FARMINGTON — The Planning Board on Monday unanimously approved site review and erosion control applications for a senior living center and a drive-in movie theater.

Board members and Town Manager Richard Davis welcomed the $7 million Woodlands Senior Living project, which will include 48 residential care beds and 18 assisted-living apartments.

“Start building,” board Chairman Clayton King told owner Lon Walters after the board’s approval.

The board held a walk-over of the Woodlands property on Knowlton Corner Road on May 19, where the Woodlands Memory Care building is under construction. The $4 million memory center is expected to open in the fall.

Bringing information back to their meeting Monday, the board went through a checklist of facts and findings about the project, King said.  

Developers agreed to double the number of shrubs around the property after abutting neighbors voiced concerns at last month’s meeting. One abutter attended Monday’s meeting but did not speak.

The board unanimously approved the applications, with alternate members Michael Otley and Jeff Wright filling in for Donna Tracy and William Marceau.

The board also approved both applications for Big Sky Drive-In, which is being built behind Narrow Gauge Cinemas on Front Street. It’s scheduled to open this summer.

The drive-in will hold up to 60 cars, which will enter on the right of the cinema and exit on the left, Moore said.

Board member Lloyd Smith asked whether 12 feet is enough space to enter and exit. Moore told the board he had traveled the space with a 7½-foot plow on his truck all winter.

Smith also questioned the logistics of inside and outside theaters in the same space. A double feature will exit at 1 a.m. into an empty lot, Moore said. 

He believes there will be a balance between the two, as during good weather, which is perfect for drive-in movies, the cinema is slow. It picks up on rainy summer days when drive-in attendance would slow down, he said.

Board members also raised concerns about noise.

The movies’ sound will come in over a car’s FM radio, Moore said.

“Everything (Moore) has done has added to the community,” said resident Marlene Ramu, who came to show her support. 

It’s an old-school idea but one that young people will love, she said.

Board member Thomas Eastler said people he has talked with think it’s a good idea and support it.

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A construction crew works on a screen Monday at the Big Sky Drive-In behind Narrow Gauge Cinemas on Front Street in Farmington. The drive-in is expected to open this summer.

Farmington Planning Board members on Monday approved permits for Woodlands Senior Living, an addition to the right of the Woodlands Memory Care building on Knowlton Corner Road in Farmington.


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