Select Board Approves Tree Removal | New

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TEWKSBURY – The Tewksbury Select Board of Directors met in person at Town Hall. All the members were present.

The board approved a request for a change of director for Alexander Buehler of Lincoln Liquors at 10 Main Street in Stadium Plaza.

Tewksbury North Street and Trahan School Reuse Committee members including Ken Duffett, Bridget Garabedian and Board Chairman Jay Kelly discussed recent developments.

The committee hopes to hold public consultation sessions and possibly hold a non-binding vote to see how the community wants the two plots to be used. No matter what happens to the plots, the committee said, the costs will be high: Demolition is estimated at $ 1.5 million for each building, and upgrading schools is also expensive.

James Mackey, a board member, said he felt it was very important that the city did not sell the land. Member Jayne Wellman added that the committee should provide a virtual platform for people to contribute. She said the redevelopment of the plot presents a “great opportunity” for an open space and recreation area in the densely populated south of Tewksbury, and added that the committee can use the technical and financial capacities of the Council of Governments of the North Middlesex.

Kelly said the committee should continue working on plans for a year and a half to two years.

In the residents’ comments section of the meeting, Matthew Perry of 314 Ames Hill Drive said the Board of Health had taken no action to address the mold issues in his apartment. Perry said he had been moved since April due to mold and that after several unsuccessful remedial attempts after consulting with the board, Perry saw no change and still suffered from respiratory issues.

Kelly said he would work with the CEO to investigate the issue and try to find a way forward.

Council approved a special municipal employee request for snow removal for Stephen Powers. Powers works for the Tewksbury Police Department as a reserve police officer. Kelly said the city was “in desperate need” of snow removal contractors for the winter and interested parties should submit applications to the city.

The council held a hearing to discuss the tree removal on South Street. DPW director Brian Gilbert explained that National Grid had requested the felling of several trees in an attempt to upgrade infrastructure to shut off electricity from the solar grid at the Sutton Brook Superfund site.

Some trees will be pruned, but nine trees may be felled under Chapter 87 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Public Safety Tree Act. National Grid will take care of the grinding and debris removal, as well as a possible 1: 1 shaft replacement.

The DPW held a public hearing on October 21; if there is a written objection to the removal of the trees, the decision to remove the trees rests with the selection committee. Gilbert said the trees are on the public road.

The written objections came from a resident of Al Mancini, a “certified tree flayer”. Mancini said he understands that diseased trees must fall, but too many healthy trees also fall in town and that someone must “speak up for the trees”, citing Dr Seuss’ book “The Lorax”.

The board of directors voted unanimously to approve the felling of the tree.

Gilbert said he hopes that in the spring the DPW can work to find placements for 25 new native trees funded by National Grid. Wellman asked Gilbert to review the DPW budget and explore options for implementing a street tree program to plant more trees in town.

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

The board of directors voted to accept the donations with gratitude.

The Board of Directors voted to appoint TMHS students Maisan Nguyen and Lyndsey Pettengill to Tewksbury’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

The board has voted to approve its 2022 meeting schedule.

The council discussed issues reported by residents, including water discoloration and lack of water.

City manager Richard Montuori explained that brown water is the result of material build-up in water pipes; sometimes, when rinsing standpipes, the sediment is stirred up.

The city is spreading the word about hot flashes through email and social media. Montuori added that when water pipe breaks occur, the water service in some areas must be shut down. Montuori said Tewksbury’s water is safe to drink.

The water is slightly above the government limit for TTHM (total trihalomethanes); the city has sent notices to the community. Montuori added that the city has been working hard to improve the water treatment plant and expects tests next week to show lower TTHM levels.

Montuori said the city is well below the maximum acceptable levels of PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are durable chemicals that break down very slowly); the processing plant was modernized several years ago and regularly monitors the Merrimack River.

The city is working with state and congressional delegations to continue to defend the river. The city is spending $ 9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to improve water delivery.

Montuori updated the board of directors on the new fire station, which will be largely completed by the new year. Although there have been delays due to national supply chain issues, the project is still on budget.

Montuori reminded the council that voters at the city assembly authorized the city to borrow $ 2.5 million in funding, but to date the city has not needed to borrow the money. The fire department hopes 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 central school building.

In committee reports, Member Todd Johnson asked the chairman to ask the city manager to submit his annual goals. He added that the zoning by-law subcommittee is seeking to bring an amended zoning by-law back to the city assembly. The changes must be approved by the Planning Council to be presented to the electors.

Johnson said members of the Planning Council were “open” to the new changes. The members of the planning council asked the board of directors to make a recommendation on the return of the finished product to the municipal assembly.

Wellman reported that the city recently received funding to operate a second ambulance. Wellman has launched a pilot program to have the public hospital pay in lieu of taxes to fund emergency services, helping to ease the burden on local resources.

The Board of Directors wished everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

The next meeting is scheduled for November 30, 2021. Residents can find the meeting agenda on the city’s website. The meeting can be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33.

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