Soccer dome approved for Bethlehem

Inflatable dome will fit two fields and offices

Nezaj had a similar project before the Zoning Board of Appeals in Colonie, but was denied a variance because the site at 969 Watervliet Shaker Road was next to Memory Gardens cemetery and didn’t meet all of the criteria.

The Bethlehem Soccer Club previously wanted to build a permanent structured facility, but could not raise the funds or had the volunteers to run the facility full-time. The new plans call for re-locating some of the outdoor fields on the property in order to place the indoor facility farther away from neighbors.

Neighbors had previously been against the plan, fearing the large dome structure would reduce property values and harm the tranquility of the area. Developers said they are now working more closely with neighbors to compromise on the facility’s location and aesthetics.

Traffic was one of the biggest issues.

To mitigate the issue, Brian Sipperly of L. Sipperly and Associates previously said more of a buffer would be placed in between games to help with traffic flow. The property’s parking lot will also be improved, with two smaller lots added and changes to the exit and entrances.

Neighbors also asked for a fence to be added to separate property lines. The developers agreed to place a six-foot chain link fence along the western portion of the property and extend it to the Miltowne Plaza property. In addition, safety netting would be installed to keep soccer balls from going onto neighbors’ land, but doors would be placed in the link fence to retrieve balls just in case.

Sweeney said they are working within the group to inform parents about being respectful of the neighbors and keeping an eye-out so they can exit their driveway. They have also changed their schedule so there is more times in between games. This will help with both traffic and parking.

“I think this is another good project for the town,” said Board member Kate Powers. “I think you took into account a lot of our suggestions, and the traffic issue has been resolved.”

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