ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health issued orders to the Adams Auto Mill to clean the property and secure a tarp on the roof that is littering the neighborhood.
A Grove Street resident came to the board Wednesday with a bag full of shredded blue tarp that she dug out of her yard. She said the tarps on the roof of the old mill are shredded by the wind and litter the entire neighborhood.
Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Romaniak said Steven Blanchard owns the property and although he was served orders in mid-April, he has yet to hear back from him.
"It is his property, and it is blowing all over the place. It is his responsibility and after the May 18 if nothing is done we can take him to court," he said. "I was hoping he would talk to us so we could explain what we need to be done but he hasn't reached out to us."
Board of Health member Bruce Shepley told the concerned resident that although things are in motion there is little the board can do at this point.
"Unfortunately, on your side of this issue it is painful and it equally painful to stand here and say the process is ongoing," he said. "But justice takes a very slow sometimes curving winding road and we are limited ... it is not a fair system but it does work."
Shepley told the resident to keep a log of any services she has to hire to clean her yard because the expenses could be part of a settlement.
The board agreed to invite Town Administrator Tony Mazzucco to next month's meeting to clear up the board's role in the plastic bag ban enforcement.
"How do the unanswered questions impact us, and if we are going to be enforcing this, we have to have a clear understanding of what we are enforcing," Chairman Peter Hoyt said.
The issue arose last month when Kelly Cross from Chee's Chinese Cuisine asked the board if the restaurant could use biodegradable bags. The board felt the regulation, which was passed last town meeting, did not define biodegradable or clarify if the ban affected restaurants.
Although charged with enforcement, the Board of Health had no part in writing the regulation and did not have an answer for Cross.
Shepley on Wednesday said it was OK to use the bag and at this point, all questions about the ban will be referred to Mazzucco.
Because the board was unclear if this was the proper process, they invited Mazzucco to a future meeting.
Shepley also brought forth a new draft regulation that would force all trash haulers operating in town to have identification on their vehicles.
He said haulers must have fixed signs, which don't have to be permanent, on two sides of the vehicle. The letters must be at least 3 inches tall and visible from 60 feet away.
The sign must contain the business name, phone number, and municipality in which the business is located.
First violations will come with a $50 charge, $100 for the second violation, $150 for the third violation and the revocation of hauler permit for the fourth violation.
If a hauler fails to pay penalties the hauler will be taken to court.
In other business, Romaniak went through current cases and new complaints and said a case on Hathaway Street has escalated. The Department of Public Works had permission through a court order to clean the property since last year, but every time workers attempted to clean it, it snowed.
Romaniak said he tried again a few weeks ago but could not get in.
"Last time we went up, I informed her the day before just to be as good as I could to her," he said. "They put up a fence and I couldn't get in ... let's put it his way, I am not a happy camper."
Romaniak said the case is going back to court and the board's attorney said there could be jail time attached to the violation.
Shepley said many of the cases are just property owners abusing the board and the court system.
"These are repeat offenders that abuse and take advantage of the Board of Health," he said. "We continue to give them a lot of leeway."
The board also welcomed new member David Brian Rhoads, who won a write-in campaign in the May 1 election.
"I would like to welcome David as our new Board of Health member," Shepley said. "He has a strong background and an even stronger interest so we are happy to have him."
Rhoads replaced longtime member Allen Mendel, who decided not to run for re-election.
The board also reorganized and member Peter Hoyt was appointed chairman and Rhoads, vice chairman.
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