Amherst exploring option of eminent domain to acquire Westwood Country Club

Posted at 7:18 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 21:53:42-04

The Town of Amherst has voted to pass a resolution to hire outside attorneys to look into the possibility of acquiring Westwood Country Club through eminent domain.

Westwood Country Club, at the corner of Sheridan Drive and North Forest Road, is the site of a $250 million development plan put forward by Mensch Capital Partners. The group closed the country club in 2014 after testing showed high levels of metal contaminants in the soil. It is now a brownfield.

The resolution will allow Town Supervisor Dr. Barry Weinstein to retain attorneys with Hancock Estabrook, LLP for "matters related to Westwood" which include eminent domain, condemnation and land redevelopment.

"Quite honestly we're astonished," Andrew Shaevel, managing partner for Mensch said. "In our opinion is a sign of bad faith and gamesmanship on the part of the supervisor. We're not really getting a fair shake inside the town to give this its due consideration."

According to Shaevel, this is the first mention of condemnation or eminent domain from the Town in the three years Mensch has been proposing and adjusting its plans. He says his group has "weekly talks" with town officials regarding the project.

Weinstein said the town would be hiring the attorneys to "elaborate and explain the town's legal options" related to Westwood. He said the town is approaching the proposal with an open mind.