EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 2, 2014

Some neighbors sounding off about Smolak Farms

NORTH ANDOVER —Neighbors of Smolak Farms are still worried about noise from the business even though sound barriers were recently installed.

At last week’s Selectmen’s meeting, owner Michael Smolak told the board he had finally put up soundproof curtains in the farm’s tent where weddings and parties are often held.

However, some neighbors such as Carl Wighardt are not convinced it will be enough.

However, Smolak said he adhered to the advice of a sound engineer on where to place the curtains.

Wighardt said he and a group of neighbors have hired an attorney to deal with the issue.

“This is pretty emotional to me,” Wighardt told the board members. “I’ve been dealing with this for years.”

He said he and his family moved to North Andover about 10 years ago. They liked the idea of living next to a farm but that was before big events started happening there.

Smolak in the past has pointed out that his farm, as well as the others that are surviving, has had to expand beyond growing fruits and vegetables to stay in business. When Smolak graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and started running his family farm 40 years ago, he said, there were 40 working farms in North Andover.

Wighardt said ideally he would want Smolak to move the tent closer to Smolak’s own home at the farm and away from some of the neighbors.

The board reviewed Smolak’s entertainment license to make sure it was following the requirements. At the June 9 meeting, many on the board expressed disappointment that the sound curtains were not installed by then.

“We can’t fix what happened in the past and we can only fix what’s going forward. I think the curtains themselves will make a huge difference,” Selectman Tracy Watson said.

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