Midcoast sports teams may soon be able to play soccer, baseball, lacrosse or any other field game, regardless of weather, at a new sports facility being proposed off Route 90 in Warren.

Hope developer Rick Bresnahan met with the Warren Planning Board March 7, concerning his proposal for a $2.5 million, 68,800-square-foot indoor sports facility on the north side of Route 90 across from Grant's tree farm. According to plans filed at the town office, the 33-foot-tall steel building could be completed within a year.

Developers foresee Midcoast schools including Oceanside High School in Rockland, Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, Belfast Area High School, Lincoln Academy in Newcastle and Mount View High School in Thorndike using the facility.

"Everyone is tired of driving to Waterville, said Chairman Chris Donlin.

The business is called The Pitch, according to plans. The owner is listed as WSF, LLC. of Hope.

Architect John Hansen and engineer William Gartley showed drawings of the proposed building to members of the planning board.

The building will be similar to the Midcoast Recreation Center in exterior appearance, and will serve as an indoor place to play sports. Most of the interior will be an open field covered in turf for sports including soccer. Gartley said it will also include a second floor area near the front from which fans can view the field and it may include batting cages.

The field will be divided much of the time into separate playing areas by netting. Some bleachers will also be included for parents to watch their kids at practice.

"It's a big building, but a relatively minor use," Gartley said.

He said it will see the heaviest use on the weekends when games and tournaments might be played there, but would see less traffic during the work week when teams would use it for practice space. The plan includes 157 parking spaces.

The big question from the planning board: how many people would use it and how much traffic would that generate?

"We're wrestling with the numbers right now," Hansen said.

During a tournament the building might see between 700 and more than 1,000 visitors; however developers said that will not be known until it has been up and running for some time.

Gartley also asked whether the project would have to meet requirements of the town's large facilities ordinance. The ordinance was enacted recently in response to a proposed methadone clinic and limits how close certain large facilities can be located to homes and certain businesses and facilities. Whether it applies to this project depends, in part, on how much traffic the new sports center generates.

Planning board members noted there are not many homes around the property.

"What would really kill you is a lot of neighbors that didn't want it to happen," planning board member David George said.

Bresnahan said talking to neighbors of the property was his next step.

"If other large facilities had picked a site like this they would probably be fine today," George said.

Gartley asked the planning board to approve the project on the condition that the number of people using the facility be limited. He said the State Fire Marshal's office is concerned that 9,000 people could be packed into the building for a concert or some other event. That would require the developers to include 58 doors as part of the building's design.

He said they have no plans to have that many people there, and that shows in the number of parking spaces they have planned.

The developer has a purchase-and-sale agreement to buy the 28-acre parcel.

About 12 people attended the meeting.

Two more meetings including a site walk are planned on the project. The next meeting is Thursday, April 4.

New members Kenneth York and Patricia Leach were welcomed to the board at the meeting.

Courier Publications News Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at ddunkle@courierpublicationsllc.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DanDunkle.