Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter to the County Board from Ellen Jones, Oct. 6

A letter to the County Board from Ellen Jones, who lives on Little Falls Road near Nottingham School. Ellen's letter indicates that neighborhood concern about the lights goes beyond the immediate area around the Bishop O'Connell.

I live at 6052 Little Falls Road in the Williamsburg neighborhood.  I am writing this email to express my concern about the Bishop O’Connell High School proposal to install lights on the school’s athletic fields.  This move has serious implications for our neighborhood in terms of light pollution, traffic, and noise.  While I support the high school's efforts to improve the educational experience for its students, I believe that the school's needs should be balanced against neighborhood needs.

It seems to me that Arlington County is preparing to make a decision on whether to allow the school to go ahead with their plans in an overly-hasty matter.  A decision which has such significant impact on the neighborhood should not be made without (1) adequate measures to alert residents who are both directly and indirectly affected by the move and (2) careful study of the potential impact on neighborhood traffic, parking problems, lighting, and noise.

For these reasons, I urge the County Board to postpone action on Bishop O'Connell's proposal until the above measures are taken.  I understand that the proposal is now scheduled to come up for County Board consideration on 11 December.  At that time, I urge you to postpone a decision on the proposal and map out a strategy to (1) undertake a study to determine exactly how the school intends to use the renovated fields (2) commission studies of the potential impact of these uses on light pollution, traffic, parking and noise in the neighborhood; (3) inform residents in the Williamsburg and Arlington/East Falls Church neighborhoods of the proposal and potential impacts; (4) get informed feedback on the school proposal by eliciting email response from residents and holding neighborhood meetings with open discussions of the proposal.

Please let me know what you intend to do on this issue.
Thank you very much.

Ellen Jones
6052 Little Falls Road
Arlington, VA 22207