A recent application by Friends of Ambler Farm, Inc. has garnered some attention in town.
At the Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting on Feb. 11, Ambler Farm brought forth an application to change its current special permit. Town Planner Bob Nerney said the original special permit was approved in 2006 with a modification made in 2007. This special permit allows for events sponsored by Ambler Farm and other nonprofit organizations.
“I think what they’re looking to do is to change that condition to establish some parameters that would allow for a for-profit organization to come in or for-profit events,” Nerney said.
The current special permit limits larger, nonprofit gatherings to no more than six events per year with a total of no more than 100 attendees.
“What they did back in 2006, is they kind of set up and regulated different scenarios,” Nerney said.
Friends of Ambler Farm now looks to amend this part of the special permit to allow for up to 10 events with a maximum of 200 attendees. The current special permit does not limit events, such as Ambler Farm Day or the farm’s summer camp program.
“Back in 2006 and 2007, there were certain events that I think the commission deemed to be part and parcel to use that was being sought and regulated by the special permit,” Nerney said.
Other events larger in scale, like the holiday greens sale and Ambler Farm Day, require their own special event permit, he added.
“That’s an administrative permit that allows for other departments besides planning and zoning to look at the impact,” Nerney said. “There’s only a small number of events where that comes into play.”
The applicant also looks to remove the term “nonprofit” groups, according to the planning and zoning staff report from the meeting. This would thereby allow a for-profit entity to host events on the farm.
Current conditions prohibit the amplification of sound as well as the use of outdoor public address systems. The potential amendment would strike this condition and replace it with a requirement that events comply with the noise ordinances of the town. The amendment would also allow for activities that are presently prohibited, including antiques shows, craft shows, weddings and other private parties.
The public hearing for the application will continue at the Planning and Zoning Commission’s meeting on Monday.