TRENTON — Allen Associates, LLC, owner of Wild Acadia Fun Park on Route 3, is a step closer to adding a campground to its site and ultimately changing its business plan after the Planning Board issued a conditional approval of its application March 10.
The board voted 4-1 to approve the project, which was presented by James Allen of Allen Associates and Noel Musson of The Musson Group, which is representing Allen Associates. Andy Allen, co-owner of the fun park, was not in attendance.
Board member Linda Hodgkins cast the sole dissenting vote after expressing concern that part of the proposed campground was in a zone designated “Resource Protection,” which she said would prohibit development of the campground per the town’s zoning laws.
Musson assured the board that the project’s designs were based off the town’s zoning map and that the sites were not in prohibited territory.
After comparing the town’s map hanging on the conference room wall at the town office to the map used in the application, Hodgkins disagreed.
“I cannot wrap my head around this,” she said of what she felt were discrepancies in the two maps.
Allen explained that he and his brother, Andy, have wanted to incorporate a campground to the fun park throughout their 10 years of ownership, adding that operating a “stand-alone park” amid a pandemic is especially challenging.
Their plan is to make the campground a “showpiece of Trenton,” and attract campers for short stays who would have access to the park. The park would become more of an “accessory” to the campground and daily, public access to the park would change, Allen explained.
Elements of the park, such as the climbing wall and trampolines, would shift locations to be closer to the existing ropes course and away from nearby residences. Additionally, the go-kart track would be removed to create a quieter atmosphere with less traffic, light and noise.
The proposed application includes 48 full hook-up sites, 23 sites for smaller campers or tents, 10 walk-in tent sites and three sites that have yet to be officially determined, but may be cabins, yurts or raised platform sites. The application also includes the construction of a bathhouse.
Allen said he and his brother are “fairly green people” and are incorporating hookups with 50 amps of energy so that campers won’t need to use generators, which can also be noisy.
Conditions for the application’s approval are the receipt of an entrance permit from Maine Department of Transportation (DOT), approval from the Department of Environmental Protection, including its site location of development act permit, and an approved fire protection plan developed with the town’s volunteer fire department.
Obtaining the required permitting from the Maine DOT and establishing an appropriate turn-off were especially important to the board, due to the park’s location on busy Route 3.
The fire protection plan will include adding an adequate water supply, one option is adding an underground 10,000-gallon tank, and ensuring that fire trucks and apparatuses can access campground roads via adequate turning radiuses.
Allen said construction would ideally begin this spring, pending the receipt of required permits, as this will once again not be a typical year for the park due to the pandemic.
Abutters in attendance asked questions but did not raise concerns about the project, with Allen assuring them that quiet hours would be strictly monitored.
“People want quiet,” he said.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to approve an application by Wright Wallace, doing business as Trenton Flooring & Furniture, for the construction of a 40-by-90-foot steel warehouse to be located behind the existing store.
The board also unanimously approved an application from Beach Front Properties to create a 400-by-400-foot gravel pad set back from Route 3 and to hot-top the entrance to the pad. It would be used to store gravel and a loader.
Conditions for the approval include providing a lock box at the property’s gate so the Fire Department can gain access if necessary, following setback requirements and maintaining the “buffer” of trees separating the site from Route 3.