MONSON, Mass. (WWLP) – Local residents and motorcyclists protested Thursday evening against the Town of Monson for closing down a hill-climb event.
A complaint was filed on September 22, 2021, for 31 King Avenue, a 23.33-acre outdoor recreation lot owned by Quaboag Riders Inc for violating specific zoning bylaws. The complaint alleges the owners of Quaboag Riders Inc changed and extended the use by modifying the hill climb without obtaining the necessary approvals in violation of the zoning bylaws.
A public hearing was held at Town Hall on February 28th and a site visit was voted on to investigate the allegations on March 4th. The following members were in attendance:
- Dr. Richard M. Smith, Select Board Chairman
- Patricia A. Oney Select Board Vice Chair
- Mary K. Hull, Select Board
- Jennifer L. Wolowicz, Town Administrator
- Ben Coyle, Town Counsel
A public meeting was held on March 21st after the completion of the site visit. The meeting determined if the Select Board should take no action, issue a cease and desist, or issue a fine.
The Select Board, who is serving as the Zoning Enforcement Officer, determined that the hill climb was expanded without obtaining a special permit and the removal of earth and filling of land without a special permit violated the zoning bylaw.
According to a letter sent to 22News by the Town of Monson, a cease and desist the use of property, including the hill climb, was issued on March 24th to William O’Donnell, President of Quaboag Riders Inc for violating zoning bylaws 3.3.2; 6.6, 6.6.5 and 6.6.6.
An additional cease and desist letter was issued on March 24th for the Go Topless Day that was advertised to take place at 321 King Ave. on May 21st due to the violation issued in 2019 indicating 4×4 activity couldn’t take place on the property.
A public hearing was scheduled for June 23rd to hear an appeal of the decision, however, it was continued to 7 p.m. on July 14th at Memorial Hall due to the open meeting law in providing enough space to hold the hearing.
According to a social media post by the Quaboag Riders Motorcycle Club, a bike rally took place on Thursday night at the Monson Town Hall to protest against the city’s decision to shut down the Monson hill climb event.
PHOTOS: “Save The Hill” Rally in Monson
The Quaboag Riders Motorcycle Club believes that the event is a staple in the community and should not be shut down.
This is a developing story and 22News will continue to update it as more information is released.