By Meghan Foley
North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN -- According to the event’s organizer, local permitting and licensing requirements will be met in time for "Hogs on the Farm" to be held in mid-August.
Charles "Rusty" Ransford said Wednesday that he has begun the process of applying for the necessary permits and licenses after receiving a letter from Williamstown’s town counsel outlining the approvals needed in order for the motorcycle rally be held legally.
"We’re going forward with it," he said. "The strange part about this is back in November  when I started on all of this, the only thing I was told I needed to apply for was an alcohol license."
The two, one-day wine and malt beverage licenses were denied by the Selectmen at the board’s May 14 meeting.
According to the June 15 letter, which was signed by Joel Bard of Kopelman and Paige P.C., Ransford must have an entertainment license approved by the Selectmen, as well as a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals allowing for a camp site on the property. He must also provide documentation that the event is a fundraiser to benefit a charitable organization in order for it to be in compliance with local zoning bylaws, the letter stated.
"Hogs on the Farm," which is being billed as a benefit for United States veterans, will be held from Aug. 17-19 at the Ransford family’s farm on Hopper Road. The 64.5 acre
The letter also said the Selectmen will evaluate the progress being made with meeting those requirements, and whether it appears that the proper precautions will be in place by Aug. 17 at its July 9 meeting.
"Should you fail to expeditiously and responsibly pursue and secure the necessary approvals, the town will have no choice but to ask a court to issue an order prohibiting you from holding this event," the letter stated.
Bard was asked to draft the letter by the Selectmen at the board’s June 11 meeting. At that meeting, as well as the board’s May 14 meeting, several residents, mostly of Hopper Road, presented the Selectmen with concerns they had about the event.
Ransford said Wednesday he expected the event to generate some controversy, but he didn’t realize the impact a minority of people would have.
"The strange part about this is only a handful of people are doing the NIMBY [not in my back yard] thing. It seems like a small minority is speaking for the silent majority," he said.
David Rempell, chairman of the Selectmen, said that many people from all over town have expressed their concerns about the event to him.
"I don’t believe this is just a small group of people," he said.
In all his years on the board, Rempell has never experienced an event like "Hogs on the Farm," he said. Whether it triggers any sort of precedent for future events, he hopes it will put some clearer guidelines into place regarding the information people holding an event like "Hogs on the Farm" would need to supply to the town "before advertising it all over the country as a fait accompli," he said.