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7 Takeaways from the Sept. 12 Select Board Meeting

With sale of Deli King, town to gain a new Asian restaurant; Columbus addresses underage alcohol

The Select Board met last night with all members present.

Attorney John Gallant and Steven Lin, owner of the Dracut-based Yujo sushi and Asian cuisine restaurant, applied for a common victualler license and transfer of liquor license from Deli King. 

Lin and his co-owner, Chow Yeng Ng, paid $650,000 for the 230-seat, 3,928-square-foot restaurant and an additional $100,000 for Deli King’s business assets. The Dracut Yujo location has a full liquor license and has been in business for 10 years with no violations. Gallant said there will be significant renovations, including the back bar area, with the cafeteria line being removed. Sushi will not be available at least until remodels are complete. There is no timeline for opening.

The liquor license transfer was approved, with Chair Todd Johnson voting no based on missing items. The common victualler license will be considered at a later date, once Lin provides more information on the layout of the new restaurant.

The board then held show cause hearings on two liquor license violations, at Wamesit Entertainment Center and the Shell Food Mart at 365 Main St. The violations stemmed from a recent Tewksbury Police Department underage alcohol compliance operation. TPD regularly runs compliance checks after notifying establishments that sell or serve alcohol.

“The Tewksbury Police Department is asking that each of you partner with us and work together to prevent any tragedies that may occur due to underage drinking,” wrote Chief Ryan Columbus in one such letter. The CDC estimates that there are more than 3,900 alcohol-related deaths for underage individuals each year.

Just this week, a Dedham couple was sentenced after a 17-year-old died at a party at their home where alcohol was served.

Columbus said he held a Zoom session to which all establishments were invited. Both Shell and Wamesit Lanes did attend. Both were first offenses.

“There are no tricks when we do this,” said Columbus. “There are no gotcha moments.”

Owner Donny MacLaren appeared for Wamesit and stipulated to the facts of the underage service. Columbus said Wamesit did pass a followup check.

“I take 100% responsibility for any actions taken on my property, within the building and my entire staff,” said MacLaren, adding that he has a zero-tolerance policy, and the employee who served the minor was terminated immediately.

As is long-standing precedent in Tewksbury, the license was suspended for three days, with one day to be served on Tuesday, Oct. 10 and two days held in abeyance in case of another violation. That passed on a 4-1 vote. Member Mark Kratman voted no and previously made a motion to issue a warning, which failed.

Kristina Sidiropoulos appeared for the Shell Food Mart, which passed two follow-up checks. Sidiropoulos said the registers are set up such that a license must be scanned or an ID entered before the transaction can move forward. All customers will be carded, regardless of age. The company will also pay a private firm to do more frequent checks. Its liquor license was also suspended for three days, with one day to be served on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and two days held in abeyance in case of another violation. That was a unanimous vote.

“We take the sale and service of alcohol very seriously,” said Chair Todd Johnson. “A warning really isn’t sufficient. There needs to be a penalty.”

The board formally laid out Terramor Drive and Frasier Lane as public ways. On Monday night, the Planning Board recommended that Town Meeting accept both streets, despite some remaining matters to work out with the town engineer. These acceptance requests will appear as citizen petitions on the Special Town Meeting warrant and be voted on by residents on Oct. 3.

Jim Hanley of Civil Design Consultants appeared for Frasier Lane.

“Are all the sewer and water infrastructure acceptable to the town?” asked member Jayne Wellman. Assistant Town Manager Steve Sadwick said a lengthy punch list is down to one item. The Frasier Lane layout was accepted unanimously.

Hanley also appeared with developer Matt Ginsburg for Terramor Drive. The town holds a $220,000 bond to ensure stormwater issues driven by unprecedented precipitation are resolved before a certificate of compliance is issued. 

“The subdivision is a little bit unique in that the drainage is going to be owned by a homeowner’s association, and the homeowner’s association is also going to own the open space for the subdivision,” said Sadwick. “The town accepts the road, yet the stormwater from the road becomes the responsibility of the homeowners.”

Wellman asked if the HOA carries insurance against any property damage that might occur in the future. Ginsburg replied that he would need to check the documents. Hanley said that no abutters on Marston St. are affected by the excess water generated by recent storms. The Terramor Drive layout was approved unanimously.

Now, both roads must be accepted by Town Meeting on Oct. 3 before Tewksbury assumes responsibility for maintenance. Johnson recommended that Hanley and Ginsburg work with the DPW to resolve remaining issues so that vote goes smoothly.

“With those contingencies hanging out, there is a risk,” said Johnson. “The townspeople will need to decide.” 

The passing of Arthur Costa left an open seat on the Council on Aging. Residents Deborah Albano, Jeffrey Dufour and Paul Galinis applied for that position. Johnson asked whether the board wished to have the applicants in for interviews. 

Member Mark Kratman motioned to act on the opening immediately and nominated Dufour, who is chair of the Tewksbury Republican Town Committee. That motion was approved unanimously. 

Rosalyn Impink, a recent graduate of Syracuse University, was also appointed to the Mass. Cultural Council.

Paul Micalizzi and Edward J. Walker were reappointed as constables. Tewksbury constables serve warrants as well as documents for lawyers. 

The board accepted with gratitude the donation of $225 to the Tewksbury Senior Center in memory of Marjorie Moulaison.

In his report, Montuori commended the DPW staff for the significant amount of work they’ve done in the past weeks.

“We have a very dedicated group of employees in all our departments,” said Montuori. He pointed out that there has been unprecedented rainfall and a number of trees and power lines down. 

After time spent dealing with the results of storms, on the long holiday weekend, staff noticed an anomaly.

“Starting on Saturday at Labor Day, the water treatment plant was pumping an extraordinary amount of water, more than they would normally pump even on a very hot day,” he said. They knew there was a break and worked to find the problem, shut off the flow and then figure out ways to get water to Catamount Rd. and the Lodge at Ames Pond. 

“The DPW just did an extraordinary job,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough, and I hope that the residents can appreciate the work that they put in.”

Montuori also thanked the town of Billerica for sending a pump and assistance from their DPW, Market Basket for donating water and the town’s first responders for helping keep residents safe.

In committee reports, Kratman thanked residents, town staff and the Sheriff’s office for facilitating the Sept. 11 ceremony despite heavy rain.

Member James Mackey, Johnson and Wellman echoed Montuori’s comments, with Wellman thanking his office staff for fielding many phone calls from residents. She also asked Montuori to send a letter of thanks to Billerica and offered to hold a recognition ceremony for the DPW.

“I’m gonna get the response that I got when I was thanking them personally,” said Montuori regarding a formal recognition. “Which is, ‘We don’t want thanks, we want to get water to the residents.”

Finally, Wellman filled the board in on the unpermitted contractor’s yard operating at the end of South St. She commended Sadwick for working to get information to the Andover ZBA in a timely manner. 

“It’s a really frustrating process for our residents, who’ve lost five acres of trees,” she said. “They are storing asbestos on the site, they are not following the conditions that have been laid out.”

She will attend the Oct. 5 Andover ZBA meeting and asked Montuori to confer with Andover’s building inspector to discuss enforcement of orders of conditions.

The next meeting of the Select Board is Sept. 19, when the warrant articles for Special Town Meeting will be addressed.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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