Macomb Township trustees raise tobacco sale age 

By: Dean Vaglia | Macomb Chronicle | Published September 8, 2022

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Township Board of Trustees raised the minimum age for tobacco sales at the end of its Wednesday, Aug. 24, meeting.

Increased via an amendment to the Youth Tobacco Ordinance, the change to allowing tobacco sales to only those 21 years and older brings the township in line with changes made to Michigan’s Youth Tobacco Act signed into law in July. The ordinance amendment also includes language addressing alternative nicotine products such as vaping devices and electronic cigarettes.

The amendment passed 4-3 with Trustee Peter Lucido, Trustee Nancy Nevers and Treasurer Leon Drolet providing the “no” votes.

“If somebody is old enough to defend our country and if they’re old enough to vote for our leadership, I think they should be old enough to make their own decisions with regards to tobacco,” Drolet said. 

Lucido expressed curiosity in regard to which law — municipal or state — would be applied to those younger than 21 but older than 18 attempting to buy tobacco products if the ordinance was not amended. Tim Tomlinson, attorney for the township, said having disagreeing laws could cause confusion for Macomb County deputies, which are deputized in state law but focus on local ordinance violations. However, in response to a question by Clerk Kristi Pozzi, Tomlinson said deputies could not cite violations against a store that sold tobacco to someone younger than 21 and at least 18 if the ordinance remained in place.

“(Deputies could enforce the violation) under state law and write a ticket under state law, but again any results of that … would be handled through the state process,” Tomlinson said.

Sewer action
The board unanimously awarded two contracts for sewer upkeep. The first was to award a sewer cleaning and closed-circuit TV investigation contract to Rogue Industrial Services for $325,325. Rogue’s bid was lower than prior contractor Pipetek Infrastructure Services, which submitted a bid for $387,310.

The second contract award was for $14,900 to NTH Consultants Ltd. for construction support services for the 23 Mile Road sewer replacement project. NTH provided geotechnical investigation and evaluation services in the project’s design phase and will help support the creation of open-cut trenches for the project.

Zoning change
The board unanimously approved a zoning change for parcel 08-21-100-016 — located south of 23 Mile Road and about a quarter-mile east of Romeo Plank Road — from agricultural to one-family urban residential. Applicant Glen Arbor Building LLC plans to build 46 homes over the parcel’s nearly 20 acres.

CDBG funds use
The board unanimously approved using Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, funds to build sidewalk ramps around the township, awarding JSS-Macomb over $199,500 to do so. Fourteen intersections will have ramps, curbs and gutters replaced with current ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Gas station fire safety change
The board unanimously approved an amendment to ordinance Chapter 6, Article IV - Self Service Gas Stations, Section 6-75 allowing gas stations to remove their fixed pipe dry chemical fire suppression systems. The issue was brought before the board by Fire Chief Robert Phillips. According to township officials, the township’s current fire code no longer requires these systems, but the code of ordinances required that specific style of fire suppression system.

“We have had several gas station owners contact us inquiring about removal, and we have been informed that the systems are antiquated and parts are no longer available to keep the systems operational,” Phillips said.

Phillips said current pumps are equipped with automatic shut-off technology that makes the dry chemical systems unnecessary and that the old systems have caused damage to vehicles as a result of wear-related accidental discharges. Gas pumps will be inspected to ensure that the required safety devices are installed.