Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/town Crier
Zoe Morgan is news editor for the Los Altos High School newspaper, The Talon.
During the Sept. 10 Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees meeting, the issue of temporary lighting at the Mountain View High School football stadium became a point of contention among neighbors.
Members of the Mountain View High football team and their supporters addressed the board with a request to use temporary lighting at their Oct. 26 football game. Many neighborhood residents complained about the plan.
A representative of the school’s Athletic Boosters, Mike Johnson, said the game is scheduled 6:30-9:30 p.m. and would require between six and seven light standards. The sports boosters would fund the temporary lighting privately. Johnson stressed that most other schools in the area have permanent lighting.
Neighbors expressed concerns about the noise level and questioned whether the lights would be limited to one game or if the presentation was aimed at installing permanent lighting. Many neighbors said they were fine with a one-time event but objected to the lights becoming permanent. Others raised the prospect that similar events and/or organizations would want to use the lighting as well.
“My main concern is the ongoing use of permanent lights for soccer games, for all the other type of games. ... Everything that comes with that that is separate and distinct from these six to eight well-choreographed efforts during the year,” local resident Robert DeNean said.
Community and board members worried about a perceived lack of transparency in the process, a sense that neighbors had been sidelined.
Speaking to the group representing the football team, Trustee Susan Sweeley said, “My hope was that you would have gone to the neighborhood before you came here … but you haven’t gone to the neighborhood, so you haven’t solved whatever their problems are.”
“We didn’t eliminate them, we just had a lot of footwork to do,” Johnson said. “For something that’s never, ever been done, it took some time.”
Neighbors asked whether the project might require an Environmental Impact Report. Superintendent Barry Groves said he contacted local city managers, who told him that because the lighting would be temporary, an EIR wasn’t necessary. Groves said he would double-check their response.
Board President Phil Faillace stressed that the process is still in the initial stages in terms of board involvement and there is a long road to go before the board reaches a decision.
A follow-up meeting is scheduled 7 p.m. Oct. 3.