TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Board of Selectmen met on Sept. 28, 2021, for an in-person meeting at town hall. Member Todd Johnson was not in attendance. The pledge of allegiance was led by members of VFW Post 8164.
The board approved a one-day entertainment and liquor license application for Strongwater Farm’s annual harvest fundraiser on Oct. 3 to benefit programs which support children and adults with “cognitive, physical, and emotional challenges,” said executive director Maria Antonioni.
The board celebrated the 75th anniversary of Tewksbury’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8164, which was originally chartered in 1946. Post commander Vinnie Oliva shared that the post originally met at old town hall before moving to Shawsheen Street, and counts 193 members.
Oliva highlighted the post’s community service.
“Our vision is to ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country,” he said, adding that the post facilitates the Patriot Pen and Voice of Democracy writing competitions and participate in Memorial Day ceremonies and parades.
Oliva invited all Tewksbury Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gulf War veterans to consider joining the post. State commander Doug Wood was also in attendance to read a citation for the Diamond Jubilee Award.
“The things that this post does for this community is outstanding,” he said.
Board member and Army veteran James Mackey also read and presented a citation from the board.
In the resident comment section of the meeting, Planning Board chair Steve Johnson spoke in opposition to a citizen article on the special Town Meeting warrant to change the Planning Board term from five years to three years, citing his own research on towns across the state.
Proponent Paige Impink clarified that the information submitted to the board by Johnson was not part of the work undertaken by the group of residents who developed the article.
Proponent Chris Mullins added that residents have been researching the issue for over a year and have interviewed planning professionals and elected officials across the state to gain input and expertise on the proposed change.
The board asked Tewksbury Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee representative Jayne Wellman to ask the committee to discuss adding a second student appointee to its roster.
The board discussed an updated correspondence policy to streamline posting of information received by the board from residents on a given topic. The policy includes a provision for excluding items of sensitive information.
Board members expressed concerns over what should get included in the agenda and what should not.
“By putting [an email] in the packet, what we’re doing is informing the community what their neighbors are talking about, and it opens some sunlight onto conversations,” said Wellman.
The board tabled the issue and asked the town manager to work on updating the draft with the board’s comments.
The board reviewed special Town Meeting warrant articles, recommending adoption on articles 1 through 14 and deferring citizen articles 15 through 17 to Town Meeting floor.
The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2021. Residents may find the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33.