Board approves training facility and apartment expansion plans

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FARMINGTON — Planning Board members unanimously approved site review applications Monday for a training center and an apartment house expansion.

Caleb Rackliffe applied to add three apartments in a barn at 117 Perham St. He said he purchased the building in October and is starting to make improvements. He plans to work on the new apartments throughout the winter.

Abutting neighbors at 115 Perham St., Albert and Rachel McDaniel, raised a few concerns about parking, vehicles dragging in the driveway and the dumpster location.

The driveways are joined, Al McDaniel said. Drivers use the couple’s driveway to access the apartment building.

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Rackliffe agreed and said he wanted to improve the driveway, but snow came before he could get it done.

It appears there is a willing applicant and willing neighbors who will work it out, said Clayton King, board chairman.

Another concern was raised by Town Manager Richard Davis regarding the potential for more congestion to an already-tight area.

But if the project meets all the criteria for the zoning ordinance codes and those involved can make it work, then make it work, Davis said.

Some board members were also concerned about the tightness of the driveway where tenants now park vehicles. There is room for the parking spaces behind the barn and the board suggested moving all parking there.

King also questioned the driveway space, lighting for the building and a severe bow in the barn. He suggested consulting with an engineer to ensure the work could be done before the vote was taken.

Approval of an application for the proposed all-hazards training facility constructed on the Mt. Blue Campus is good for a year and could be renewed for a second year, Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser told the board.

Terry Bell, chief of Farmington Fire and Rescue, told the board the $250,000 to $300,000 cost would be raised by donations and potential grants.

It will take time, he said.

Forestry students at Foster Technology Center are ready to begin work clearing the land designated for the proposed facility.

The project had been discussed when the new campus was being designed, Bell said. The idea was put on hold until the school campus was finished.

Although there is a similar training facility in Phillips and another in Carrabassett Valley, one was proposed here so students in Foster Technology’s firefighting course could use it, along with area firefighters and police, he said.

Bell went to the RSU 9 school board last month to seek approval to use the land for construction of a 30- by 60-foot ranch-style house with a second floor on half of it and a third floor over half of the second floor. The building would be made of metal and concrete.

Representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection have toured the property and approved the site. It is over 500 feet from a vernal pool but close to the school and athletic fields, he said.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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