BAY HEAD — The Bay Head Board of Education [BOE] rescinded the Point Pleasant Soccer Club’s request to use a light on their field for practices at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Dozens of residents had shown up to the meeting in opposition of the BOE’s decision to allow the soccer club to both use the field and to bring a portable light to illuminate the field.
After over an hour of discussion between members of the board, residents and Point Pleasant Soccer Club president Chris Lardieri, who was present both on Tuesday night’s meeting and the previous BOE meeting on Sept. 12 to plead his case and answer any questions from the board or the residents.
Board President Shannon Curtis said the board had also received many letters and emails from residents, some of them being very harshly worded, about the board’s decision to allow the soccer club to use the field and for them to bring a portable light.
“I just want to say so we are all on the same page, what we had approved was one portable light, not the diesel one, there are two diesel ones over at Nellie [Bennett Elementary School] and two quieter ones. The quieter one, over towards the tennis courts facing toward the marina for use on the four weeknights that the club uses,” said Ms. Curtis.
She said at the start, and many times throughout the meeting that this allowance would be on a trial period, meaning the board was going to set up the light, set up the generator and see how it would impact the area and the residents before the club would have even taken the field.
Mr. Lardieri even offered at one point in the meeting to bring the small generator to show the residents so they could get a feel for how loud or quiet it would have been.
Ultimately, a motion was made by board member Barry Pearce, and seconded by Board Vice President Sandra Antognoli to rescind the board’s allowance of the light on the field.
The exact motion, as said by Ms. Curtis was to “rescind the prior approval for the temporary light.”
Board attorney Douglas Kovats made it clear that a vote “yes” would mean the soccer club would not be able to use a light on the field, while a vote “no” would mean the board would continue to keep this trial basis open to see how this would affect the neighboring community.
Mr. Kovats had done this because to the members of the board it was confusing what exactly they were voting on, even Mr. Pearce, who made it clear that his stance was to rescind the board’s approval of the temporary light, had voted “no” initially, before quickly changing his vote after being explained what the vote meant.
The vote end in a 4-1; Ms. Curtis was the only member of the board who voted “no.”
Ms. Curtis explained to the residents and the board, “The reason I’m voting no is because I think they should have been given a chance…and I think their [the residents’] concerns are unfounded.”
Ms. Antognoli said that if the board had received one complaint, that they would have had to revote on the issue anyway. She had made her concerns about the light at the previous meeting, but ultimately had voted to allow the temporary, trail basis of the light.
Mr. Lardieri said he was disappointed in the board’s decision, but understands himself and the club are guests on the field.
The soccer club would have most likely used the field for next season, as they still use Nellie Bennett’s field, and the light has still not arrived.
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