Proposed soccer facilities worries nearby homeowner
Washington’s Planning Board, during its meeting, last week, unanimously approved a preliminary site plan for a soccer complex just south of Washington High School.
Washington’s City Council would conduct a public hearing on the plan before it could receive final approval from the city.
The city’s planning staff recommends two land parcels be combined into one parcel, the proposed site’s zoning classification be changed from residential to occupational and industrial and the land be annexed by the city. Currently, the site is in the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, an area where the city’s zoning regulations and building codes apply.
Nell Moseley, who owns a house adjacent to the proposed site but does not live in it because she is renovating it, told the board she has concerns about the proposed complex. Those concerns include noise, sight and light pollution disturbing the adjacent residential area. The removal of trees from the site would make it easier for noise and light generated at the complex to make its way to the residential area. Removing the trees also would provide a clearer line of sight from the residential area to the WHS complex, Moseley said.
Moseley questioned if a required 20-foot buffer between the proposed site and the residential area is enough. “20 feet sounds great, if you plant me some wax myrtles. … Once you clear that, it will be like looking through someone’s window,” she said.
Board members told Moseley an approved landscaping plan would be required before the project could be approved. That plan would include shrubbery, which would help serve as a buffer, board member Jane Alligood said.
A supporter of the project explained the genesis of it.
“Two years ago, our high school soccer team made it all the way to the playoffs for the state championship, and had never played on a regulation-size soccer field until that state championship,” said Roy Parker, who is associated with the project. “His (board Chairman John B. Tate III’s) son was the goalie. It was a heartbreaker. On the way home, I looked at my wife and said, ‘We can’t let this happen again.’”
After that loss in the championship game, the school system began looking for land on which to build a regulation-size soccer field. Parker said an $80,000 donation from a private donor served as seed money for a fundraising effort, which now has $155,000 for the first phase of the project, Parker said.
The total cost to build the complex is estimated at $450,000, according to school officials.
Moseley asked the board to take her concerns into account when considering any action, if any, it might take with the request.
Tate sold Moseley the existing football field near her property would be much more disruptive than the soccer complex, if it is built.
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