Town Council grants permits for Luter Sports concession stand, maintenance building

Published 8:39 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Smithfield’s Town Council granted special use permits on Jan. 2 for a maintenance building and concession stand at the Luter Sports Complex.

The permits allow “public use” of the community conservation-zoned land.

The two unanimous council votes followed a Dec. 12 vote by the town’s Planning Commission to require a brick facade on three sides of the nearly 4,000-square-foot maintenance building, which is intended to house equipment for all three town-owned parks.

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Aside from the brick, the building would be identical to a metal structure the town of Windsor built in 2020 for its public works department.

The December Planning Commission vote marked the first use of a 2023 change in the town’s zoning ordinance that sets design standards for government-owned buildings. Last February, the council added language requiring new construction on government-owned parcels be “substantially in conformance” with Smithfield’s entrance corridor overlay requirements, even if located outside the town’s entrance corridor overlay district. The ordinance defines the corridor as all land within 500 feet of each side of five roads, including West Main Street where the Luter Sports Complex is located, and mandates developers building within the specified area use brick or other materials “appropriate to town character.”
The roughly 600-square-foot concession stand will also be brick. The two-story concession building would also house handicapped-accessible bathrooms and a conference space on the second floor for Smithfield Packers Youth Sports, which administers the park’s football program.

Only one of the two buildings is presently funded. The council had planned to use $400,000 from its share of federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, but learned from Parks and Recreation Director Amy Novak in September that the cost estimate for the maintenance building had soared to $1.1 million. Adding brick to all four sides as originally proposed would have accounted for roughly $100,000 of the inflated cost, Novak estimated.  In October, the council voted to reallocate the $400,000 to the concession stand, which as of that month was estimated at $250,000.

The concession stand would be located closer to the football field than an existing concession stand and bathroom building that serves the park’s baseball and softball fields. The new brick structures would match the color and style of the existing concession stand.