DRB approves permit for recreation park at school (5/14/09)

May 14, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Impressed with the changes made to a proposed recreation park at Allen Brook School, the Development Review Board granted the project a pre-application permit at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The board previously denied the permit to the proposed park due to concerns over lack of parking and uncertainty about the modular classroom situation at Allen Brook. The temporary building permit for the classrooms, housed in trailers, is due to expire in February. The board is waiting to hear from the school district about what it intends to do with the site.

Park engineer Doug Henson of Lamoureux & Dickinson Consulting Engineers Inc. described the changes to the board on Tuesday. Recreation Director Kevin Finnegan, Public Works Director Neil Boyden and Allen Brook Principal John Terko also attended.

The park would include multi-purpose fields for soccer and lacrosse, baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, as well as sites for picnicking. In the new plans, the courts have been moved 30 feet north of Allen Brook to accommodate a possible move of the trailers. Previous plans already anticipated the possibility of a new addition onto the school’s west side, so no changes were made there.

“The way this is laid out will not interfere with any conceived reconfiguration of the school,” Henson said.

In terms of parking, a large parking lot is planned just west of the school’s existing lot. There’s room for more than 200 parking spaces, Henson explained.

Senior Planner Matt Boulanger said the Conservation Commission, in its review, had concerns over handicap access to the fields when special events and games weren’t scheduled. Plans call for a locked gate on the access road to the fields, similar to the gate at Williston Community Park.

Finnegan said it’s possible a coded lock could be installed, with appropriate coaches and individuals with disabilities allowed to know the combination.

Now that the pre-application permit has been granted, recreation officials can start more detailed designs for the discretionary permit phase. Finnegan said after the meeting he hopes construction on the park, which would be done in phases, could begin sometime next year.

School officials are expected to meet with the Development Review Board next month to discuss a master plan for the Allen Brook temporary classrooms.