Charlemont boards look to curb Stagecoach Auto Repair violations

  • Town officials say Stagecoach Auto Repair, located at 180 Heath Road (Route 8A) in Charlemont, is committing various health safety, environmental and permit violations. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 2/3/2023 7:25:25 PM

CHARLEMONT — The Board of Health, Planning Board and Conservation Commission are drafting letters for the Selectboard about various health safety, environmental and permit violations they say are occurring at Stagecoach Auto Repair on Route 8A.

According to Selectboard member William Harker, the boards will submit information pertaining to each of their areas of expertise relating to the property, after which the Selectboard will write one letter to town counsel seeking guidance on how to proceed.

“We are going to bring boards up to par and see where they are going to go from there by using an attorney,” Harker said.

The four boards came together last week to discuss the problems they say are occurring at 180 Route 8A, also known as Heath Road. Stagecoach Auto Repair owner Brian Dupree was not present at the meeting. They will now work separately to determine the different violations as they pertain to each board.

The boards are concerned about approximately 50 unregistered vehicles on Dupree’s property that are close to Mill Brook. Dupree explained in a phone interview that there are even more unregistered vehicles on the property, but the boards are less concerned because those vehicles are not near the river. Dupree received a cease-and-desist letter concerning the unregistered vehicles two years ago, and he said he has been working to remove them.

Dupree said he removed approximately 70 vehicles with help from a part-time worker over the summer, but the process is slow and difficult in the winter. He noted he can’t bring vehicles to the transfer station if they are covered in snow.

“There is a lot of time involved,” Dupree said. “You get something for scrap metal but it barely covers the expense of getting rid of them.”

Dupree has run a business for 35 years repairing and towing vehicles, and submitted an application for a Class III permit 10 years ago that would allow for unregistered vehicles on the lot. He was informed two years ago that the permit was not approved and he refused to apply again because he had already paid all the fees for the permit when it was rejected. Dupree took over the Class II permit for the automotive repair and towing business from his father when he died about 30 years ago.

Barbara Beall, a member of the Conservation Commission, said she did not want to speak about the specifics of the situation. Still, the commission’s job is to uphold the Wetlands Protection Act.

“I feel like there is a social contract for everyone who lives in these towns. What anyone does impacts their neighbors,” Beall said, adding that she is concerned about this property because the unregistered vehicles are polluting Mill Brook, which flows into the Deerfield River.

Upon meeting again on Thursday, Board of Health members said they were concerned about a hoarding problem on the property, which creates a potential for vermin and possible issues with well water contamination.

Dupree said he does not have the money to remove all the vehicles at once, and needed to hire a lawyer to deal with the town exacerbating his problem.

“I don’t get paid for the cars and I’m in trouble with the town, so now it’s a catch-22,” Dupree said. “I can’t just clean up what has been happening for 35 years.”

“He is in violation of all the boards,” Harker said, noting that the boards hope to move quickly and prepare for next steps in the coming weeks.

Bella Levavi can be reached at or 413-930-4579.


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