I write this letter in response to the article that ran in your paper Jan. 24 regarding a proposed new ordinance in Northampton involving "large gatherings" of people. I own the Solid Rock Ranch, a 501c3 nonprofit horse rehabilitation ranch. We accept injured, abused and neglected horses from all over the country. Each costs about $100 per month. All costs associated with these ill and abused animals falls on us. Since 2003, we have been holding music festivals on our own land, the first being a benefit for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. At this event, every dollar was donated to St. Jude's. Since that time, we have benefited St. Jude's, cancer research, the local food pantry, our efforts and others. In fact, we donated 1,800 pounds of food to the pantry on Reed Street last year alone. Additionally, our guests bring many thousands of dollars in commerce to our town, according to Northville Mayor James Groff.
It comes to our attention that a few who apparently have nothing better to do have complained about our music, which happens regularly as clock work twice a year. We are more than willing to shut down all amplification at 1 a.m. as other establishments have done.
A certain Mr. William Gritsavage has apparently appointed himself prosecutor to enforce an ordinance that does not exist. This is clearly illegal, and we feel threatened. As an attorney, he should know better.
A petition is being circulated in support of our efforts, and we ask the town council to withhold any vote until the citizens' wishes can be made known. In fairness, we would state that we believe exemptions for other businesses and nonprofits is unlawful and illegal under the equal-protection clause.
In conclusion, we believe people who choose to move here to our community from places like New Jersey ought to accept our community's values rather than attempt to change them. If such people liked it better in New Jersey, they ought to move back to where they came from. Leave us alone to take care of our horses, play our music, help St. Jude's Children's Hospital, contribute to cancer research, collect food for the food pantry and do all the other dastardly deeds we do.