The following letter to Planning & Zoning commissioners has been reprinted with permission by the author.

To P&Z Commissioners Doris Knapp, John Comisky, Joe Fiteni, Frank Wong:

As taxpaying/voting Wilton citizens, we have followed closely the application to install artificial turf and state-of-the-art lighting at Middlebrook School. After two years and over $200k wasted, no credible reason remains why you are on the “VOTE NO” side of the project (according to The Wilton Bulletin).

Is it Standing? No. While opponents questioned the Wilton Youth Football (WYF) legal standing to file the application, Wilton’s Board of Selectmen unanimously approved WYF’s authority on all land use. The project is also supported by Wilton’s first selectman, the Wilton Board of Education, Wilton Parks & Recreation, Middlebrook School administration and the Inland Wetlands Commission. No town entity opposes the project. This application is submitted with appropriate standing.

Is it Safety? No. Inland Wetlands voted 6-0 approving the project. There is no scientific proof that crumb rubber causes cancer ⎯ and there have been scientific studies stating that no elevated health risks are linked to crumb rubber turf fields and these studies have been provided to you. Wilton’s parents will always be the best protectors of their children and the current field and lights are dangerously unsafe.

Is it Finances? No. WYF is working with all youth sports organizations and private individuals to raise the necessary money and gift the field to the town – no taxpayer dollars will be spent on the purchase or installation of this project. Additionally, WYF will help offset the replacement cost at the end of the fields useful life. It is also not the role of the P&Z to patrol the finances of a project when considering an application.

It is Lights? No. The submitted plan calls for state-of-the-art LED lighting which will result in a 99-percent reduction of spill and glare of existing lights. The uplighting component is necessary for safety reasons and will only be visible when an object (ball) is in the air – you will not see “beams of light”. P&Z has already approved other uplighting projects in town, and no less than 20 instances exist including churches, the Wilton Library, retail locations and Veteran’s Memorial Green where the US Flag is properly illuminated by three lights pointed directly to the sky. Town planner [Bob] Nerney advised you it is within your discretion to interpret the town regulations in this area and our regulations are designed to be guidelines – not a hammer to crush valid projects.

Any logical person, including a large majority of the residents you are elected to serve, can see this project clearly improves current conditions, requires no taxpayer funding, is widely endorsed, improves home values, enhances youth athletic and Middlebrook experience, and alleviates growing field space issues in town.

When you balance the pro’s and con’s of this project there is one clear vote to be cast. This project is one giant step in making Wilton great again. We will be waiting to see what you do.

Jeff Siegel
Wilton resident on behalf of all in favor of the project

3 replies on “Letter: P&Z Commissioners⎯No Credible Reason to Vote ‘No’ on Turf”

  1. Jeff,

    I hereby nominate you to stand in front of the town with your very clear arguments. After reading this I think you should consider becoming a lawyer (if you aren’t one already)

    1. Could not agree more (except for the lawyer part- wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!)- a very well written and thorough review. I have no children that will benefit from a turf Middlebrook field, but my own kids had the “experience” of playing on the old one in the past. Unlike others, I see no reason to be against the project when such a reasonable case is being made spelling out the benefits to our community and the kids!

  2. Recently there has been a lot of national news on the turf matter. Even some parents who will not allow their kids to participate on fields made of this. However there is a different turf, according ot to what was reported, made of ingredients not related to rubber, but providing the same positives. Did we ever look at that?

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