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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

O.P.R.A. Request Reveals WBOE/Town Meeting on Kehler Stadium Lighting

     An Open Public Records Act request has revealed email correspondence between Westfield Town Administrator Jim Gildea and the Westfield Board of Education regarding the usage of temporary lighting at Kehler Stadium on Rahway Ave.
     Another email from a local resident claims that neighborhood residents aren't opposed to the lighting, contradicting the obvious opposition to the "pilot" program.
     TFoTM will post both emails.
     Kehler Stadium is located in a residential neighborhood zoned RS-12 under town land use ordinances.
     Despite the objection of neighborhood residents, the Westfield Board of Education entered into a joint effort with the Westfield Soccer Association, a private business, to light Kehler Stadium each night until 9:45pm, Monday - Friday for 10 weeks to allow the soccer association to practice into the evening.
     What was touted as a "benefit to Westfield High School sports," has proven to be nothing more than a nuisance to the neighborhood while the temporary lights have not been used by any of the high school sports teams.
     The Westfield Board of Education has yet to provide an "independent" monitor of the lighting "pilot" as they had promised during contentious meetings prior to the approval of the "pilot."
     Westfield Board of Education President Richard Mattessich, in an email obtained by TFoTM, suggested that members of the Board's Facilities Committee had their minds made up prior to the 3+ hours of public comment, before the WBOE voted to approve the "pilot" in March.
     Town officials will not reveal who told the Westfield Police Department to ignore enforcing Town Code 14-12 which prohibits the use of machinery/generators after 8pm.
     The police department had initially fielded complaints from neighbors, logging the complaints into department computers without responding to the stadium to enforce town code violations.      Recently, a police supervisor stated that the police are using "discretion" in allowing the use of the generators during prohibited hours and that the WSA is turning them off at a "reasonable hour."

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