The Planning Commission was standing-room (approximately 85 people in the audience) and began with a presentation by Charles Jamison, Attorney for the Petitioner (referred to here as Petitioner). Jamison outlined plans for the Soccer Complex as follows:
- 40 of 87 acres to be used for the soccer complex
- 6 fields with parking
- 2 entry and exit points
- snack bar
- restroom facilities
- pavilion with commercial kitchen, banquet hall, 60-275 people
- alcohol to be served in pavilion
The athletic fields would be open for operation:
- after school M-F from 2-7
- Saturday 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
- Sunday 9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
The hours of the pavilion would be:
- Weekdays 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Friday 9a.m. – 12a.m.
- Saturday 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.
- Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
When asked if town residents and local teams would be given priority for use of the fields the response was that they would be offered on a first-come, first-served basis but that the Petitioner wants to cater to town first. Planning Commission members expressed concern over scale of project, adequacy of roadways, need, disturbance of peace, and enjoyment of property owners.
Petitioner was asked if, in their process of determining need, did they contact Poolesville Parks, Muldoon’s Farm, or the Germantown Soccerplex. Petitioner replied that they had not.
When asked about water use to maintain the fields the Petitioner answered that they do not plan to irrigate, but did not give an estimate of water use (if any) for seeding and reseeding.
When asked if events would go beyond midnight, Petitioner could not say for certain.
Open Discussion included the following concerns from Planning Commissioners and residents:
- Inadequate parking included in proposal. The Germantown Soccer Plex has 85-90 spaces per field. The proposed soccer complex plans for 30-35 parking spaces per field.
- Concerns about overflow parking on rural/rustic streets which are narrow and unmarked.
- Concerns about the future need to irrigate/snowball effect.
- Budd Road is a designated rural rustic road so improving/widening is not possible.
- Hughes Road is a county road (designated Rustic from Willis to River Road) and, given its current adequate condition, the county is unlikely to improve or provide additional maintenance.
- It was asked if the Petitioner could improve Hughes Road?
- Members of Parks Board testified that requests for use of Town fields had declined and that there are adequate facilities for residents’ needs.
- Residents along, and adjacent to, Hughes Road and Budd Road expressed concerns about the speed of motorists, increase in traffic, blind spots, use by cyclists, walkers, joggers.
- On site concessions would limit or eliminate an uptick in business for existing restaurants and businesses in town.
- The amount of water use by individuals at the facilities (flushing, hand washing, food services, etc.). One resident stated that the soccerplex proposal estimates between 9,000 and 10,000 gpd for water/sewer (per their submitted proposal), and that is without any irrigation. That is equivalent to approximately 30 tap allocations.
- Concern that our current soccer fields are under-utilized and that there seems to be a greater need locally for football and lacrosse fields.
- The soccer complex seems to serve people from other communities rather than residents, not needed for local use.
- When asked by a member of the Planning Commission “What if we limit to just weekend use?” the audience responded in unison: “NO!”
- Concerns about significant storm water run-off toward Hunter’s Run and whether that will be worsened by compaction of fields and impervious parking lots at a soccer complex.
- Nearby bordering and adjacent residents expressed concerns about property values being affected as well as their right to the quiet enjoyment of their homes.
- The concern was repeatedly raised whether the attraction of many to (and through) Poolesville would be a detriment to our small-town character.
- Preference to leave town for certain services rather than being known for providing same services.
- Noise and who enforces such codes – how effective would enforcement be.
- Per a representative at Muldoon’s SoccerPlex, one field will sometimes host 6 games—this would change the estimated number of cars moving in and out of the soccerplex to over 2,000+ on weekend days. This is considered a conservative estimate and it doesn’t include numbers for the event facility.
- Concern about the cumulative impact of simultaneous operation of 3 separate sports venues cited: Hughes Polo Grounds, Muldoon’s Farm and this proposed soccerplex.
- A reminder was made that this is not a by-right use, but a special exception use that must demonstrate compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods and that it serves a need for the community.
- Cumulative impact cited with other special exception uses (current and approved) on Budd Road in Poolesville: 3 commercial landscape businesses and 1 survey company.
- Suggestion that the Petitioner identify other profitable agriculture-related uses for the parcel. The abundance of farmers seeking smaller acreage for various crops/livestock was cited as an example.
Planning Commission Chair Cal Sneed adjourned the meeting announcing no action was to be taken at that time. Sneed added that the Petitioner could—upon reviewing the input—withdraw, revise or submit the application for Special Exception. Town will also provide notes from the meeting.
*Please note that we strive to make accurate records, but this is a human taking notes during a fast-paced meeting.