FREEPORT — L.L. Bean and the Mann Cemetery Association have reached an agreement to restore access to the cemetery next to the company’s Outdoor Discovery Center.
Under the agreement, L.L. Bean will deed a 1,200-foot access path to the cemetery from Lower Flying Point Road. The Project Review Board on Tuesday unanimously approved the plan, which is an amendment to a site plan approved three years ago.
Plans for the Outdoor Discovery Center were approved by the Project Review Board in September 2013, with the condition that “the final plan will show the traditional access to the Mann Cemetery.” When the discovery center was built in 2014, L.L. Bean spread loam and seeded the access road to Mann Cemetery, against the Mann family’s wishes.
Both the discovery center and the cemetery, which is about 300 years old and has almost 170 plots, are on Marietta Lane off Lower Flying Point Road.
The cemetery is where many members of the Mann family and other early Freeport residents are buried; the last burial took place in 1922. Members of the Mann family still live in Freeport, and were promised continued access to the cemetery when the discovery center was built.
L.L. Bean went back to the Project Review Board on July 13 after Code Enforcement Officer Fred Reeder in May said clarification was needed about whether the company was allowed to plant grass over the road.
The company and the cemetery Association had been working together on a resolution ahead of Tuesday’s Project Review Board meeting, where the plan was presented to the board and approximately 50 members of the public.
The new path will be 20 feet wide and made of gravel. A small parking area will be built at the top of the path, which will be open only to foot traffic. The plan also states that the original access road will be completely removed.
Board members had little to say Tuesday, and only one member of the public spoke.
Linda Bean, who said she was speaking personally and not as an affiliate of L.L. Bean, said she is glad the dispute has been resolved. She also added that the Bean family is distantly related to the Mann family.
The Mann Cemetery Association has until Nov. 15 to record the deed transfer in the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds, and 120 days from Sept. 13 to submit a boundary survey of the Mann Cemetery property to the town.
Before the access road and parking lot are built, the cemetery association must apply for site plan approval with the Project Review Board.
The Mann Cemetery Association’s lawyer, James Katsiaficas, of Portland-based Perkins Thompson, said after the meeting that association members hope to have the road built by next spring. He said the cemetery association will be responsible for financing the project.
Freeport resident Ken Mann maintains Mann Cemetery off Marietta Road, where many of his relatives are buried.