HAVERHILL — City councilors will hold a public meeting on Wednesday to consider taking more control over large events at Kimball Farm and other outdoor venues.
Neighbors’ complaints and police concerns about large events at the rural East Broadway farm have councilors eyeing new rules. The changes would give them power to curb the size and frequency of obstacle course races and other events at the farm.
Mayor James Fiorentini and police Chief Alan DeNaro urged the council to pass new rules two weeks ago, but councilors opted to instead review the measure at a public meeting before voting. The mayor and police chief have said the city’s existing ordinance covering outdoor events is outdated and does not provide sufficient safeguards for public safety or require neighborhood notice.
Fiorentini’s proposal also includes new fees for outdoor events that range from $50 to $2,500, depending on the number of people expected to attend.
Tyler Kimball, a city firefighter whose family owns Kimball Farm, began holding non-agricultural events at his property last year under a pilot program with the state Department of Agricultural Resources. The department’s approval was required because the state purchased the development rights to the farm some years ago under a program aimed at preserving operational farms in Massachusetts.
Amy Mahler, a spokeswoman for the agricultural department, said the state approved two events at Kimball Farm last year and five more this year under a special permit approved in April by the Agricultural Lands Preservation Committee.
Agricultural officials inspect the farm after high-impact events such as mud races to make sure the property’s farming characteristics are not harmed, Mahler said. The department considers events at the farm on an annual basis, Mahler said.
Tyler Kimball did not return a phone message seeking his comment for this story.