At Monday night’s Planning & Zoning meeting the commissioners approved a proposed plan allowing temporary lights at certain athletic fields in Wilton. The vote was unanimous, 8-0.
The regulation they approved will allow athletic organizations (like Wilton Youth Football, Wilton Lacrosse Association, Wilton Youth Field Hockey and others) to come to P&Z to obtain a special permit for temporary, portable lighting for use at public fields within 1,500 ft. of Rte. 7. The groups would be permitted to do so after working with Parks and Rec to schedule field time and access. The intent would be for sports organizations that play in the fall, when practice happens during nighttime hours after 5 p.m. and when daylight hours are shortened, to have options to play on lighted fields by allowing limited use of portable, generator-based lights.
The plan put forth by Parks & Rec was put together in a concerted, organized attempt to find compromise following several years of public debate and even a lawsuit filed by one family against the town to block development of an artificial turf field at Middlebrook. It’s the latest effort to meet the needs of sports organizations and the growing demand of youth teams looking for fields on which to practice, balanced with the rights of residential property owners living close to playing fields who are impacted by light and noise irritations by those same youth teams.
It was also an effort supported and promoted by first selectman Lynne Vanderslice, who met with town planner Bob Nerney as well as with Parks and Rec commissioners and staffers to try and work a compromise plan following several years of discussion and dispute over a proposed artificial turf field at Middlebrook School.
P&Z Approves New Commissioner
Also at the meeting, commissioners voted to approve Tierney O’Hearn as a new member of the P&Z Commission. He fills the seat vacated by Keith Rodgerson, who resigned. O’Hearn was put forward as a nominee to fill the vacancy by the Democratic Town Committee.