CUMBERLAND — The Town Council voted unanimously on Monday, with Councilor Mike Perfetti absent, to issue a permit for a boys youth lacrosse jamboree.

The town late last year lowered the threshold requiring a mass gathering permit from at least 1,000 people – players and spectators – to 500, Town Manager Bill Shane said. He noted that the boys lacrosse jamboree had fewer than 1,000 people last year and avoided the need for a permit. But it is expected to draw more than 1,000 at this year’s May 8 event.

Shane told the council that the application is the first the town has had under new mass gathering rules, and that “unfortunately, the lacrosse folks have been the first ones through this process.”

Mike Mullin of the Cumberland/North Yarmouth Youth Lacrosse Club said that when the club became independent of the town’s recreation department two years ago, it was aware of the possibility of a mass gathering permit adjustment, but was not certain what the monetary impact would be.

“When I was establishing the fee structure for the registration this year, I kicked it up about $10 per team in anticipation of there being some extra fees, but not really anticipating the level and the degree of the fees that we would actually need to be able to defray as an organization,” Mullin said. “… If all fees were paid by our organization, we would end up with a pretty significant deficit, which would put us as a league in a very unfortunate position.”

Mullin said he could increase fees in the future to accommodate the change in later years. But he noted that it would be tough to go back to the teams and ask for more money this year. He requested a waiver of the $250 mass gathering permit fee and a $500 field usage fee.

Councilors suggested other ways the club could raise money to cover the extra costs, such as running the concession stands, but they declined to waive the fees. Instead, though, they agreed to postpone payment for up to six months, giving the club more time to raise money.

The mass gathering permit requires police and rescue coverage, which together cost about $700, Shane said. The permit also requires a parking plan.

Aside from the permit, a field use fee of $50 an hour is also charged to non-residents, and the boys lacrosse teams plan to use it for 10 hours, resulting in the $500 fee, Shane said. The fee applies in this case since more than half the participating teams are from out of town.

Shane said the Twin Brook recreation facility, where the lacrosse event will be held, has been attracting significant use. Among other things, parking has become an issue, he said, “and we felt that a 500-person event should probably trigger at least some discussion at the council level. … A lot of large events that were hovering around (the) 750- to 950-range caused as much headache to us as a 2,000-participant event, so we had to look a little closer at these events, because so many were coming in just under the limit.”

The Town Council also voted unanimously earlier in the meeting to approve a management plan for Rines Forest. Last November the panel approved a harvesting plan for the forest.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

filed under: