A controversial proposal to install lights at Glenbard West High School's practice field has received preliminary approval, but only after Glen Ellyn's plan commission placed additional restrictions to address concerns from neighbors.
Glenbard High School District 87 is seeking permission from Glen Ellyn to add the lights and make other improvements to Memorial Field along Crescent Boulevard.
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On Tuesday night, the plan commission recommended that the village board approve the zoning variance requests District 87 needs to install four 70-foot and two 60-foot light poles at the field.
In addition, the advisory panel supported the district's variance requests for the installation of new sidewalks, permanent bleachers, a batting cage, fencing and an ornamental gate.
Village trustees are expected to get their first look at the proposal next month during a workshop meeting.
Julie McCormick, one of six plan commissioners who supported the lights, said she believes the district has taken "great measures" to ensure the character of the neighborhood surrounding the field won't be altered.
She pointed to the fact that the lights will be directed.
"The granting of the proposed light variance will not create a nuisance within the neighborhood in that the lights will light the field but not spill onto the neighbors' properties," she said.
Still, McCormick and other commissioners put more restrictions on the proposal, including that the lights must be shut off by 9 p.m. and can't be used on Saturday nights.
District 87 officials previously have agreed to no summer light usage, not allowing third parties to use the field's lights, and forming an advisory group to work with neighbors.
Even with the conditions, plan commission members Jeff Girling, Todd Buckton and Linda Dykstra opposed the lights.
Dykstra disagreed with the district's claim that busing student athletes to other fields in town for practices and games creates a hardship. Meanwhile, she said, "The impact to the neighborhood is significant."
Tuesday night was the first time commission members had the opportunity to debate the issue.
Over the course of ten previous meetings, they listened to public comment and testimony from Glenbard officials and representatives of Our Field, Our Town, a community group opposed to the lights.
District officials have said the lighting would allow for greater use of the field for sports and extracurricular activities.
Opponents have argued the lights would alter the character of the neighborhood, increase traffic and create safety problems.