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Adams Board of Health Passes New Tobacco Regulations — Again

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health officially passed the new tobacco regulations, and the tobacco permits have been legally cleared go into effect Nov. 1.  
"Thank you all, thank you all," Chairman David Rhoads said Wednesday. 
The Board of Health voted on the regulation that tied the number of tobacco permits to population on Aug. 13. However, because of an improperly posted meeting agenda, the board voted earlier this month to hold the hearing again to ensure there were no questions about its legality..
The August public hearing was held virtually but also inadvertently posted as being at Town Hall. Although no one showed up to Town Hall, the board wanted to err on the side of caution. Members felt going forward could damage the validity of the new regulations.
The board did make some changes to the regulation and agreed to raise the permit cap from 11 to 12.
"Although I think we are trying to reduce, my opinion would be, with the passing of 40R, we want to encourage new businesses and more people coming to Adams," Rhoads said. "Increasing the cap does make sense."
Town meeting nearly two weeks ago passed the 40R zoning overlay that incentivizes developers to utilize existing structures to create market-value housing along with a certain percentage of affordable housing and commercial space.
The board still wanted to bring the permit number down to around 10 so in the first two years of the cap, if no one claims the additional permits, they will be eliminated at one per year. 
Rhoads did clear up some other aspects of the regulation and said permits can move with a business and if a business closes, its permit will be retired. The board's hope is to have one permit per thousand people in Adams. 
No one in opposition to the cap spoke at the hearing and the board only heard again from agencies advocating for the cap.
In other business, the board scheduled a meeting for Oct. 14 so it can weigh in on this year's Halloween plans before the town releases a statement.
"This is an event we should have a say in," Rhoads said. "I think it is important that the public health arm have input to make sure the safety of our children, parents, and residents are protected."
The code enforcement officer indicated that the town is currently working on a plan for trick or treat.
Town Counsel Edmund St. John III also met with the board and noted a complaint has been filed against it for judicial review for a decision made some months ago.
St. John said he could not delve into the details and said the next step is to file a response to the complaint.

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Limited Parking Causes Issues on Mount Greylock Summit

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — After a busy season with parking challenges, the Mount Greylock Advisory Council will explore alternative ways to get people to the summit.
Becky Barnes of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation told the council Thursday that this summer and fall were busy on the summit of Mount Greylock and they often had to close the road once the parking lot was at capacity.
"We really need to explore other ways to reach the summit for our visitors especially on these high visitation days," Barnes said. "There has to be some other way to get visitors to the summit ... we have to do some outside of the box thinking." 
Barnes said specifically on Columbus Day weekend the summit was so busy that staff could only let a car in once one left. She said cars were parking improperly and creating safety concerns.
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