unknowingly) major beneficial wetlands, which naturally buffer the dry spells, in Anderson where the new reservoir is proposed.
With such disregard for our natural fabric, and possibly also the law which was enacted to protect that fabric, it’s no wonder Indiana’s environmental ranking is at the bottom..