Board of Health examines tobacco offenses | New


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

Council heard from Deputy City Manager Steve Sadwick, who discussed the proposed retail marijuana bylaw and local well regulations.

The proposed retail marijuana rule was brought to the attention of the board of health if it had any questions or concerns, according to Sadwick’s comments. The proposed bylaw would authorize the retail sale of marijuana in specific areas of the community and provide licensing power similar to liquor licensing.

According to Sadwick, locally the city may restrict the number of licenses. Council members asked various questions regarding examples of location, use and permits.

On the subject of pit regulations, Sadwick discussed the superfund site known as the Sutton Brook Disposal Area, also known as Rocco’s Dump. The city has been named as one of the responsible parties for the site remediation plan.

According to Sadwick, the city took over the maintenance component of the site, which includes monitoring the groundwater wells. The city is implementing institutional controls to prevent any well drilling in the area of ​​an identified plume at the site.

Additionally, Sadwick discussed homeowners who may be in the potentially affected area who do not currently have a well, but who may be selling their property to a new owner who may want to drill a well and be unaware of history or conditions. Currently, the Board of Health is not involved in any type of notification or inspection when a well is drilled. The council agreed that they would come back and discuss the matter and collaborate more with the city.

Next, Ron Beauregard, the city’s Healthy Communities Tobacco Control Officer, discussed with council the need for tobacco regulations to be updated to include state regulations. The state has stricter regulations than Tewksbury’s, and the council must bring current regulations up to that standard. According to the council, none of the changes would require a public hearing; rather, they are administrative in nature.

The council heard from tobacco retailers in Tewksbury who had been cited for breaching smoke-free regulations. The settlement requires a company to appear before the council to explain what happened and to discuss a prevention plan for the future.

1899 Smoke Shop of 1899 Main St. was not showing up as requested. The company received a letter from the board and the board debated further action, including extending penalties for failure to appear.

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 a minor which occurred on July 13, 2022. Sutherland explained that the store was busy and that a young employee did not verify the age of the customer before running the tobacco sale.

After discussion, the council asked the owner to submit an improved plan for training and age verification of customers who buy tobacco, including signage and point of sale improvements that could eventually be implemented.

Then 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 21. Fisher said an employee’s daughter was helping because of the employee’s back pain.

The council said it was unable to waive the state-regulated fine despite the mitigating circumstances, but would investigate whether the fine should be paid in one go or if it could be staggered.

Beauregard opened the discussion on tobacco regulations, noting areas of Tewksbury’s regulations that need to be updated to match state regulations. The updates deal with flavored tobacco products, the elimination of vaping products and fines, for example.

It was agreed that Beauregard would create a summary sheet for the Board of Directors for the next meeting.

The owners of Lisa’s Pizza appeared before council to speak about the unsanitary conditions seen in the restaurant and the work being done following a fire in the plaza at 2312 Main Street.

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

Reports of pests were referenced, as was the observation of “grease dripping from ventilation openings at the back of the building”.

The board has requested more detailed reports on the progress of updates and the company’s management plan, such as pest control and cleanup. Additionally, the council said landlords need to be part of the process and are increasingly being included in the discussion about preparing for occupancy.

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

Oliveira Farm is still being fined $100 a day for failing to comply with Board of Health orders, and the town attorney will be asked to send a letter to the farm’s attorneys.

The next council meeting is scheduled for September 15, 2022 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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