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Adams Board of Health Mulls Dog Ban, Hears More on Tree Dispute

By Gregory FournieriBerkshires Correspondent
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ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health is mulling a ban on dogs at the town's athletic fields.

"Dogs are relieving themselves of their solid waste on the athletic fields and players and spectators are stepping in it," Code Enforcement Officer Mark Blaisdell told the board last week.

Dog excrement in public areas has been a complaint raised regularly with the board. Two years ago, it was a buildup along the Ashuwilliticook Rail Trail that came to light as the snow melted that had town officials urging residents to clean up after their pets. 

The board tabled the discussion of the matter for now. Board member Peter Hoyt asked for the animal control officer to be present at the next meeting for clarification on enforcement of the possible regulation in the future.

Board members also held off on making any decisions on a neighbor dispute over trees until town counsel could weigh in.

The issue dated to May when two neighbors at 5 and at 7 Summer St. — John Sherman and David and Diane Krol, respectively — brought their  quarrel to the board. The Krols are concerned with five trees on Sherman's property that hang into their property. They invited a certified arborist to inspect the trees, who recommended that all five trees be removed because they represented a moderate risk.

"We do have a loss of activity in our yard due to these trees," said David Krol. "We can't use it the way we want to. It certainly impacts the value of our house. We certainly don't want to live with this threat."

Krol also appealed to the board's humanity: "The risk is real. Humans are involved. We just want to live with peace of mind that we can use our property the way we want."

Sherman, who was visibly irritated during the previous meeting when this came up, said, "I live with 10 trees that belong to another person doing the exact same thing to my house and I live with no fear. I think this is false fear from a bunch of people who think they're tree whisperers." Moreover, Sherman had a tree removal expert examine the trees and recommended that they stay up.

Sherman argued that "those trees right now are filled with beautiful foliage," saying "it's one reason I bought the house, so I find [that] taking those trees out is a needless intrusion."

Chairman Dave Rhoads took pictures of the trees on the respective properties and presented them to the board Wednesday. A stone wall separates the properties, which can cause structural conflicts because the roots of the trees cannot grow into the wall.

Krol noted that there could be serious liability on the part of Sherman if a tree were to fall on their property and injured or killed a member of his family. Hoyt wondered if the Board of Health or the town of Adams could be held liable for damages if the board decided that Sherman could keep the trees and one or more of them fell onto the Krols' property.

Hoyt suggested that the board wait to make a decision until its next meeting (either July 7 or 14), at which he suggested town counsel be present to address that concern.

In other business, the board is back up to full strength with Joyce Brewer being appointed to the open seat on Wednesday, joining as the third member of the Board.

Also, Specialty Minerals asked the board to review and approve a project for a landfill at 260 Columbia St. Mark White of Environmental Partners gave a presentation explaining that there are several co-products to the limestone production carried on by Specialty Minerals that need to be treated as solid waste because of environmental and health regulations.

The current landfill facilities are approaching their capacity, necessitating this new project. After little discussion, other than to thank White for a thorough presentation, the board unanimously approved the project.

Tags: BOH,   poop,   trees,   

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Adams Altering Two Precincts to Reflect Changes in Population

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Selectmen last week voted to alter Precincts 2 and 3 to better match population. This won't change the number of town meeting members but it will change the voting precinct for one.
Town Clerk Haley Meczywor presented new Census data to the board Wednesday and said with a decrease of 299 residents over a 10-year period, the state has recommended that the town change the borders of the two precincts.
"In order to make our precincts as equal as possible, the state is recommended that we make a minor change from Precinct 3 to Precinct 2," she said.
The last Census was done in 2010. Then, the population count was 8,485. In 2020, the count was 8,166 — a 299 decrease. 
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