GLENBURN TWP. - A Glenburn Twp. board of supervisors meeting got heated Dec. 17 after a group of neighbors stated their opposition to the Abington Little League's plans to erect lights at the Ackerly Field Complex.
Neighbors said they had consented to the complex's construction at 140 Ackerly Road in the late 1990s under the condition that the league refrain from installing lighting or sound systems for the life of the complex. The promise is recorded in the minutes of a supervisors meeting from more than a decade ago, they maintained.
They guaranteed the neighbors that there would never be lighting, said neighbor Lynn Sansky, who lives close to the complex.
The league, however, wants to revisit the matter with the township. League officials cited the need for more Fall Ball games, which take place when the sun sets earlier in the day. They said the addition of All Star games and more league participants factored into their decision.
Abington Little League Fall Ball Commissioner Ryan Mitvalsky explained that the new lights are necessary at the complex and that many Little League fields in the region are already equipped with the lights.
We've grown to over 800 kids, Mitvalsky said. We're going to have to turn them away (if the lights aren't installed).
The Little League said it would work with the neighbors to hash out an equitable solution for those involved. The neighbors, however, repeated that they were adamantly opposed to any plans to install lights.
The neighbors continued their refrain, saying they opposed a lighting system no matter what.
We just don't want lights, Sansky said. We (she and her husband) wanted to get away from the city, away from the lights.
We're not taking any action [tonight], Supervisor Michael Savitsky said. Let's hear these guys out.
He added that it would take months before the board would even consider signing off on any plans.
The reason we came here is that we want a discussion, said John Allen, architect and engineer for proposed lighting project. We want to open a dialogue.
Allen added that advances in technology have made stadium lighting less obtrusive.
Supervisor Bill Wicks said he knew any plans to install lighting at the Ackerly Complex would meet stiff headwinds.
We support the Little League—it's not that we don't like the little league, Supervisor Bill Wicks said.
The neighbors echoed that sentiment, but expressed concerns over increased traffic and dust from night games. Allen tried to allay their concerns, explaining that there would not be more traffic or dust than usual.
The board agreed to table the matter and refer back to the minutes of the meeting from the 1990s.