BETHEL — Gould Academy came before the Bethel Planning Board on Thursday, Dec. 8, to discuss the idea of having ski slopes open at night open to the community with a dozen lights surrounding it. The idea is called the Pine Hill Lighting Project and was presented by Benjamin Kamilewicz.

While the planning board did request a site plan, they also asked they clear up confusion as to whether  this is a recreational facility intended to have concerts and entertainment, or if it was more about providing lighting for the community and keeping it to strictly skiing after dusk.

It was not a unanimous vote. Selectman Dwayne Bennett argued this was temporary and not a permanent fixture.

“I’m against this going through site plan. I don’t think it’s necessary,” explained Selectman Bennett. “It’s still a recreational aspect. I don’t believe what they’re putting up for writing is permanent. And the structures are already there. If they wanted to have a concert up there now they could do it. If they were going to put some permanent buildings up there, I would say yes. But I don’t see where the structure definition allows for anything that’s permanent.”

There were two neighbors who lived nearby who said they were happy with the idea and the community would benefit from it; however, as it was open at night, they wanted to know the hours of operation. They also wanted to know what kind of concerts would be held, how loud they would be, and if there would be problems with alcohol.

“I do think although the installation here could be viewed as relatively minor, the idea of opening this up at night to the public, for things not just including skiing but, as mentioned, [for] other sorts of festivities and musical events is a different kettle of fish,” said the Bethel resident.
Kamilewicz responded that they were looking to have the high school band play, or anything student-driven. He reassured everyone they weren’t bringing in rock bands.

In the end, it was decided and advised that Kamilewicz on behalf of Gould Academy go through the town attorney in addition to the site plan so they wouldn’t have to continue seeing the planning board every time they wished to add something.

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