Hadley Select Board revises liquor license for Young Men’s Club

The Young Men’s Club and Pavilion in Hadley.

The Young Men’s Club and Pavilion in Hadley. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 01-02-2024 10:35 AM

HADLEY — A revised club alcohol license for the Young Men’s Club that offers more flexibility for where members and their guests can be served and consume alcohol at the 138 East St. property, including on an outside deck, has been approved by the Select Board.

At its Dec. 20 meeting, with member Joyce Chunglo absent, the board voted unanimously to grant the amended license to the club, which sought the changes following complaints from neighbors, especially surrounding large-scale events last spring that may have violated state alcohol regulations and town zoning.

The revised license was awarded on what board members said is a trial basis.

“They seem to be acting in good faith,” Select Board member Randy Izer said. “If they don’t behave as they tell us, we have to do something, and I’m more than willing to do something about it if we get to that point.”

The requested changes were made by the club’s attorney, Tom Reidy of Bacon Wilson PC of Amherst, under Chapter 138, Section 12 of Massachusetts General Laws, giving it the opportunity to serve and drink alcohol in the clubhouse building, as well as the clubhouse outside deck, the pavilion, the parking area and the basketball court. A specific map of the property shows where alcohol can be served or imbibed.

 But the club will need special licenses, under a different section of state law, for the rest of the property, for three annual events, including Springfest and Ocktoberfest, five-hour festivals in which 1,500 and 2,500 area college students 21 and over can buy tickets to an event with performers; and Country in the Country, a daylong country concert open to the public. Conditions could then be set by the Select Board based on recommendations from town public safety departments.

The Select Board’s action stems from the Grass is Greener festival last spring that led to numerous complaints from neighbors, as well as continued concerns about ongoing car shows. The board closed an earlier hearing without a finding on any possible violations of town zoning and state alcohol regulations.

During the hearing, Frank Aqaudro of East Street told the Select Board it should remember the club is in a residential neighborhood, meaning outdoor events should not be allowed after 10 p.m. While the clubhouse has traditionally been open until 1 a.m., the pavilion stops serving at 10 p.m.

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Mike Duffy of Bay Road said he remains worried that there is no written limit on the size of events that can be held at the club.

Izer said if there are complaints, especially about licensing the outdoor deck, the Select Board can revisit the matter. “I’m in favor of giving them a chance to see how they can manage the deck,” Izer said.

“We try to be good neighbors,” said John Mieckzkowski Jr. the club’s treasurer

“We’re not going to let people be unruly on the deck,” he added.

Sean Gould, the president, said neighbors shouldn’t worry about the revised license. “It’s not being rezoned to allow 1,000-person parties,” he said.

The revised license is also explicit that to rent the pavilion for a wedding, reunion, graduation or other event, the person renting it must be a member of the club.

Select Board member Molly Keegan asked if anyone could apply to be a member in order to have that privilege. Gould said there is no limit on how many members the club can have.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.