Preschool plans to add yurt discussed by planning board

By Susan Mustapich | Apr 06, 2018

CAMDEN — The planning board agreed April 5 that the town can issue permits for a new yurt to be set up at Peopleplace Cooperative Preschool and a small addition to the Camden Hannaford Supermarket.

Planning and Development Director Jeremy Martin explained to planning board members that based on town ordinances, he believed that the addition of a 454 square foot yurt to the preschool property on Union Street, would not require a site review. He said that since a site plan review in 2000, when the school building expanded, a small greenhouse and outdoor tool shed were added to the property. The total square footage of those structures plus the yurt is under 1,000 square feet, the threshold for site plan requirements.

Board members agreed with Martin that site plan review was not required and the code office could issue permits.

Peopleplace Director Sessa Salas said the school will purchase a pre-engineered yurt, that fits onto a platform specifically designed for the structure. The yurt will have electricity, a compostable toilet and a Rinnai heater.


Salas said the yurt will be used as an outdoor classroom for preschoolers, and is situated so that the wooded area on the property can be accessed and used.

She responded to board member questions about fire safety, energy efficiency, and the yurt's ability to meet load requirements for snow and wind.

To meet fire safety standards, the yurt has two lighted exit and entrance doors, smoke and carbon-monoxide alarms, and the canvas material is manufactured to meet fire safety regulations. The structure will be inspected and comply with State fire safety regulations. A ramp will be built to access one of the doors, to ensure the yurt is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Martin said he has also spoken to the State Fire Marshall's Office about the yurt, as it is part of a school, and that Code Officer Bill O'Donnell visited the site to ensure the addition of the yurt will meet setback requirements.

In other business, Martin told the board that Camden Hannaford Supermarket has submitted plans for an 850-square foot addition, for a produce wash area. The structure will be built within what is currently an open, L-shaped area at the back corner of the building.

The addition will not trigger site plan review, Martin said, because the enlargement is less than 1,000 square feet. Martin added that Hannaford is looking to get the permit fairly quickly. He said that if the planning board concurred, his office will issue the permit, once the company provides additional information that addresses building codes and energy conservation.






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