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updated: 9/30/2011 3:55 PM

Residents have say on lights at Memorial Field

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  • The Glen Ellyn plan commission is considering a proposal to install lights at Memorial Field across from Glenbard West High School.

      The Glen Ellyn plan commission is considering a proposal to install lights at Memorial Field across from Glenbard West High School.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer


During three meetings of the Glen Ellyn plan commission over the course of the past month, experts hired by Glenbard High School District 87 testified on behalf of a proposal to install lights at a Glenbard West practice field.

On Thursday, a group of Glen Ellyn residents opposed to the plan got to present their case against the lights.

Members of Our Field, Our Town, which formed in January after Glenbard officials first proposed the addition of six light towers to Memorial Field, have researched topics including lighting, safety and public expenditures.

But the group also raised funds to pay for a zoning expert, who testified before the plan

commission Thursday.

George Kisiel, an architect and planner with Okrent and Associates, said Glenbard officials haven't shown there to be a hardship or particular difficulty that currently exists without the lights or other requested variances, such as installation of bleachers, sidewalks and fencing.

Kisiel said putting in lights and extending the operating hours of the field would increase the number of spectators to the field and the amount of noise and traffic.

"You really can't fit the lights and the fields in the required setbacks," Kisiel said. "The issue is you're trying to put too much on the site."

Earlier in the meeting, Our Field, Our Town attorney Jim Ozog finished his cross examination of district's remaining witness, Patrick Brosnan of Legat Architects, the designer of Memorial Field.

Ozog asked if the field would be considered a "sport court," under Glen Ellyn zoning rules.

Brosnan said the district's variance application isn't about the already-installed turf surface that was approved by the village last year -- it's about lighting.

After the meeting, Ozog said he believes last year's approval of artificial turf was done improperly, since the school district didn't recognize the field as a "sport court" in its variance application.

Ozog said that means neighbors within 1,200 feet of the field -- of which he is one -- have a right to file suit for relief of zoning.

He said residents aren't threatening litigation and aren't seeking to shut the field down, but they would bring the situation to the school district's attention.

During the meeting, Staci Hulseberg, the village's planning and development director, said village staff wouldn't consider Memorial Field to be a "sport court."

Their interpretation of the phrase has been in regards to basketball courts in backyards of single-family homes, she said.

Memorial Field would be considered a "recreational field," of which the district is allowed to petition for an "accessory to a special use," Hulseberg said.