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ZBA approves permit for sports complex

September 16, 2010
STURBRIDGE — A group of local investors is a couple steps step closer to building a sports complex after the Zoning Board of Appeals approved both a special permit and a height variance for the project during a hearing Wednesday, Sept. 15.

The project in question is a domed indoor sports complex with adjacent outdoor fields and a building to accommodate concessions, retail and restrooms. There are also plans to build a disc golf course in a wooden area on the property. The group is looking to build the complex at 17 Kelly Road and 90 River Road, off of Route 15.

The investors in the project are local fathers and sports enthusiasts looking to start a business and provide a local arena for year-round sports competitions. The complex would cater to children during the after-school hours and would house adult leagues in the evening.

The Sturbridge Arena, LLC was before the ZBA for two reasons: a special permit that would allow the complex to be built on less than a 50-acre lot and a variance to build a dome that is 75 feet tall while town bylaws restrict structures to 60 feet in height. The board voted unanimously to grant both provisions, provided the stipulations be put into writing and officially submitted.

During the hearing, board members asked a series of questions on the project. The first concern was that the sports complex would create noise that would be bothersome to abutters. The site is adjacent to the Sturbridge Retirement Community and board members were concerned activities at the complex, which will be open until midnight, would create a nuisance.

Michael F. Loin of Bertin Engineering Associates, in Southbridge, and investor Arnold Lundwall spoke for Sturbridge Arena, LLC during the hearing. Lundwall explained that the dome material, which is a type of cloth, would be insulated.

For more on this story, please see Friday's Southbridge Evening News.

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