Some in Hadley fed up with concerts at the Young Men’s Club

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 06-28-2023 8:12 PM

HADLEY — Twice a year, hundreds of college students, many from the University of Massachusetts, gather at the Young Men’s Club on East Street for daylong celebrations, with live music to listen to and plenty of alcohol to consume.

Those who live on the street and the nearby neighborhoods, though, are finding Springfest and Octoberfest, amid a growing number of other events both big and small held at the private club, to be impacting their quality of life.

“The noise is unbearable, especially during the UMass ones,” says Tim Neyhart of Kosior Drive, the town’s retired building inspector. “The house is shaking, the chandelier is shaking, pictures are coming off the wall.”

“I can feel the noise, never mind hear it,” adds Mike Duffy, whose Bay Road home borders the club’s property.

They were among several residents who brought their concerns about the Young Men’s Club’s increasingly active presence to the Select Board on June 21.

As the board considers modifications to the club’s liquor license, and potentially reining in the biggest events, the meeting was a forum for people to supplement the complaints that went to police in April when an event called Grass is Greener was held over the course of three days, with noise being an issue, along with trash and people turning around in private driveways.

Frank Aquadro, an East Street resident, said he would like to see a return to the club being limited to events of 150 to 200 people, rather than 1,500 to 2,000 people for concerts, including Country in the Country, and prohibiting those coming from camping overnight.

“Events at the Young Men’s Club have gotten too big,” Aquadro said.

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Aquadro, too, noted the music can be so loud that floors are bouncing inside homes.

“The noise is too loud — you can’t have an event in a residential neighborhood for 10 hours straight, for multiple days,” Aquadro said.

Duffy also asked the board to eliminate large events.

“To have this kind of event in the middle of a residential sections, it far, far exceeds what they agreed they would do,” Duffy said.

Tina Baronas, who also lives in the neighborhood, said people attending club events are turning around in potato fields and hayfields and dumping trash. There was also resistance to the idea of turning down the volume of music when complaints were made, Baronas said.

Neyhart pointed to a Zoning Board of Appeals decision in 1988, 35 years ago, that prohibited multiday events.

“Please help us enjoy our lives in our homes, that’s all we’re asking,” Neyhart said.

Thomas Reidy, an attorney with Bacon Wilson PC, who represents the club, said the information is helpful as planning takes place for future events.

“We’re going to see what we can do. We want to be good neighbors,” Reidy said.

During the meeting, John Mieczkowski of Sunrise Drive, a former Select Board member, defended the club, noting he is fed up with people being negative toward an institution that does good for the town, providing a ballfield and pavilion, especially when other people don’t want to serve or volunteer to help out the town.

“I want this board to look at what they’re doing for the community,” Mieczkowski said.

“Everybody’s got to complain,” Mieczkowski said. “There’s maybe three events they have there, and they can’t tolerate that?”

The board took the information under advisement. Select Board member Molly Keegan said the town’s noise bylaw, and state rules, prohibit unreasonable noise around the clock.

Select Board member Joyce Chunglo said the Young Men’s Club, though, has always abided by getting live music to end by 10 p.m., the cutoff in the bylaw.

Chunglo said she would be inclined to find a compromise.

“I think we should all try to work together to make it all feasible for people,” Chunglo said.

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