The group opposed to lights at Memorial Field set out prove that light towers would negatively impact the neighborhood near the high school.
Jim Ozog, resident and lawyer representing the group opposed to the lights, continued to cross-examine officials and their expert witnesses regarding the installation of lights at Memorial Field during Thursday’s plan commission meeting.
District 87 wants to install lights at Memorial Field, but in order to do so district officials need approval from the village of Glen Ellyn’s board of trustees, following the recommendation of the plan commission.
Ozog first questioned the real estate appraiser hired by the district, Michael MaRous. Ozog focused his questions on whether the lights would negatively impact the neighborhood surrounding Memorial Field. MaRous stated the trees surrounding the field would create enough of a “buffer” from homeowners’ property, and would not negatively impact the value of homes. MaRous argued that because the area is used frequently by high school students, athletes, pedestrians on the Prairie Path, and trains throughout the day that the added lights would not change the characteristic of the area.
“There will be some change in the neighborhood due to this plan--my conclusion, long term--is that there is a benefit,” said MaRous.
Ozog then moved on to cross-examine Chris McClain, assistant superintendent for business services for District 87. However, Ozog was not allowed to ask McClain about a $44,000 study from 2010, which details accidents along Crescent Boulevard between Riford Road and Park Boulevard. Commissioners prevented the line of questioning because the study was not used in McClain’s original testimony and said he did not have to speak to the results. Considering this traffic study lead to the implementation of additional safety measures near the high school on Crescent Boulevard, in addition to McClain’s previous statements on traffic around the high school, Ozog thought the questioning was fair play.
“They’ve relied on that report heavily. For him to back off was I think inappropriate. It was studied time and time again by the school board and relied upon by Mr. McClain, so he can’t back away from it,” said Ozog.
Just like the previous meeting Ozog tried to make a point that the lack of lights does not pose a hardship for the high school. In Thursday’s meeting, Ozog tried to point out that the district was trying to maximize the return on the field whereas the village’s approval of variance requests allows for only a reasonable return. McClain said if you peel back all the semantics the students suffer.
“We’re not adequately serving the needs of students and that is what the variance is all about,” said McClain.
There will be a special plan commission meeting next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the . During this time there is a chance that the public will be able to make statements.
Curious about the timeline of events leading up to the Memorial Field vote? that explains how the debate reached the plan commission. The article sheds more light on the traffic study Ozog refers to among other things.