It was standing room only in the council chamber room at the Windham Town Hall on Monday, June 26 at 7 p.m. as the Windham Planning Board hosted a public hearing on three issues. Although the first two topics of discussion included the Craig Road Subdivision final plan review and the Weeks Farm subdivision preliminary plan review, it was the Anglers Road Commercial Development final site plan review that brought in the masses.
The commercial development on Anglers Road in Windham, the entrance to Pettingil Pond, is the potential site of a 6, 500 square foot restaurant with an outside Country Music Venue, called Erik’s Church that will specialize in local live bands and DJ’s. The potential site will provide approximately 125 parking spaces and will contain a small dancing and music pavilion.
“This venue will be designed to mimic Nashville City,” Ken Cianchette, owner/operator of Erik’s Church said in his opening statements to the planning board. “It will be a high end Nashville establishment with a clean atmosphere.”
Cianchette also spoke to the planning board regarding the initial plan to have portable toilets on the grounds. The portable toilets shown on the first draft of the plan were removed based on comments and recommendations from residents and town staff. Traffic concerns are being worked out between the applicant’s engineers and the town’s engineers.
Members of the Pettingil Pond community also addressed the planning board with a multitude of concerns. Barry Bernard was the first to speak to the board, expressing the major concerns that this establishment will have on the quality of life in their “private, quiet and tranquil neighborhood.”
The prevalent concern is sound traveling across the water. “We can hear the screams from the Seacoast Adventure Park as well as the roar of motorcycles on 302, how can the noise of outside music be controlled?” is what one Pettingil Pond native asked the board.
Other hesitations and objections expressed included but not limited to the following: attracting a rowdy crowd, outside drinking late at night, the travel on Shore Road that leads into Pettingil Pond, close proximity of nature trails nearby, congested traffic at the Route 302 and Anglers Road intersection, causing safety hazards to include the lack of space for emergency vehicles to reach individuals living on the pond.
The general consensus of all present regarding this issue is that the idea of such a venue is a good
Upon completion of the public hearing on this matter, the planning board has asked Cianchette to return at a later meeting date and plan to answer the following requests from the board chair, David Douglass. “When you come back, tell me how you will manage a brawl. Not that you will manage a brawl - but how you will do it. How can you manage the sound? How are you going to do this?”
Cianchette will be available at the corner of Route 302 and Anglers Road on Saturday, July 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to discuss this further with anyone in the community who would like to discuss their concerns and possible solutions.
The next meeting to discuss this issue will be announced on the town’s website at www.windhammaine.us as well as the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/windham.maine.
It will also be announced in The Windham Eagle newspaper.