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Author Topic: Rochester orders Amazon Park kitchen to close  (Read 122 times)

Silent_Bob

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Rochester orders Amazon Park kitchen to close
« on: May 08, 2017, 11:35 AM NHFT »

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20170507/rochester-orders-amazon-park-kitchen-to-close

ROCHESTER — Less than two weeks after a Seacoast Sunday story on Amazon Park in early April, the city issued the park owners a cease and desist order to stop serving free meals to park residents because of a lack of a food service license.

John Weeden, who co-owns the Amazon Park campground with his wife, previously told Seacoast Sunday on a tour that he provides a free meal each week to his tenants in the commercial kitchen in the park’s recreation hall. That free meal has ended temporarily.

Seacoast Sunday filed a Right-to-Know request to the city of Rochester for information on enforcement action taken with the park since April 3. According to a document by Robert Veno, the city’s health inspector, he states on April 5 he watched a video posted on Seacoastonline.com of Weeden giving a tour of the park’s kitchen and the campground facility. “Mr. Weeden stated ‘he prepared free meals for his tenants on a weekly basis.’ Mr. Weeden also stated that he ‘was inspected yearly by the city and is in compliance with all permits with the city of Rochester New Hampshire,’” Veno noted.

According to the provided documents, Veno, along with the city’s compliance officer Joe Devine, the city’s Fire Marshal Tim Wilder and Deputy Fire Chief John Powers and toured the kitchen with Weeden April 10. “Mr. Weeden again stated he served and prepared food for his tenants, food, which includes burgers and pizza, Veno wrote. “Mr. Weeden stated he spent over $10,000 a year in food on his tenants.” When Veno asked if Weeden had a license from the city to prepare food, Weeden stated he did not, the inspector reports.

Veno also asked Weeden if he had any food safety training and he stated he did not, according to the documents. “I asked Mr. Weeden if he had any health inspections in the past,” he said. Weeden reportedly said he did not. “I also asked Mr. Weeden standard food safety questions. Some of which he answered correctly and some he did not,” Veno wrote.

Attorney Carl Potvin, who is representing the Weedens in a land-use dispute with the city over the use Amazon Park, said Weeden has stopped serving the free meal and will apply for a license. However, Weeden will have to wait until June as he must complete a ServSafe Food Safety course and test before he can apply for the license. The next course in the area is in June, he said.

“He has every intention of getting his license,” Potvin said, noting he believed Weeden wasn’t aware he needed a license to serve free food. Potvin said a previous health inspector had visited the kitchen a number of times years ago and did not raise any issues. “The city has been aware that he’s had that kitchen for literally decades,” Potvin said.

According to Rochester’s ordinances, a license is required to serve food whether it is free or not. The ordinance also requires health officers to inspect kitchens “at least annually.” Fire officials also mailed Weeden a list of 15 alleged code violations found on the April 10 inspection, noting emergency lights that failed, combustible material by the ovens in the kitchen and that locks on emergency doors need to be replaced so it can be opened from the inside without the need for a key.

Potvin said Weeden reviewed the list and plans to comply but first wants to meet with fire officials to make sure he understands what is expected. “John Weeden will make every reasonable effort to address any legitimate concerns that the city might have,” Potvin said.

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