No notices, no ruling of field plan

By Lisa Williams Ackley

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — Fryeburg Academy's new athletic fields project off Howe Street went before the Fryeburg Planning Board Tuesday night for a public hearing.

However, discussion had to be cut short and a new public hearing scheduled, when it was discovered that abutters may not have been formally notified of the hearing, as required by state law and the town's Land Use Ordinance.

When the engineer representing the Academy could not produce receipts proving that abutters were formally notified via certified mail, the planning board decided to delay discussing the application any further, until a second public hearing, which they set for July 24 at 6:30 p.m.

A site walk of both the Academy athletic field site and the new Fryeburg Historical Society building property on Portland Street did not take place at 6:30 p.m. June 26, due to rain.

It wasn't until after the brief public hearing Tuesday night, and Fryeburg Academy Athletic Director Sue Thurston's explanation of what is planned at the athletic fields, that it came to light that certified mail notices informing abutters of the public hearing may not have been sent out.

Frank L. Crabtree, an engineer for Harriman Architects & Engineers of Auburn, said he could not recall if the formal notices to abutters had been sent out. Fryeburg Code Enforcement Officer Katie Haley said she had returned certified mail receipts for the Fryeburg Historical Society's public hearing that same evening in hand, but she did not have any for the Academy's public hearing notice.

Planning Board Chairman Ed Price asked Crabtree, "Did you notify all of the abutters by certified mail?"

"I think so," Crabtree replied.

"That could be a show stopper," said Price, "because we advertised this as a public hearing."

Price looked around the meeting room and then asked, "So, do we have any abutters here who have received a (certified mail) notice?" No one responded.

"We already closed the public hearing," said Chairman Price.

"The public hearing was held without the proper conditions," CEO Haley said.

"It is their (Academy officials') responsibility to get the (certified mail) receipts to Katie," planning board member Judy Redding stated.

A few moments later, Crabtree said he didn't think he had sent out notices to the abutters.

"I don't believe I did it," said Crabtree.

"Notices were published in the (news)papers," Chairman Price said, "but abutters need to be notified individually."

So, the athletic fields proposal will be heard again on July 24.

Former Pike building new alternative school?

A second public hearing will be held on July 24 regarding Fryeburg Academy's proposal to lease the former Pike Insurance building on Main Street for use as an alternative school for high school age students.

Representing Fryeburg Academy, builder Brad Littlefield said the two-story structure would be used by up to 30 students and two to four teachers.

Noting that a new Subway restaurant is scheduled to be constructed next door to the proposed school building, the planning board asked Littlefield to come back on July 24 with more information regarding the entrance and exit to the property.

"Traffic access and traffic impact — I really think we need to look at that and I would really like the DOT (Maine Department of Transportation) to look at it," said planning board member Kent Pidgeon. Chairman Price then asked Littlefield to contact the MDOT.

Littlefield also noted that the State Fire Marshal's Office had reviewed the plan and recommended a second stairway to the second floor be constructed and Littlefield said it would be.

Fryeburg Historical Society gets green light

Following lengthy discussion on the entrance and proposed parking June 26, the planning board gave its unanimous approval to the Fryeburg Historical Society's new location in the Ethel "Red" Smith house at the corner of Portland and Warren Streets.

Some planning board members said they thought the entrance to the Historical Society building should be from Warren Street, while others thought the Portland Street entrance would be safer and less intrusive. It was decided Portland Street will be the designated entrance.

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