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Baseball Field Lights Permit Measure Moves to City Council

The Richfield City Council will review the conditional use permit at its Sept. 11 meeting.

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got a little closer to getting permission to i after the Richfield Planning Commission approved a recommendation to grant a conditional use permit .

The field lights are part of a total field revamp, which is already underway. The in the project in June and even . Obviously, .

While the measure passed the commission, it was done so with the condition that the school district would adhere to city policies when it came to how long the lights could be on. The city requires its lighted fields to be dark by 11 p.m., but most commission members preferred a 10 p.m. lights out time. The condition was agreed upon after much discussion and even a little bickering among commissioners.

The commission also had concerns about the need for the lights, considering only four games a season are played in the evening and usually at the already lighted .

"[The board felt] If we're going to renovate the facility we should do everything to make it a world class facility," said. "It's [also] more cost effective to do it when you are renovating the field, [rather than after]."

Commissioner Gordon Vizecky sensed that some other commission members were concerned about how the school chose to spend its money, but said that wasn't the issue at hand.

"It's not our place to substitute our judgement on what should've been done or could've been done with district dollars," he said.

In addition, the commission wanted to ensure the neighborhood was not adversely affected by the lights as the school may take the opportunity to rent the facility to other area teams, increasing traffic, noise and use of the lights. Chair Rick Jabs and Commissioner Tom Rublein felt the district should've been ready to provide more information about how long the lights would be used, how often, by which teams and so on.

"I think you needed to come in here with some rules on how you're going to play the game," Jabs said.

Schwartz said the school board hadn't decided whether it would rent out the facility, however, it was always looking for ways to raise revenue. Further, he said they hadn't discussed the other logistics as they weren't sure if they even had the city's approval to go ahead with the installation.

The commission's recommendation sends the measure to the Richfield City Council Sept. 11 for final approval. At that time the council may require additional conditions. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at .

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