Scarborough Planning Board passes on Wiley Park parking
SCARBOROUGH — Efforts to expand parking at athletic fields off Tenney Lane were thrown for at least a temporary loss after Monday's Planning Board meeting.
"It would be a smart thing for the people trying to put this together to have a neighborhood meeting," Chairman Allen Paul said after the board heard about 30 minutes of public comment from neighbors worried about increased traffic and illegal activities after Wiley Recreation Park is supposed to be closed.
The park, at the end of Tenney Lane, is a multi-use complex of baseball, soccer and football fields. Board members had been asked for an advisory opinion on increasing parking spaces by Scarborough Community Services, which oversees the fields.
Lot expansion to 122 spaces, including three more handicapped spaces, would most directly benefit the Scarborough Football Club, which has 27 scheduled games for second- through sixth-graders this fall.
"Community services does not sponsor football leagues, it was (the) club coming forward," Community Services Director Bruce Gullifer said.
Club President Greg Thompson and landscape architect Tom Farmer of Yarmouth-based Thomas J. Dewan & Associates detailed the plans Monday.
"Our intent is not to be invasive," Thompson said. Much of the expansion work could be accomplished through volunteer efforts and material contributions by club members, he added.
Wiley Recreational Park is an ideal place to play out a seven- or eight-week season with three or four games played from morning through mid afternoon on Saturdays, Thompson said. The club raises money at the park concessions stand and there are handicapped-accessible bathrooms and a scoreboard.
It is also at the end of a narrow residential road off Pleasant Hill Road, and residents including Karen and Wayne Tanguay, Chris Casiero, Marilyn Jasper and Rick Mahoney said they are worried about increased traffic and illicit park visitors.
Karen Tanguay told the board a slate of Saturday games might draw more than 100 vehicles at a time, but suggested expanded parking on adjacent streets and use of a path through the woods to the park could alleviate congestion and overflow parking on her street.
The neighbors are also facing the construction of a nearby 30-lot subdivision that would double the number of residences in the area, and Mahoney said his love of sports could not override his concern about too much traffic on Tenney Lane. He said he might support expanded parking if there were a written promise it would not lead to more games being scheduled at the field.
Wayne Tanguay called expanded parking "not worth the time or cost" and estimated the project required cutting down about 2,100 square feet of woodlands, removing a natural sound barrier for neighbors. He added the work would create construction traffic and noise.
Jasper said a new parking area close to the back edge of the park would draw more people after dark when the park is closed, and added she already feels less safe walking through the park than in the past.
The neighbors added they support youth sports and said Thompson and club members have worked hard to limit traffic impact by blocking no-parking areas with cones and using Police Department Explorers to control traffic at games.
A day after the meeting, Gullifer was at Wiley Recreational Park, counting spaces and thinking about where a new gate restricting night traffic could be installed. Because there is one home just outside the parking area, the end of Tenney Lane cannot be blocked.
Gullifer said expanding the parking, which involves re-striping existing spaces and building more, does not require council approval. But he is heeding the Planning Board advice.
"We are going to meet (and) try to figure out the best scenario," he said.
Board member Cory Fellows noted the process had practically started Monday.
"A neighborhood meeting was almost breaking out here," he said.