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The Board of Health set the public hearing for Oct. 25.

Adams Board of Health Sets Tobacco 21 Hearing

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health set the public hearing on raising the age to buy tobacco products to 21 for Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.
 
Wednesday afternoon board member Bruce Shepley updated the Board of Health on some lingering questions they had on the new regulations and the board agreed it was time to move toward adoption.
 
"We have our arguments for and against that we have had for multiple months," Shepley said. "In the interim more towns have adopted similar regulations so I am thinking it is not a high emotion issue."
 
Over the last year when the board decided to start the process of adopting "Tobacco 21," they also decided to update all of their tobacco regulations with new standards and language.
 
Shepley said the board has no say in the punishment of store employees who violate the regulations and it is a state issue.
 
The board, however, does have a say if a new store plans to sell tobacco within 500 feet of a school. Shepley said they would have to go through and application process with the Board of Health.
 
"We are such a small town with so few retailers and only a few fall within that range," he said. "In the reapplication process, we can let them have the license but we have that to say." 
 
The board agreed that if there is little to no public input during the public hearing they could vote on it that night 
 
In other business, Shepley told the board that the town still plans to knock down two buildings on Summer Street and they should be down before snowfall.
 
"It is not a dropped issue but Community Development just doesn’t have a specific timeline yet," he said. "It is an ongoing process."
 
The two buildings, near the intersection of Winter Street, failed to be sold at public auction so the town allocated money to raze them.
 
Board of Health member Allen Mendel suggested that the board inform the town again that they must be kept in the loop when a building is going to be knocked down. The board must make sure there are no hazardous material or rodents in the building. 
 
Shepley also asked that the board table the review of all fees until he can gather more information.
 
"Our last review here was in 2014. I did get info from Tristate, Williamstown and I called Cheshire," he said. "I am waiting to hear from North Adams and Pittsfield...Our numbers may be close and we just might have to make some tiny tweaks."
 
All town departments were asked to review their fees before the end of the year.
 
The board agreed to retain special housing attorney Brain Shea instead of solely relying on town council.
 
"We have had very good success with him, and he is responsive," Shepley said. "It is his area of expertise and he submitted a bill last month for $200 for I think the entire year."  
 
Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Romaniak agreed and said Shea has been a huge help and housing court and has good relationships with the court.

Tags: board of health,   public hearing,   tobacco regulations,   

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