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Town Meeting approves zoning change for ‘Friday Night Lights’

By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer

Westborough – Westborough’s Fall Town Meeting, held Oct. 16, at Westborough High School,  drew a crowd of well over 1,000 residents who were largely in attendance to vote on new field lighting at Westborough High School. Overflow attendees were ushered into the gymnasium where mics and a remote video feed were set up.

Supported by the Advisory Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen, Article 3 sets the dimensional regulations for “Field Lighting Preliminary Design and Zoning Envelope” which will allow for the installation of field lighting (four lighting stanchions) and associated appurtenances for the lower main field and track area.

Robert Nagi, co-chair of the Rangers on Track Committee, spoke on behalf of the article. He explained that field lighting technology has improved in recent years. Four 70 foot towers will provide focused LED lighting that will be aimed at the field that features dimming capability and set on timers.

Nagi then talked about usage. During the fall, there would be potentially 19 events and nine in the spring. Lights would be shut off at 9:30 p.m. after most events, and as late as 10 p.m. for Friday night football games. For practices, lights would be shut off at 7:30 p.m. and lighting could be dimmed for community use of the track. He assured the voters that the School Committee will work with the community on setting usage policy.

Resident Peg Fishkind presented the opposing side. She stressed that the town has historically been opposed to new lights citing the two unsuccessful attempts.

“Here we are again, back before the voters asking for your support in defeating this light proposal,” she said. “The lights would forever change the face of Westborough.”

Fishkind also argued that costs for lights, electricity, policing and staffing would be a long term burden to the town estimated at approximately $700,000 over the next 10 years.

Proponents said the cost for the project is $400,000 which will be covered by private fundraising.

Residents provided robust and impassioned questions and comments. Dennis Callahan asked, “Is this a need or a want?” Other concerns were expressed respecting downtown neighbors and noise levels.

Conversely, others believed that the lights would benefit the downtown businesses. The lack of lighting puts Westborough students at a disadvantage competitively and will bring the community together in a safe and healthy environment, proponents stated.

The article passed 967 to 294.

 

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=94935

Posted by on Oct 17 2017. Filed under Byline Stories, This Just In, Westborough. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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