Published DateFRYEBURG — Fryeburg Academy was given planning board approval to build three practice fields off of Howe Street.
The school will be constructing two soccer fields and a softball field, which overlaps one of the soccer fields. The approved plan differs from the plan that was proposed last year. The amount of parking has been reduced to 24 vehicles and a concession stand and plaza has been removed. The planning board gave the academy land use authorization approval on July 24.
"The project has been scaled back to a set of practice fields," said Frank Crabtree of Harriman Architects and Engineers.
Planning board chairman Ed Price read two statements from abutters into the record. One of the abutters wanted to know if the fields would reduce property values and whether their property value assessments would be reduced. Price read a response to that question from the town's assessor.
"'One could suggest having athletic fields next door is better than having unruly neighbors,'" Price said quoting the assessor. "'My general thought would be that we'd have to see clear evidence that it actually detracts from the value of the properties.'"
Another abutter, Eli Cohen, was concerned that noise from games would disturb his tenants. Cohen was also concerned the four-foot fences that were proposed along the perimeter of the fields weren't going to be sufficient.
The planning board approved the plan with several conditions, including the addition of six-foot-tall fencing which will run from the southeast corner of the fields around to the northeast corner. The section along the powerlines will have four- to six-foot fencing. Netting will be placed along the northwest edge of the softball field. More netting may need to be installed if the town gets a lot of complaints about balls going into abutters' property.
Academy officials said they'd try to get permissions to retrieve stray balls that end up on abutters' land.
In other planning board business:
• The academy was given approval to convert the former Pike Insurance building into an alternative school for students who would be better served outside the traditional classroom. There will be a maximum of 30 students at the facility. The planning board made its decision pending approvals from the Maine State Fire Marshal's Office and Maine Department of Transportation.
• Monique Kramer, who is trying to open an alternative healing center for animals at 21 Portland Street, was given conditional approval for her application for land use authorization. The approval was made upon the condition that she provide details about the property's septic system within 30 days. Price wondered what alternative animal healing entails.
"Acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, nutritional counseling," Kramer said, responding to Price.
"On animals?" he replied
Kramer said she had been doing this work for years and was just looking for a facility.
That prompted Price to ask, "You're not going to be bringing horses and cows, in are you?"
Kramer replied, "I do that on their (the animal owners') property. It's (the facility on Portland Street) for dogs, cats and rabbits."