BOARD OF HEALTH
April 6, 2006
The regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Board of Health of the Township of Mahwah, held at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah, New Jersey, was called to order at 8:00 PM by President, Wendy DeSilva. The Opening Statement was read according to the Sunshine Law and was followed by Roll Call.
PRESENT: Mrs. DeSilva
ABSENT: Mr. Wasson
PROFESSIONALS: Mr. Mason, Attorney
Mr. Hopper, Health Officer
Mr. Ostrow, REHS
Mrs. Campbell, Secretary
PUBLIC: Mr. James Jaworski, Esq.
Representing Scott Baxter (Hawk Nest, LLC)
REQUEST FOR USE VARIANCE- 200 STABLED WAY
On behalf of his client, Mr. Jaworski presented the Board with a request to use a portion of the barn at 200 Stabled Way for human occupancy. Such use is prohibited by BH:11-3.2(b) which requires a 50 foot setback between a barn and a residence. Mr. Jaworski explained that the barn was specifically designed to house a full time trainer for the 17 Dutch Harness show horses stabled here.
Mr. Ostrow had inspected the barn and provided the Board with interior and exterior photographs of the 1st floor stable and the proposed living quarters on the second floor. He found both the stable and animals to be well manicured. The horse feed is kept in sealed containers, and the manure is [separately] containerized as well. A conversation with Dr. Colin Campbell at the State Health Department confirmed that it is common practice in Hunterdon County (referred to as New Jerseyâ€™s â€œHorse Countryâ€) for trainers to live in close proximity to the animal they are responsible for.
In Dr. Campbellâ€™s personal opinion, there is no threat to human health if the facility is properly designed and maintained. Mr. Ostrow also had a conversation with Mr. Baxter who asserted that barriers were constructed between the 1st and 2nd floors of the structure to prevent rodents from gaining access to the living quarters. Mr. Ostrow said that he did not witness the actual construction but his inspection revealed no evidence of rodents. Should a variance be granted, he recommends that Mr. Baxter be required to contract for and maintain a professional baiting program.
Mr. Ackerman inquired if any other barns in Mahwah were used for [human] housing. Mr. Ostrow replied that we were not aware of any. Mr. Ackerman further inquired, if the a use variance was granted and the facility was later sold (or Mr. Baxter lost his interest in horses) could the facility subsequently become a rental dwelling? Mr. Ostrow felt that this was a legal/zoning issue. Mr. Jaworski was confident that Mr. Baxter would be willing to sign an agreement that the property would not be rented. Mr. Harris appreciated this concession but noted (wryly) that if a variance was granted, â€œthe horse was already out of the stableâ€, i.e., the structure was built, the property is private, who would know [if the unit was being rented?] He was also concerned with setting a precedent.
Mrs. DeSilva commented that there was no testimony supporting a verifiable health risk, and the issues being raised were for other Boards to decide. Mr. Hopper asked if this use complied with the Townshipâ€™s Zoning ordinances. Mr. Ostrow stated that the Zoning Board (Ben Cascio) had referred the application to us for a recommendation; it did not come directly from the petitioner.
Mr. Jaworski confirmed that, even with an endorsement from the Board of Health, his client was still required to appear before the Zoning Board later this month. He then supplied additional information regarding the operation of the stable: 1)the manure is removed daily to a dumpster outside the building and carted away every ten days and, 2) fly traps are installed throughout the facility as flies pose as great a risk to horse health as they do to human health. Mr. Hopper inquired if the windows were screened. Mr. Jaworski did not have that information. Mr. Harris asked how the occupants would access the living quarters; Mr. Ostrow replied that there is an interior stairway leading from the stable floor to a door on the second floor. There is also an upper level exterior entry directly into the living quarters.
At 8:22pm Mr. Harris moved and, Mrs. Spiech seconded, that the Board move into Executive Session. Mr. Jaworski was excused and the members discussed the application before it.
At 8:51pm the meeting returned to Open Session. The majority of the members agree not to grant a variance on this issue but to have Mr. Mason correspond with Ben Cascio of the Zoning Board and detail our recommendations to him. Mr. Mason asked the Board if it would like to adopt a resolution in this regard. The members preferred to
handle the matter less formally. Mr. Mason will draft a letter and submit it to Mr. Hopper for approval.
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
Moved by LaMontagne and, seconded by Mr. Harris and, agreed by all present, the minutes of the meeting of February 2, 2006 were approved.
Mr. LaMontagne inquired if there had been any further activity regarding CHR Hansen? Mr. Ostrow replied that he has inspected the site several times, and the County Health Department has investigated as well. If CHR Hansen cannot get the odor issue under control, the County Health Department can be summoned to prepare a Statement of Complaint, (an action which incurs official involvement of the D.E.P.)
Mr. Ackerman requested an update on the patient records issue as regards Bergen Community Health Care. Mr. Mason responded that an
attorney is now representing BCHC in this matter. In exchange for relinquishing custody of all records, we have offered written indemnification against any claim arising from HIPAA, and have promised them full access. This offer was refused. BCHC has countered with an offer to mail release authorizations to all adult patients whose files show activity within the last ten years, as well as to all minor patients on file.
Mr. Harris asked if we should be considering litigation at this point. Mr. Mason explained that we could seek relief in Chancery Court, but wording in the old agreements regarding custody of the records could be problematic. Mr. Hopperâ€™s major concern has been the records of the current patients, and this is being resolved. He stated that we are we are receiving active files because our nurses are obtaining authorizations directly from the patients as they come to our clinics. If a prior patient needs an inactive record, we can refer them to Bergen Community Health Care.
Mrs. DeSilva directed Mr. Mason to respond to the offer affirmatively.
Inasmuch as Mr. Hopper has given assurance that BCHC does indeed have all the inactive files, and we are getting access to the active files, the Board is not inclined to incur the expense of litigation.
REPORT OF NO MINUTES FOR MARCH 2, 2006
The meeting scheduled for March 2, 2006 was cancelled due to a snow event. Notice of the cancellation was posted at the Municipal Building and on the Township Website.
APPROVAL OF FEBRUARY HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mr. Ackerman, that the Health Activities Report for February be approved.
Mr. Harris questioned the change of venue for the court appearance of Mr. Lofty. Mr. Ostrow explained that Judge Gianni maintains a private law practice and Mr. Lofty is a client. The case will be heard in Waldwick.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report for February was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF MARCH HEALTH ACTIVITIES REPORT
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey, that the Health Activities Report for March be approved.
Mrs. Spiech inquired if the TASE violation for which Quick-Mart had been issued a summons was a first offense? Mr. Hopper replied yes, and that Quick-Mart was the only establishment (of 13 visited during this yearâ€™s operation) that sold cigarettes to a minor.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Activities Report for March was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICERâ€™S REPORT FOR FEBRUARY
Moved by Mrs. Spiech and, seconded by Mrs. Tracey, that the Health Officerâ€™s Report for February be approved.
Mr. Harris had read an article condemning last yearâ€™s Top-Off exercise as a failure. Mr. Hopperâ€™s observation was that POD model (Point of Distribution) was counter to good Public Health practice which would generally isolate sick persons - not convene them. However, he felt the exercise itself was a useful learning tool and necessary for responsible planning. Mr. Harris inquired if Mr. Hopper had received an official report on the exercise. Mr. Hopper replied no, not as a participant in the proceedings, however the County Health Departments and/or local offices of Emergency Management that had coordinated the event were probably issued one.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Officerâ€™s Report for February was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF HEALTH OFFICERâ€™S REPORT FOR MARCH
Moved by Mr. Harris and, seconded by Mr. Ackerman, that the Health Officerâ€™s Report for March be approved.
Mr. Hopper reported that the Health Fair on March 29th was well attended, and thanked Mrs. Spiech for coordinating the volunteer effort. Mrs. Spiech shared some of the positive reactions she had received from many participants, and commended both the caliber of the doctors and the relevancy of the available screenings. Mrs. DeSilva inquired as to the logistics of the event, i.e. crowd control. Mrs. Spiech replied that since it was a beautiful day, the overflow crowd was able to migrate to the outside patio, and the halls of the Senior
Center were lined with chairs to accommodate those waiting for screenings. Mrs. DeSilva thanked all the volunteers (Mrs. Spiech, Mr. Wasson and Mr. Ackerman) for their efforts.
There being no further questions or discussion, the Health Officerâ€™s Report for March was unanimously approved.
Moved by Mr. LaMontagne and, seconded by Mr. Harris, and unanimously approved by all present to pay the bills for February and March.
REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEES
REPORT OF ATTORNEY
Mr. Mason has reviewed 2 contracts for West Bergen Mental Healthcare that are up for renewal and for which Resolutions are pending before this Board. A concern regarding authorization of documents has been satisfactorily resolved, and at the Boardâ€™s discretion, the documents are ready for signature.
2006 Local Health Evaluation Report (LHER)
As prepared by Mr. Hopper and submitted to the Department of Health and Senior Services on March 28, 2006. Mr. Hopper reminded the members that this report was required by the Public Health Practice Standards. Mr. Harris inquired if the report was a compilation of
both Mahwah and Paramus statistics? Mr. Hopper replied that it was.
Mr. Hopper explained that we are still in the process of completing our public health assessment of the population. The MAPP process (strategic planning) is now complete, and the CHIP (Community Health Improvement Plan) will be rolled out in the fall. He also provided further details regarding the attachments and charts included in the report.
Sanofi-Pasteur, re: Flu Vaccine
Letter of apology to Sanofiâ€™s customer base for the long hold times on Opening Order Day (January 31). Mr. Hopper was unable to get through for two days, by which time they were no longer accepting orders. Mr. Hopper has ordered our vaccine through FFF Enterprises (Chiron product) but will also enter the State lottery for a chance at the 125,000 doses that Sanofi is obligated to set aside for the State contract.
Registration of Local Boards of Health
As prepared annually by Mr. Hopper, and submitted online February 13, 2006 to the Department of Health and Senior Services.
West Bergen Mental Healthcare
Annual Service Report for 2005.
Resolution 06-04 -Approval of 2006 Voluntary Municipal Support
Program with West Bergen Mental Healthcare
Introduced by: Mr. Mrs. Spiech
Seconded by: Mr. Harris
Roll Call: 6 Ayes
Resolution 06-05 -Approval of 2006 Student Assistance Program
with West Bergen Mental Healthcare
Introduced by: Mrs. Tracey
Seconded by: Mr. LaMontagne
Roll Call: 6 Ayes
There being no further business or discussion, a motion to adjourn at 9:36pm was made by Mr. Harris, seconded by Mr. Ackerman and, approved by all present.
The next meeting is scheduled for May 4, 2006.
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