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Cigar Lounge Wants Better Communication With Adams Health Board

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. —The Original Seed Cigar Lounge owners want better communication from the Board of Health.
John Sheerin, who plans to open up a cigar lounge at the former Rascals on North Summer Street, met with the Board of Health last week to register his frustration.
"With all due respect to the board, I have already sunk thousands of dollars into this project," Sheerin said. "So to find out my business’ name is coming up at a meeting that I'm not present at is pretty disheartening and pretty unprofessional." 
Late last year, John and Tracy Sheerin, owners of Original Seed, asked the board for an extension of the permit process. A former code enforcement officer wrongly awarded the business a permit before the Sheerins had completed various state requirements, causing some confusion in the process.
The board extended the permit process 90 days into March, giving the Sheerins more time to wrap up the state permitting process.
Original Seed was on the Jan. 8 agenda as "Original Seed Cigar & Lounge application update."
Chairman Peter Hoyt told Sheerin there were some questions amongst members of the board but because Code Enforcement Officer Mark Blaisdell was not present at the meeting, they didn't get an update on the application process.
Board member David Rhoads had other questions in January and told Sheerin he was only concerned about potential questions the state may ask of Original Seed.
"The main issue was there's a lot of discussion about the makeup of cigar bars in [the Department of Public Health] and it is totally up in the air," he said. "So I brought that question up so we would be aware of the issue whether cigars can be smoked and as a retail outlet."
Sheerin said he did not see his business on the agenda but wished the board would contact him if they plan to discuss Original Seed.
"We thought we were all in the clear until we finalized the purchase of the building and that is going through sooner than later at this point," he said. "Before I buy a building, I am hearing that there is another monkey wrench in the works."
He said if the board sees a potential deal breaker and elects to discuss it at a public meeting, he needs to be kept in the loop.
"If I have to walk away from this with a couple of thousand spent I am not worried, my lawyer can take care of that," he said. "But if I am going to spend $200,000 this is going to be no bueno. That is the best way I can say it."
Sheerin did ask for the minutes from the January meeting and the board members said they would make sure he received them.
Rhoads did begin to bring up another concern he had but Hoyt cut him short and said they would discuss it later.
Selectman James Bush also had some issues from the January minutes and felt he was misrepresented. 
"It says that I bemoaned repercussions of cannabis coming in and I never said that," he said. "I never said such a thing. I for one was totally for cannabis coming into this community ... this is not accurate."
In January, the board discussed a proposed tobacco permit cap. Bush, who was against the cap because he thought it would hurt businesses, did make a comment about cannabis when responding to Rhoads who said the board's goal was to limit exposure of cigarettes to youth.
Bush made this comment about 20 minutes into the meeting: 
"We are bringing cannabis shops into town. To me, that is a step above cigarettes so you have minors floating around with that now," he said. "Just because you have a personal vendetta against cigarette smoking doesn't mean we have to stop it."
Bush also took issue that his verbiage was described as colorful.
"This whole thing makes me look like some sort of town idiot in here talking," Bush said. "I made a statement I didn't do anything colorfully ... I think it is malarkey."
Rhoads, who took the minutes in January, apologized and said he must have misunderstood Bush.
"I do apologize," he said. "I try my best."
The board voted to strike the sentence from the minutes.
In other business, Blaisdell explained a new fee structure he plans to bring forth to the selectmen and instead of only issuing 21D tickets he would like to start issuing 40U tickets.
He said when fines against a property go unpaid the town usually files with court. A 40U would allow the town to roll unpaid fines into a person's property taxes if they go unpaid for a determined amount of time.
"We don't always get good results with that," he said. "This would be a more affirmative way to recover fines."

Tags: board of health,   

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Adams Board of Health Address Open Meeting Law Complaint

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — Because of a possible Open Meeting Law violation, the Board of Health will repeat its tobacco permit cap public hearing. 
The board voted Wednesday to repeat the hearing after being informed that there was the potential of a complaint.
"I think the main purpose of a public hearing is to make sure we hear public comment before we make a decision," board member Laura Grandchamp said. "There is a potential that that didn't happen for everybody at that meeting." 
On Aug. 13, the Board of Health adopted the new tobacco permit cap that would tie the number of permits allowed in town to the town's population.
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