Music must now stop after 10 p.m. at HSHS facilities
MOU spells out guidelines for use of farmhouse, barn and grounds
By Kevin Boneske
SUAMICO – After complaints of loud music last October at the Howard-Suamico Historical Society barn on land owned by the village of Suamico, an agreement was reached Monday, March 19.
The Suamico Village Board approved a memorandum of understanding between the village and the historical society with an amended provision calling for special events held on Fridays and Saturdays to end by 10 p.m.
Some of the nearby Magy Lane residents who complained about the volume of the music and it continuing past 10 p.m. last fall spoke before the board when it held a public hearing to change the zoning of the property where the barn is located from residential sewer to public lands and institutions.
Linda Jones, who lives on Magy Lane and became part of a Historical Society Facilities Committee formed following last October’s “FFA Fall Ball” when the historical society rented out the barn, asked the board to limit the hours at the historical society facilities to 8 p.m.
“The park is in the middle of a residential neighborhood,” she said. “If the historical society wants to be good neighbors, I don’t know why we would have events until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night. It is literally right next to our houses.”
Her husband, Grailing Jones, referred to how the historical society site was used last October as a “party barn.”
“The noise was vibrating our home,” he said. “It was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it…. You’re going to have this event right next to you that’s not historical usage, but basically it’s a party celebration area. And so I’m asking you not to put it in our area beyond 8 o’clock at night.”
Tom Lund, who also lives on Magy Lane, had asked the board to hold off rezoning the property until the memorandum of understanding addressed concerns expressed by nearby residents.
“I’m not against the rezoning per se, but the voices are not being heard of the residents that are right next to this building,” Lund said. “I’m not saying that the historical society would, at the present time, have a party out there until midnight. But these members of the historical society might not be on it five years from now, and it might be other people that look at what they can gain by renting out that building.”
Village Zoning Administrator Steve Dunks informed the board the property, which the village purchased in 2009, was never rezoned to reflect its intended use and its current use.
Village Administrator Steve Kubacki said the rezoning wouldn’t affect the memorandum of understanding.
“The memorandum of understanding identifies use – the use and frequency standpoint, hours of use – that type of thing,” Kubacki said. “But I think the rezoning stands on its own merit, whether or not that’s the highest and best use for that particular type of property.”
Without the rezoning, Trustee Sky VanRossum said there would be fewer restrictions on the property, regardless of the vote on the memorandum of understanding.
“At the very least, we need to get some sort of restrictions on this property, because I have no idea where this memorandum of understanding is going to go,” VanRossum said.
After the board members unanimously approved the rezoning, they further discussed the provisions in the memorandum of understanding before making changes to the wording.
Mary Steffen, a historical society member, said the memorandum of understanding as drafted had included an ending time of 11 p.m. for special events on Fridays and Saturdays because she believed there would be complaints from neighbors if people would be cleaning up the grounds after an event would wrap up at 10 p.m. with that being listed as the closing time.
Board members agreed to wording that special events on Fridays and Saturday would end by 10 p.m. with the understanding that historical society members could be on the property after hours for cleanup or other work functions.
Trustee Dan Roddan said the historical society had a “great learning experience” with the loud music that led to the complaints and memorandum of understanding being drafted.
“Knowing these people (with the historical society), that’s not going to happen again,” Roddan said. “I just know it won’t, so I’ll sign on to this memorandum of understanding, because it is an agreement and it’s bringing you guys together, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it’s needed.”
In 2011, the historical society had entered into a 99-year agreement to rent the property from the village for $1 a year with the premises restored as a historical site open to the public.