Vol. III No. 1 1/1/2022
Notes from the Select Board, Public Hearing December 16, Hybrid meeting
- Roxanne McCaffrey, Chair
- Chuck Cardillo
- Patrick White
Also present: Michael Canales, Town Administrator; Brian Cruey, Director, Naumkeag; Matt Larkin, President, Board of Directors, Berkshire Botanical Garden (BBG); Dana Audia, Special Events, BBG; Acting Exec. Dir. BBG, and numerous attendees in person and via Zoom — some estimated as many as 70 attended.
- Chair opened the Public Hearing. Although all other entertainment licenses were granted at the regular Select Board meeting earlier in December, Naumkeag and BBG were singled out for a Public Hearing apparently due to a number of citizen complaints
- The Chair changed the order and heard the BBG license application first.
- Larkin spoke on behalf of BBG as did Audia. They stressed that BBG has had weddings for many years — last year there were twelve.
- With respect to Music Mondays, they work with neighbors to address complaints. Audia said she was always available — offered her cell number — and would ask band to turn down volume if anyone complained.
- A neighbor present (could not see name) said his relationship with BBG was "always collegial — peaceful coexisting."
- Chair called for a motion to close the Public Hearing. Motion passed and Chair said, "the evidentiary portion" is now closed. Then the Chair said, "right now I am going to make one comment not as a Selectman but as an abutter… I am surprised no hard rock as [the music was] so loud."
- White reminded Chair that the Public Hearing was closed.
- McCaffrey continued as an abutter giving evidence that she knows it is "an issue here…disruptive to neighbors…due to amplification."
- Chair called for motion to condition any approval
- Cardillo suggested all weddings be indoors and outdoor events (such as Music Monday) not be amplified
- Patrick said in the "new normal" there could be more outdoor events but that "encroachment and expansion were reasonable concerns" therefore limit number of events and then leave design of events to the nonprofit.
- Chair prevented Audia from speaking as "Public Hearing closed…no more public comment"
- McCaffrey suggested "clear problem is amplification"
- White repeated he did not want to micro-manage
- McCaffrey iterated that "I have heard…the problem is overwhelmingly Music Mondays"
- Final motion: Entertainment license conditional on no amplified music outdoors
- Interim Executive Director asked, "will this be applied equally?" Chair responded, "I am going to stop you right there. There can be variations based on specifics of properties, and she added, although they are all in residential neighborhoods".
- Condition on license passed 2-1; White voted "no" explaining without amplification SB "has effectively eliminated Music Monday".
- Entertainment license passed 3-0.
- Chair said she sees it as one household only complaining about music. She asked Cruey if no amplification would harm music — he said yes
- Cruey said essentially all music is amplified, singers must be amplified, and outdoor summer music must be amplified.
- Chair asked how many events Naumkeag has per year Cruey said 10 as follows: 6 Thursday night music, 3 tea parties in Chinese garden, and the 1 Naumkeag party plus The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show and Winter lights.
- The complaints about traffic were mentioned but Chair explained Rte. 102 was a major road and traffic not unreasonable
- White asked that number of events be limited to "not overstress" community and again said no amplification shuts down an entire class of events
- The SB approved 15 events per year with amplified music (counting the 60+days/nights of Pumpkin Show and Winterlights as one each). Condition passed 2-1. White voted "no". Entertainment license passed 3-0.
Other matters postponed — Meeting adjourned
Editor's question: As a self-identified abutter, should McCaffrey have recused herself from deliberation and vote on BBG license?
Editor's comment: Both Naumkeag and BBG are on Rte. 102
Photo: Lionel Delevingne