Zoners move Little League field forward
Looks like the Little League is finally getting its new, lighted baseball field off of Route 7.
After months of deliberation and years of groundwork from the Little League, the Planning and Zoning Commission moved to draft a resolution of approval for the ball field located at 2 Sanford Station Road — on the Ridgefield-Redding border — Tuesday night.
Over the course of three public hearings, neighbors spoke in strong opposition of the proposed site. Their concerns ranged from noise and traffic to environmental impact.
During deliberations at Tuesday night's special meeting, Wetlands agent Beth Peyser said that the applicant submitted four different alternatives plan and that the commission — which serve as the town's Inland Wetlands Board — chose third option because of its minimal wetlands impact.
“Within this application, they proposed the filling of approximately 225 square feet of previously disturbed wetland and the creation of 645 square feet of newly mitigated wetlands,” she said.
“If alternate three is used as proposed, it would change a low-functioning wetland to a high functioning wetland …
“It’s my opinion that it would create a better functioning system overall.”
Commissioner John Katz was the only member who did not vote in favor of the application, citing concerns to air pollution from Route 7 traffic brought forth by dissenting residents and attorneys at the previous public hearings.
“I believe it places young students in a seriously compromised circumstance for their current and future health,” said Katz Tuesday night.
“I think there's enough data to back that up in the studies that we received.”
The rest of the commission didn’t agree and didn’t think that Route 7 was comparable to the highways referenced in studies.
“I don’t find this a hazardous issue or a threat to the safety and health of the public, not at all,” said Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti.
“I don’t know when ball fields became a threat and stopped being an amenity ...
“There’s pollution all around," Mucchetti said. "Should we shut down the town and do nothing? What’s the greater risk childhood obesity or going outside playing ball a couple hours?”
The draft resolution includes a new condition — lights can only be on when the ball field is in use, and must be off by 10 p.m.
Other stipulations, which already had been suggested by the Little League in response to public concern, include the following:
- Using of the public address system until 8:59 p.m.
- Building an eight-foot fence along the abutting property line
- Installing a guard rail along Route 7 side.
The Commission agreed to draft a resolution of approval, which will be officially approved at its next meeting.