Should A School Curtail Nighttime Activities to Satisfy Nearby Neighbors?

Belmont faces an issue that's not new for many cities: How much influence should neighbors have?


The neighbors near Carlmont High School don't want lights installed on the athletic fields.

A February proposal by school officials suggested four 80-foot light poles be installed, giving opportunity for the Carlmont athletic teams to play in the evening.

With the necessary Environmental Impact Report - requesting public feedback - now filed, the San Jose Mercury News reported the district received eight letters of concern.

Additionally, according to the Merc, a group of neighbors who live on Cranfield Avenue near Carlmont have hired an attorney to mitigate the light project.

In an email to Belmont Local Editor Joan Dentler, school board President Alan Sarver said "The District wishes to meet with the concerned neighbors to review these issues, and is working to set up a meeting soon. Our clear objective is to provide great benefit to the students of Carlmont High School and the Belmont and San Carlos communities, while mitigating identified negative impacts of the project and providing the best possible outcome for our neighbors."

The lawyer representing the group, Tamara Galanter, suggests that to reduce noise and other impacts, Carlmont High School limit the number of hours and events needing the lights. 

The issue is not a new one. Just to our south, Cupertino neighbors adjacent to Monta Vista High School on April 10 found themselves on the short end of a 5-0 vote at a

The board approved stadium lighting for the school and rejected noise mitigating efforts to install, at public cost, sound insulating windows in resident’s homes and noise barriers along the school’s athletic perimeter, ending a debate which had divided the community for more than two years.

“Some of us who moved here in the 60s and 70s remember that we were promised by Monta Vista High School that there would never be lights at the football stadium,” resident Pat Dentinger wrote the Fremont Union High School District Board of Trustees back in March.

When the Carlmont version of the story posted on our Belmont Patch site this morning, readers gave immediate opinions. By 7:30 a.m., a little more than an hour after publication, the story, containing a poll, already had more than 25 votes, pro and con. More than 80 had been received by 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, along with many comments, 71 percent in favor of allowing the school to have lights.

What's your feeling? Should schools be allowed to have athletic field lights and hold nighttime events, though it may disturb nearby neighbors? Are property values decreased because of the nocturnal activity? Are those opposed to lights and nighttime activity just a bunch of NIMBY's?

Let us know what you think, with your comments, and your votes.

(Writer Martin Towar contributed to this article from Cupertino.)

Anne April 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I would guess there are already proms and plays. And basketball games going on at night. Why not football? If it is the microphone start the games early so they are finished at a reasonable hour.
Angelique April 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Speaking for a South City school without lights (El Camino HS) and a 32 yr resident just a block away, YES the school and kids deserve lights! It is something special for the players to play under the lights in the evening, a different pride of the game, a different level, more parents can attend since they would be off of work. There are already noise ordinances in place so games would have to end by a certain time anyway. You people made a decision to move near a school lights or not! Stop being OLD fuddy duddy's and let the kids have their lights!
Andrew April 14, 2012 at 07:13 PM
People who bought houses near CHS should have known that there would be a considerable amount of noise coming from the school. I totally support the project.
DJ April 15, 2012 at 04:56 AM
This is a great idea for the community and for the school. The games aren't going to go on past people's bedtimes...are they? There are other things to complain about. Let the young people in our community have their healthy evening activities. This makes sense for everyone.
Lin April 16, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Really? We to support our schools. the lights will not be on 24/7 only for events.,


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