Objections resurface as Hoydens ballfield plan is back at bat
Published 9:20 pm, Thursday, February 24, 2011
Plans to build a softball field on town property on Hoydens Lane have been tweaked a bit since the project sparked controversy last year, but the proposal still isn't a home run with the Hoydens Hill Environmental Trust.
"The Hoydens Hill Environmental Trust still has objections which the town has deliberately chosen to ignore, as they have made the specific choice not to solicit the feedback of the neighbors during the re-draft of the application," said lawyer Keith Ainsworth.
Assistant Planning Director James Wendt said changes to the original application include relocating parking to the field side of the driveway and changes to drainage. "The field location is essentially the same," he said.
The softball field first was challenged in an unsuccessful town-wide referendum last August over the $350,000 budget for the project, before it went to a TPZ hearing last September. But before the hearing was completed and a decision made, the application was withdrawn for technical deficiencies. John Fallon, the lawyer representing the town, also withdrew. An inland wetlands certificate has already been secured.
Some had objected to the coast of the field, while others opposed it because of concerns over traffic and environmental issues, including whether the property was purchased by the town for passive or active recreational uses.
An environmental review conducted at Ainsworth's request stated that the original proposal "represents the most intensive, the most damaging and therefore the least appropriate use of the parcel with regard to protecting and preserving the ecological function of the parcel."
The Hoydens Lane property consists of two lots totaling 13 acres. There is an abandoned home, long paved driveway and small parking area surrounded by mowed grass, high grasses, clumps of trees and a meadow, according to the application.
The proposed softball field is located on the general area where the house stands -- the flattest portion of the property -- with the infield built where the house and parking area now are located and the outfield where the lawn area and some outlying trees are located.
Just over one acre would be used for the field itself, with another 0.5-acre for a gravel driveway and parking lot and .01-acre for restrooms and auxiliary building.
Construction would be done in two phases. During the first phase the driveway access and storm water and erosion controls would be constructed and stabilized, before moving to the second phase and construction of the field.
The field would be used April through October. During the week, practices and an occasional game would be played there after 4:30 p.m., while up to four games would be played on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and dusk, and between three or four games on Sundays from 11 a.m. until dusk.
A traffic analysis by Frederick P. Clark Associates indicates there would be more traffic through the neighborhood, but area roads now have a low volume of traffic and there would be little or no delays at intersections during peak hours.
The report recommends the town post additional speed limit signs, add double-yellow lines at three curves on Hoydens Hill and stop bars at local intersections. In addition, directional signs would be posted .
advising motorists to use Congress Street and Morehouse Highway to access both the field and adjacent golf driving range.