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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Board of Education Postpones Vote on Kehler Field Lighting

   
     On Tuesday evening, March 10th, the Westfield Board of Education tabled a vote that was scheduled to take place regarding a request by the Westfield Soccer Association to place temporary lights at Kehler Stadium for a "pilot" program expanding practice into the evening hours.
     The WSA has requested permission to place four generator-run light towers around the field.  The lights would remain on until 9:40/9:45pm, Monday-Friday, between mid-March and the end of May.
     Residents against the lights showed up to voice their opposition against the request while WSA coaches, and some of the association's board members, touted the "pilot" program's benefits.
     After 3 hours of public comment, Westfield Board of Education President Richard Mattessich suggested an amendment to the WSA's original proposal that had been posted in the meeting's agenda.  Mattessich suggested that the members of the Westfield Board of Education vote on whether or not to approve the installation of temporary lighting pending the review of the resolution by Bd. of Ed. Attorney Richard Kaplow, who was not in attendance at the meeting.
     Earlier in the meeting, it had been pointed out to members of the board of education that they are currently in violation of Westfield's Land Use Ordinances considering some of the non -  board of education activities that take place at the stadium.
     The current WSA proposal for temporary lighting at Kehler Stadium appears to violate several of Westfield's Land Use Ordinances and the Westfield Board of Education, as the land/property owner, would be subject to court action in the event those ordinances are violated.
     A letter detailing the land use ordinance violations was handed to the board of education for their attorney's review.
     Board of Education Vice President Gretchen Ohlig made a motion to table the vote until the board meets on March 17th so that their attorney could review the proposal with regards to land use ordinance compliance.
     A vote is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17th, at 7:30pm.  The Westfield Board of Education meeting will be held in the main cafeteria of Westfield High School according to the school district's official website.

9 comments:

  1. What is wrong with the underutilized fields at Tamaques Park for the WSA to hold their practices ?

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    1. The Westfield Recreation Department will not allow the use of these fields until April 1st. The WSA has stated these fields are "inferior" to synthetic fields.
      NOTE: The WSA should consider investing their money/fees/donations in a synthetic surface. The WSA currently rents out time at the town owned Sid Fey/Houlihan Fields at Rahway Ave & Lambertsmull Rd.
      Perhaps the parents of the players can foot the bill.

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    2. Also be reminded that these field are used for Spring baseball and softball. The WSA is expanding their training to include the Spring which is in addition to their Fall training schedule. The WSA appears to be pushing soccer training 365 days a year.

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  2. They should open up the vault, buy some property and build their own damn fields.

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  3. So much for the cart horse thing. Good move by BoE...a trial period makes good sense.

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  4. The WSA stated that this is a "pilot program" but did not definitively answer a board of education members question, or the public question......."a pilot program for what?. Based on the vague answer by Mr. Franks of the WSA, they are using the board of education property (Kehler Field) to prove to the town that there is a need for more lighted turf fields in Westfield other than Sid Fey/Houlihan fields. With a cash strapped municipal budget, good luck getting the town or the taxpayer to foot the bill for additional lighted fields. Perhaps it's time for the WSA, a private entity, to "pony" up the cash to build such a facility if municipal fields and private property zoned as a residential neighborhood (Kehler Stadium) are not an option during daylight hours.

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  5. Pony, horse, not sure what you're talking about anymore. This is clearly a pilot program to see how this affects the neighborhood. If it's a problem, the residents were given a clear method to report any concerns. Let's see how this works out...if does affect the neighborhood in a poor way, then this will answer the question once and for all...if not, then not only does the WSA get the benefits, but so does the school, at no additional cost. As far as future costs, I agree that these should be shared by those who use it...whether it's recreational programs, or school fees, that makes sense and is a fair way to do it. Now get back on that horse and pony and go find another scandal or town affair to report on. :-)

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    1. "Pony Up"

      1) To pay up
      2) To put money down

      Originating from the latin word "Pone" (said like pony), which means money. The phrase Pony Up came from putting your money up on the table in a game of chance. Hence' Pone (Pony) up on the table.

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  6. How does this benefit the school? The school sports teams don't have a problem with practice times, the soccer association does. The soccer association is using the board for their own personal gain without paying a dime for the field use which is a cost that the association would incur if they travel to out of town facilities or pay to use the town owned lighted field on Lambertsmill Rd. which apparently they haven't paid their fair share. In the end, the soccer association will get free use of a field that will be replaced by all the taxpayers through the board of education budget. The soccer association needs to "pay to play" like every other private organization. The Westfield Soccer Association is not affiliated with Westfield Recreation or the Westfield board of education. Every resident of the affected neighborhood should remember each board members name that approved this, when they come up for re-election.

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