Board of Health reviews tobacco violations | News

Board of Health reviews tobacco violations | News

TEWKSBURY — The Board of Health met on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. Members Melissa Braga and Charles Roux were not present.

The board heard from Assistant Town Manager Steve Sadwick who discussed the proposed re­tail marijuana bylaw and local well regulations.

The proposed retail ma­rijuana bylaw was being brought to the Board of Health’s attention should they have any questions or concerns, according to Sadwick’s comments. The proposed bylaw would allow retail marijuana in specific zones in the community, and provide licensing authority similar to the granting of liquor licenses.

According to Sadwick, locally, the town can re­strict the number of li­censes. Board members asked a variety of questions regarding examples of siting, use, and permitting.

On the topic of well regulations, Sadwick discussed the superfund site known as the Sutton Brook Disposal Area, also referred to as Roc­co’s Dump. The town was named as one of the responsible parties in the remediation plan for the site.

According to Sadwick, the town took on the maintenance component of the site which includes groundwater well monitoring. The town is putting institutional controls in place to prevent any well drilling in the area of a plume that has been identified from the site.

Further, Sadwick discussed owners who may be in the potentially af­fected zone who do not currently have a well, but may sell their property to a new owner who may want to drill a well and not be aware of the history or conditions. Currently, the Board of Health is not involved in any type of notification or inspection when a well is drilled. The board agreed it would go back and discuss the matter and collaborate further with the town.

Next, Ron Beauregard, the town’s Healthy Com­munities Tobacco Con­trol Officer, discussed with the board the need for an update to the to­bacco regulations to include state regulations. The state has some regulations that are stricter than Tewksbury’s, and the board needs to bring the current regulations up to that standard. Per the board, none of the changes would require a public hearing; rather, they are administrative in nature.

The board heard from tobacco retailers in Tewks­bury who had been cited for violations of the to­bacco control regulations. The regulations re­quire a business to ap­pear before the board to explain what happened and to discuss a plan for prevention in the future.

1899 Smoke Shop of 1899 Main St. did not appear as requested. The business received a letter from the board, and the board debated further action, including extension of penalties for not appearing.

Life’s Too Short, Inc. dba as Tewksbury Mobil at 1785 Andover St. was represented by Sheryl Suth­erland for a violation of selling tobacco to an un­derage person that occu­rred on July 13, 2022. Su­therland explained that the store was busy and a young employee did not check the age of the pa­tron before executing the sale of tobacco.

After discussion, the board asked the owner for a submission of an en­hanced plan for training and checking the age of patrons purchasing tobacco, including signage and point of sale enhancements that could possibly be implemented.

Next, Dawn Fisher of E Market, LLC, 1699 Shaw­sheen St. appeared and asked for leniency due to a “perfect storm” of events that led to the sale of tobacco to someone under the age of 21. Fisher said that an employee’s daughter was helping due to back pain the employee was suffering.

The board stated it is not able to waive the state regulated fine despite the extenuating circumstan­ces, but will investigate if the fine has to be paid all at once, or if it can be made in installments.

Beauregard commenced discussion of the tobacco regulations, noting areas of the Tewksbury regulations that need updating to match the state regulations. Updates address flavored tobacco products, vape product disposal, and fines, for example.

It was agreed that Beau­regard would create a summary sheet for the board for the next meeting.

The owners of Lisa’s Piz­za appeared before the board to address unsanitary conditions that were observed in the restaurant, and ongoing work as a result of a fire at the plaza at 2312 Main St.

Health Director Shannon Gillis discussed prior “critical violations” and noted that despite work that has been done to address issues, there are still areas of food prepping that are not up to code.

Pest reports were referenced, as were the observation of “grease dripping from vent openings in the back of the building.”

The board asked for more detailed reporting about the progress of updates and plan for management of the business such as pest control and cleaning. Additionally, the board stated that landlords need to be part of the process and are in­creasingly being included in the occupancy readiness discussion.

Gillis reported that Long Pond still has a high cy­anobacteria level and will remained closed. The state will retest in Sep­tember. Drought conditions are not helping the situation statewide.

Oliveira Farm is still under a $100 per day fine for noncompliance of Board of Health orders, and town counsel will be asked to send a letter to the law­yers for the farm.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2022 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

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