According to the group's website, they aim to "invest in our Middlebrook Sports facility and invest in the future of youth sports in Wilton."
As many of you know, Wilton Youth Football, Wilton Youth Lacrosse and the Wilton Field Hockey Association are proposing to convert the existing sod field at Middlebrook School to an artificial turf field and to replace the existing lights at the field with lighting that meets industry standards for illuminating athletic fields. This multi-use field will be used extensively by the physical education classes at Middlebrook School in addition to accommodating youth athletics.
To gain final approval for this project, there is a series of meetings and public hearings that must be conducted as part of the Wilton Board of Selectman’s due process. As such, The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on September 23rd with respect to the proposed regulation amendment beginning at 7:15 p.m. in the Brubeck Room at the Wilton Library. The Inland Wetlands Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on September 26th with respect to the application for wetlands permit commencing at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex, 238 Danbury Road. We need your support at these hearings.
The Board of Education and the Parks and Recreation Commission support this project. We urge you to do so as well by attending the public hearings. If you are not able to attend, please submit a letter of support to Planning and Zoning and the Wetlands Commission at 238 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT.
The Planning and Zoning hearing is to address the proposed adoption of current lighting standards specifically focused on the illumination of an athletic field. It is important to note that the entire Wilton School complex, including Middlebrook, is located in a residential zone. The standards being proposed with the turf project provide better illumination of the field than what is currently in place, while decreasing the amount of “spill” or glare to surrounding properties.The new proposal includes additional regulations that, in fact, protect all residential properties by putting more stringent regulations in place. Here are the summary details (Proposed Text Amendment at the end of this document):
The Town’s existing Zoning Regulations include lighting standards but those standards are designed primarily for commercial establishments. For example, the height of light poles is limited to 30 feet and illumination is limited to an average of 2.5 foot candles. While the height limitations and light level standards are adequate to illuminate site improvements such as a commercial parking lot, they do not meet the industry standards for illuminating an athletic field.
Legal counsel to Youth Football, J. Casey Healy of the Wilton law firm of Gregory and Adams, has submitted an application to the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Town of Wilton proposing the adoption of regulations dealing with the illumination of athletic fields, consistent with regulations adopted in other towns and current technology. Those regulations include: (i) allowing athletic field lighting only on publicly owned properties or privately owned properties used institutionally (such as a private school or a church); (ii) requiring the lighting to be setback not less than 1.5 times the setback distance for buildings in the district; (iii) limiting the height of athletic field lighting to not more than 80 feet; (iv) requiring visor/spill and glare protection; and (v) requiring the submittal of a photometric plan evidencing that light levels will be limited to not more than 0.5 foot candles at a property line. The installation of athletic field lighting would be subject to special permit and site development plan approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission following a public hearing.
With regard to the Inland Wetland Commission, the conversion of the existing sod field to an artificial turf field does not take place within a wetland or upland review area. The drainage from the field does now and will continue to intersect with the drainage from the Middlebrook School building; which drainage eventually discharges to a wetlands. Hence, the proposal will be reviewed by the Inland Wetland Commission.
Opponents of the proposal are incorrectly claiming that the proposed regulation will allow 80 foot lights throughout residential zones in Wilton and virtually anyone’s neighbor could install 80 foot lights. In fact, as noted above, the proposed regulation is narrowly tailored and encompasses only publicly owned properties or privately owned properties used institutionally(such as private schools or churches).
Proposed Text Amendment1. Add to 29-5.C. Regulations Pertaining to All Residential Districts:
29-5.C. Lighting for Outdoor Athletic Facilities:
- 9. Lighting for outdoor athletic facilities shall be permitted in all residential districts on publicly owned properties and privately owned properties used institutionally (such as private schools or churches) subject to Special Permit and Site Plan approvals in accordance with 29-10 and 29-11 and the following requirements:
- a. All lighting fixtures shall be selected and installed in such a manner as to protect surrounding uses from glare and spill. This shall include the provision of appropriate visor/spill and glare protection. The lighting shall comply with State and local building code requirements, including, but not limited to, footing and wind resistance standards.
- b. Applicant shall provide a photometric plan indicating that the light intensity from the proposed fixtures shall not exceed 0.5 foot candles at any property line. An as-built photometric plan evidencing compliance with the pre-construction photometric plan shall be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Department as a condition of obtaining a zoning compliance certificate for the lighting.
- c. The maximum height of a lighting fixture shall be 80 feet.
- d. All new lighting fixtures shall be set back from adjoining properties in residence districts and from street lines directly opposite properties in residence districts a distance equal to no less than 1.5 times the required setback distance for buildings in that district.
- e. Based on the characteristics of the athletic facility and its relationship to surrounding residential or other sensitive uses, the Commission may establish a curfew time after which the lighting will need to be shut off and may require the provision of an automatic timer to ensure that such shut off occurs.