2015-01-09 / Community

Renderings soon available for rink

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

SCARBOROUGH – One of the responsibilities of the Planning Board is to make sure applicants meet the town’s design standards as they are drafting plans for commercial and residential developments in Scarborough. This is particularly important, board members say, for the ice rink planned on municipal land on the corner of Gorham Road and Quentin Drive. Although located on town-owned property, the facility, which will serve as both an ice rink and place for other community activities, will be privately funded and operated.

While town leaders have glimpses of what Friends of Scarborough Hockey (FOSH) have planned, Monday launched the official permitting process when the Planning Board reviewed a sketch plan of the development. Jay Chace, Scarborough’s senior planner, said a sketch plan is an “informal submission” in which the Planning Board has an opportunity to get an overview of a proposal and offer guidance to an applicant. More formal plans, including elevations — architectural drawings of the proposal — will be provided as the plan goes through the permitting process.

Planning Board member Nick McGee said he is looking forward to seeing those documents to gauge how well the building will blend into the other buildings on the municipal campus.

“This is an extremely prominent location in the community,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the elevations because this is what people are going to think of Scarborough when they drive past. I think the board is going to hold you to those standards.”

New Planning Board Chairman Corey Fellows agrees renderings will play an important part of the design review.

“It’s going to be a high profile place for the town,” Fellows said.

Lee Allen, vice president of Northeast Civil Solutions and a member of the Friends of Scarborough Marsh Board of Directors, said his board knows the design will be heavily scrutinized and a “heavy amount of landscaping” will need to be done to buffer the back of the building from Gorham Road.

“We understand it will have to match what is already on the municipal campus,” said Allen, whose children have played youth and school hockey.

The facility, which will share a parking lot with Wentworth School, will be located across Quentin Road from the library on the site of two municipal basketball courts. One court will have to be removed to accommodate the 600-plus seat facility, which will be home ice for Scarborough, South Portland and Cape Elizabeth hockey programs.

Planning Board members, including newly appointed member Mike Wood, were concerned that although the Wentworth parking lot was overbuilt on purpose, people attending school events will be pushed from the lot when parking demand for the rink is at its greatest. Allen said the rink would need approximately 180 of the 248 spots at its peak, which would be on weekday nights and weekends.

Traffic engineer Bill Bray will work with FOSH on a parking utilization study to determine how the parking arrangement would work best. Chuck Bradish, the president of FOSH, said the town will have some representation on the rink’s operational board, which will be responsible for scheduling ice time and other events at the facility.

Aside from covering the cost of relocating the court — possibly next to the tennis courts — FOSH will also be responsible for mitigating the impact the facility will have on the wetlands on the property.

Allen said when the town was planning for the new Wentworth school, it was determined that those wetlands were “low value.” Nevertheless some sort of mitigation plan will be necessary.

Fellows said the wetlands mitigation and stormwater management “are big X factors for all of us.”

Second Planning Board alternate Susan Auglis said with Allen’s background in hockey and civil engineering she is confident the project will move forward “the way it is supposed to be done.”

As FOSH goes through the permitting process, the group will also be undergoing an ambitious fundraising effort to secure the $5.5 million needed to construct the rink and be open by next winter.

“We hope to have the money in hand and start construction in the spring,” Allen said. “That may not be fully realistic, but that is driving us.”

“It all depends on how fast we can have funding in the door,” he added.

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