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Soccer dome approved for Bethlehem

Inflatable dome will fit two fields and offices

The Bethlehem Soccer Club has received final approvals to move forward with construction of their indoor soccer complex on Wemple Road.

The project received a special use permit and site plan approval from the Bethlehem Planning Board on Tuesday, May 6. The club had been attempting to build an indoor soccer facility at the site since 2009.

“We’re excited for the project and looking forward to finally moving forward with it,” said Mark Sweeney, a parent speaking on behalf of the Bethlehem Soccer Club at the meeting.

Planning Director Rob Leslie said at this time there is no plan for installation of a new sign. If one is wanted at a later date, the club will need to get a permit from the building department. Changes also needed to be made to the plan from a previous presentation to allow for a larger road around the dome for emergency vehicle access.

The project received a height variance in July 2013. At 55 feet, the structure’s plans were 20 feet higher than what is allowed for a building in a Rural Zone and required a variance. A balloon test was held earlier that month at both the proposed site and alternate site on the property to get a visual of how high the building would be.

The soccer facility is being proposed through a new partnership between the soccer club and Afrim Sports in Latham. Afrim Nezaj, owner of Afrim Sports, will be paying for the project and taking over day-to-day operations, with the soccer club acting as a landlord.

The plans call for a 43,000 square-foot indoor, inflatable soccer dome to be built at 450 Wemple Road. Two regulation fields would be inside the facility. Also included would be a 3,000 square-foot lobby, which would hold offices, a concession stand and a small retail area for soccer equipment.

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