WILMINGTON -- The application to create a paintball course on Adams Farm property was approved by the Development Review Board.
Farm owners Tina Cullen and Christopher Adams received a conditional permit that stated hours of play must be limited to the time between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Conditions also included a maximum noise level and each game must have a referee or safety officer attending to it.
"If we don’t do this in a professional manner, our insurance won’t cover it," farm employee James Knabe told the board. "We’ll have to train some other people on the farm. We’re trying to use people to the best advantage so there’s no downtime."
A safety orientation must be given to all participants by Knabe, who had represented the farm when the DRB hearing was split into two nights, May 19 and June 2, or another employee. Knabe said the state already approved the paintball course and the farm was waiting to receive its Act 250 permit for the project.
The property located at 15 Higley Hill Road will likely see an addition of the two fields for paintball use although the DRB hearing included testimony from at least one neighbor who was opposed to the project and a few others who were concerned in general. There were six abutters who were heard by the board as well as a witness, professional paintball player Ryan Todd, who discussed the decibel levels of the paintball guns.
Some abutters asked whether there would be a way to stop participants from going onto the course under the influence. Knabe insisted that people who appear to be under the influence would not be allowed on the course.
According to the facts found by the DRB, both fields for the course will be approximately 100 feet wide and 500 to 600 feet in length with natural obstacles including boulders, brush, trees, stacked logs and land contours as well as manmade obstacles such as wooden pallets and tires.
There will be an age minimum set at 12 years old. Only paintballs sold by the farm, which are non-toxic and biodegradable, will be allowed to be used on the course.
The board determined that neighbor Beth Jennings-Leggiere lives approximately 850 feet from the proposed course. She had voiced concern over noise and potential damage to nearby property. Adams said there would be no paintball used at the site that could travel far enough to hit her property.
"The closest house will be my own," he added.
Adams also mentioned that the new business plan was part of an effort to keep the farm in the family. Paintball would be the latest addition to operations there, following the construction of a slaughterhouse.
The local permit issued by the DRB will expire in two years from June 16. Knabe said he’d like to have the course open as quickly as possible and had July 4 in mind.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.