Shhhh! Smolak Entertainment License on Hold for Noise Discussions

Neighbors say the business's events have become a nuisance.

Whim at Smolak Farms.
Whim at Smolak Farms.
When you think of Smolak Farms, you may think of their cider donuts, their petting zoo, fresh produce or holiday whimsy. But some residents nearby think "noise."

At Monday night's Board of Selectmen meeting, selectmen voted to delay Smolak Farms' entertainment license renewal to address noise complaints from neighbors.

There was to be a vote to renew all licenses in town for 2014. But then attorney Tim Schiavoni of Haverhill stood at the podium to request that renewal Smolak Farms' entertainment license be held off.

Schiavoni represents several residents near Smolak Farms who say the entertainment at Smolak's is just too loud.

"These individuals are concerned that the growth of the entertainment there is infringing on their property rights and their expectant peace and quality of their residences," Schiavoni told the board.

Smolak Farms has expanded at an impressive rate in recent years, in large part because of its stepped-up events schedule. Their summer Whim dinner series has become very popular, as have the other nighttime events held there.

Schiavoni emphasized that his clients are not trying to stop Smolak Farms from having an entertainment license. Instead, they are asking that discussions be held about possible entertainment hours restrictions and relocation of entertainment on the property.

Selectmen will discuss the issue again during their next meeting on Jan 6. Smolak Farms' entertainment license runs from May to December, so the delay is not expected to hinder their operations in the meantime.

"The business has significantly expanded in the time since the license was granted," Selectman Tracy Watson said.

But selectmen picked Jan. 6 to have the matter settled as quickly as possible, because Smolak Farms may already be booking its entertainment for the spring.
Cool Fusion December 17, 2013 at 09:27 AM
Wash that cover girl pancake makeup off Smolak Farm and you will find a commercial business operating tax free into perpetuity due to a deal with the state in the late 70's not to offer the land for development. It's not a farm - it's a gift shop, restaurant, and entertainment park.
Bill Kelly December 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM
Last I checked there are apples growing there, many apples. I will take them as is even if they have all the other things you describe. One only need look at what is being proposed for Berry street to imagine if Smolaks were to no longer be a farm.
Cool Fusion December 17, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Smolak is not doing your a favor by charging you double the $'s to pick a peck of his blow downs than what you would pay for NH's finest at Market Basket, but to watch a kid climb a tree might be worth it. It's all good. As for Berry Street, the state giveth and the state takes away. Such is the nature of corrupt governance that dominates a submissive peoples and isn't organically capable to recognize it's own obvious contradictions that it authorizes.
MikeA December 17, 2013 at 03:47 PM
I don't think apple tree climbing is an official activity at Smolak Farm but since your brought it up, they need an outdoor climbing wall at Smolak's. And a dog park ...
Cool Fusion December 17, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Bill, Speaking of Berry Street, you may want to facebook befriend your local developer. John Smolak, North Andover Lawyer and a Partner and a founding member of Smolak & Vaughan LLP, is well–known regionally for his expertise in complex land use, environmental and economic development transactions, representing for-profit, non-profit and quasi-governmental organizations. John brings to his practice particular expertise in governmental permitting, structuring public/private partnerships with state and local governments on behalf of developer clients for redevelopment projects, and securing zoning and non-zoning approvals for projects frequently involving federal and state tax incentives and subsidies for mixed use developments
mpf December 17, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Oh, I don't know about that. Sounds like a little sour grapes from a neighbor! I understand the traffic and noise issues, and I'm sure compromises can be made. The Smolak's has been a working farm for as far back as I can remember, back when Michael was in high school. It's well known that family farms are becoming extinct. Better a commercialized farm than even more development & McMansions!
Cool Fusion December 17, 2013 at 09:18 PM
First of all (and there’s a lot of all), it's not a farm.. at best just a tax exempt apple orchard. Real farms raise produce.. those 100's of pumpkins lined up neatly spaced two feet apart in 50 yard rows in mid-October are purchased from the commercial market. Real farms have livestock .. Those poor caged petting animals exist for kids to throw purchased peanuts. Real farms have tractors .. the only tractors seen here are during the Saturday Tractor Pull promotion in July. Oh, you can buy Potpourri, candles, and decorative Indian corn.. but again all mass produced elsewhere. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway’s “Jake” in The Sun Also Rises, “Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?”. But it isn't.. It's just a fake commercial illusion of a farm real to only those possessed with suspension of disbelief. Sad waste to the taxpayers.
Cool Fusion December 17, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Smolak Farms LLC received Federal subsidy payments totaling $200,078 from 2004 through 2012. PLUS H Michael Smolak received Federal subsidy payments totaling $153,516 from 1995 through 2012.
Anne Marie Brightman December 18, 2013 at 08:33 AM
I am a neighbor of Smolak Farm. My family enjoys hearing the music from events on weekends that ends reasonably early and people enjoying themselves. I understand this may not suit all the neighbors and I hope a reasonable compromise can be reached soon. I think the presence if Smolak and their increased offerings contribute very positively to the community. The subsidies received spread out over all of the years amount to a modest tax payer contribution considering the costs of farm operation. This year they had a crop share program which was a decent first year attempt and I look forward to an even better year next year. I think we all know the pumpkins aren't grown there and considering all the other offerings I personally don't feel duped by the Fall presentation for pumpkin picking. The animals are not fed peanuts and appear to me to look quite happy and healthy with more room to spread out than many other farms I have visited.
Cool Fusion December 18, 2013 at 09:21 AM
Allow me to add to cognitive dissonance of the sheep... Let's start the compromise by having the inept zoning board relicense this commercial tax exempt enterprise operating on Federal USDA subsidies as a Retail business and Amusement Park. Next step: The growth at any cost Planning and Development Commission propose this section of town as a commercial zoned district with associated increased real estate tax rates generating more revenues for the town.
H. Michael Smolak Jr December 20, 2013 at 08:42 AM
Smolak Farms I am very sensitive to the concerns of the neighbors and stand quite willing to meet with anyone who would like to discuss solutions to the situation. I have done this many times with many groups and have always walked away with solutions and good will intact. I would invite anyone down for coffee and cider donuts to discuss resolutions. Looking forward to hearing from you. Michael Smolak
MikeA December 20, 2013 at 09:41 AM
Hi Michael, I love everything about Smolak Farms including the wedding receptions (I hope to be invited to such a wedding someday). Except when I drive past your farm stand on South Bradford Street during apple picking season. Your customers block the road like its part of the farm and not a public way. My solution to the problem is to try to remember its apple picking season when I'm in your area but my memory sometimes fails me. And for the DPW, the road is very narrow near the intersection of Dale Street. Snow blows over the stone wall, making the road impassable at times and certainly narrower. Can we widen the road or maybe remove/move the stone wall to improve the road? Sincerely, MikeA
Cool Fusion December 20, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Say no more .. Say no more Michael. Gather up your tax returns and forms for commodity and relief subsidies for Farm LLC over the last 10 years and have John T. bring collect all of Vaughan's 40B area development subsidy filings and Wifey will meet you two there and discuss your amusement park.
H. Michael Smolak Jr December 21, 2013 at 01:55 PM
A real man says who he is … an ignorant coward hides behind his wife's dress… you have history of many hundreds of misinformed comments.. get the help you really need… I have nothing to hide..
Mary Stewart January 03, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Smolak Farms grows its own apples, peaches, plums, nectarines, currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, herbs, and a wide assortment of vegetables. 200 CSA members can attest to this fact. Michael has provided jobs to thousands of locals over the past 40 years. I'm proud to be one of them. Mary Stewart, Farm Stand Manager & CSA member grew up on Dale Street, resident of North Andover


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