Town Crier

TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Select Board met for an in-person meeting at town hall. All members were present.

The board approved a change of manager application for Alexander Bueh­ler of Lincoln Liquors at 10 Main St. in Stadium Plaza.

Members of the Tewks­bury North Street and Trahan School Reuse Com­mittee, including Ken Duf­fett, Bridget Garabedian, and Select Board Chair Jay Kelly, discussed re­cent developments.

The committee is hoping to hold public input sessions and potentially hold a nonbinding vote to see how the community wants the two parcels to be used. No matter what happens to the parcels, the committee said, costs will be steep: demolition is quoted at $1.5 million for each building, and bringing the schools up to code is also expensive.

Board member James Mackey said he felt it is very important that the town does not sell the land. Member Jayne Wellman added that the committee should provide a virtual platform for people to offer input. She said the parcel redevelopment presents a “great opportunity” for an open space and recreation area in densely populated south Tewksbury, and add­ed that the committee can use the technical and fi­nancial capabilities of the Northern Middlesex Coun­cil of Governments.

Kelly said that the committee is expected to keep working on plans for a year and a half to two years.

In the resident comments section of the meeting, Matthew Perry of 314 Ames Hill Drive said that the Board of Health had not taken action to address mold issues in his apartment. Perry said he was displaced since April due to mold, and after several failed remediation attempts after going to the board, Perry saw no change and was still suffering from respiratory issues.

Kelly said he would work with the town manager to investigate the issue and try to find a path forward.

The board approved a special municipal employee application for snow plowing for Stephen Pow­ers. Powers works for the Tewksbury Police Depart­ment as a reserve police officer. Kelly said the town is in “desperate need” of plow contractors for the winter, and interested parties should submit applications to the town.

The board held a hearing to discuss tree re­moval on South Street. DPW Director Brian Gil­bert explained that Na­tional Grid requested several trees be removed in a bid to upgrade infrastructure to take power off the solar grid at the Sutton Brook Superfund site.

Some trees will be pruned back, but there are nine trees that may be removed under Chapter 87 of the Mas­sachusetts General Laws, the public safety tree law. National Grid will pay for the grinding and removal of debris, as well as a potential 1:1 tree re­placement.

The DPW held a public hearing on Oct. 21; if there is an objection in writing to the removal of the trees, the decision to remove the trees falls with the Select Board. Gilbert said that the trees are within the public way.

The written objections came from resident Al Man­cini, a “certified tree-hugger.” Mancini said that he understands that sick trees need to come down, but that too many healthy trees are coming down as well in town and someone needs to “speak for the trees,” quoting the Dr. Seuss book “The Lorax.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the tree removal.

Gilbert said he hopes that in the spring, the DPW can work on finding placements for 25 new na­tive trees funded by Na­tional Grid. Wellman ask­ed Gilbert to look at the DPW budget and investigate possibilities for im­plementing a street tree program to plant more trees in town.

The board reviewed do­nations to support the new comfort dog program at the Tewksbury Police De­partment and Tewksbury Public Schools. Included were the donation of a pup­py from Monadnock La­bradoodles, a puppy training course from Elisabeth Belcher, ongoing donation of dog training services from Tewksbury’s Auntie Dog trainers, two-year supply of dog food from WellPet, an unspecified do­nation amount from Salem Five, a $600 donation from Taught-A-Lot Childcare, and a $4,000 community grant award from Walmart.

The board voted to ac­cept the donations with gratitude.

The board voted to ap­point TMHS students Mai­san Nguyen and Lyndsey Pettengill to the Tewks­bury Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Com­mittee.

The board voted to ap­prove its 2022 meeting calendar.

The board discussed resident reported issues in­cluding water discolor­ation and lack of water.

Town Manager Richard Montuori explained that brown water is the result of accumulation of materials in water pipes; sometimes when hydrants are being flushed, sediments are stirred up.

The town publicizes when flushings happen through email and social media. Montuori added that when water main breaks occur, water service in certain areas needs to be shut down. Montuori said that Tewksbury’s water is safe to drink.

The water is slightly over the government limit of TTHMs (total trihalo­me­th­anes); the town sent out notices to the community. Montuori added that the town has put a lot of work into improvements at the water treatment plant, and anticipates testing next week will show lowered levels of TTHMs.

Montuori said the town is well below maximum ac­ceptable levels of PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substan­ces, which are long-lasting chemicals that break down very slowly); the treatment plant was up­graded several years ago, and regularly monitors the Merrimack River.

The town is working with state and congressional delegations for continued advocacy for the river. The town is putting $9 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds towards water distribution improvements.

Montuori updated the board on the new fire station, which will be substantially completed by the new year. Though there were delays due to national supply chain issues, the project is still on budget.

Montuori reminded the board that voters at Town Meeting authorized the town to borrow $2.5 million in financing, but to date the town has not had the need to borrow the money. The fire department is hoping to move into the new station in January, and hopes to use the old station as a school building maintenance fa­cility and offices for school department administrators to allow for the demolition of the Center School building.

In committee reports, member Todd Johnson asked the chair to request the town manager submit his yearly goals. He added the zoning bylaw subcommittee is looking to bring back an amended zoning bylaw to Town Meeting. Amendments will need the approval of the Plan­ning Board to go before the voters.

Johnson said that Plan­ning Board members were “open-minded” about new changes. Planning Board members asked the Select Board to make a recommendation on bringing the finished product back to Town Meeting.

Wellman reported that the town recently received funding to run a second ambulance. Wellman pitch­ed a pilot program for the state hospital to make a payment in lieu of taxes to fund emergency services, helping to take the burden off local resources.

The board wished everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

The next meeting is sche­duled for Nov. 30, 2021. Re­sidents may find the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Com­­­cast chan­nel 99 and Veri­zon channel 33.

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