Resident not sold on lights at Glenbard West field
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Officials at Glenbard High School District 87 are considering installing lights at Memorial Field, across from Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn.
Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer
Glen Ellyn resident Jim Ozog wants to know from Glenbard High School District 87 officials: Would installing lights at a Glenbard West practice field provide a "reasonable" or "maximum" return on the district's property?
That's the question he posed Thursday to Chris McClain, Glenbard's assistant superintendent of business services, during a village plan commission meeting. It was the third such meeting to consider the district's requests to install four lighting poles at Memorial Field on Crescent Boulevard.
"If you peel back all the semantics, we're not adequately serving the needs of the students," McClain said. "That's what the variance (request) is all about."
District officials have proposed installation of lights to increase usage of the field on the West campus, which only has 5.7 acres of available practice space.
Ozog, an attorney by trade, has been working pro bono for Our Field, Our Town, a group of residents opposed to the light installation plan. As part of plan commission proceedings, Ozog has been cross examining district officials and experts who have testified in favor of the lights plan.
Village zoning code, Ozog argued, indicates a property owner is only entitled to a "reasonable return" on its property — not maximum.
Last year, the village approved variances allowing synthetic turf to be installed. McClain said other schools who have turf fields also have lights.
Ozog also questioned Mike MaRous, a real estate appraiser who previously testified on behalf of the district. MaRous said the addition of lights to Glenbard West could potentially enhance the community.
"The quality, services and amenities of a first class high school have an impact on the neighborhood," MaRous said. "If it's not kept up to a good quality, it will have an impact. It will be static."
He also maintained that the design of the lights would keep brightness mainly focused on the field, and spillage would be reduced because the field is buffered by trees.
The light proposal will be discussed again Sept. 29 at a plan commission meeting. Ozog is expected to present expert witnesses of his own during a future meeting.
The village board will make the ultimate decision on the variances.
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