Letter: P&Z chairman says lights compromise was a true community effort, not one individual's
To the Editor:
Despite recent claims otherwise, the reality is the stadium lights compromise was long in the making well before Rob Richards interloped on the issue and self-proclaimed his "credit for finding a compromise.” For years (if not decades), the issue was widely discussed among town leaders and interested parties, without an ounce of input or support from Mr. Richards.
The conditions for approval that Darien enjoys today were developed from communications with hundreds of community members (including dozens of neighbors that live in proximity to the high school), surrounding towns' zoning regulations, arbitrated agreements and legal decisions. This information offered the administration, Board of Education, and Planning & Zoning countless resources to work from while crafting the zoning regulation and special permit approval that was ultimately adopted with best interest of Darien in mind.
Ironically, many of the original conditions Mr. Richards presented and supported were rejected. These included but were not limited to: An annual ten game limit under lights; 7 p.m. weekday shut-off; A town-wide ban for additional lit fields; Practices only allowed after daylight savings in late October, Retractable light poles and lights only facing school building; No sound system use after halftime; A reduction to the appraised value and assessed values of affected neighboring properties, and permanent and enforceable guidelines for 15 years. If some of them sound misguided, and reckless, they certainly were!
Finding this compromise was a true community effort in which no one person was more important than any other. Anyone making claims otherwise reveals they are an opportunist and weren't part of the process, especially as the rest of the town celebrates this most awesome accomplishment.