Letter: Pro-turf letter is inaccurate

To the Editors:

This responds to Jeff Siegel’s letter published Oct. 8, 2015 .

Standing — What evidence has Wilton Youth Football presented to the Planning and Zoning  Commission that it has a legal interest in the Middlebrook football field as required by the commission’s special permit application? Answer: None.

By way of context, the Zoning Board of Appeals, its planner Bob Nerney, and its lawyers all ignored the legal requirement that a variance can be granted only if a ”legal,” not just any hardship, is demonstrated — a legal hardship being limited to unusual physical characteristics which make compliance with zoning regulations impossible or nearly so. The group instead adopted their own definition and the variance was thrown out of Stamford Superior Court on Feb. 11, 2015 by Judge Lee.

The commission has asked those same lawyers to opine on the standing issue. No opinion is in the P&Z file. That absence speaks more loudly than Mr. Siegel’s inapposite statement for example, that “No town entity opposes the project.” Wow! Nothing in the P&Z record shows that the Wilton Health Department approved the project or that it was ever asked for approval. Mr. Siegel is in a position to know why that’s the case because he is a director of Wilton Youth Football, a fact he chose not to reveal in his letter.

Safety — Does Mr. Siegel expect anyone to believe that  “…the current field and lights are dangerously unsafe.” If so, why would WYF squander resources on lawyers instead of rock-removal efforts?  Are rocks left in place so the so-called safety issues, presented by their presence, can be kept alive? I hope not.

Finances — “WYF will help offset the replacement cost [of the turf].” Where’s the proof? What about liability for injuries to the public or to visiting teams? If ordered to remove the turf, will WYF have resources to respond? Is WYF’s “gift” a ticking time bomb that would affect every Wilton taxpayer?

Lights — Mr. Siegel extols the claim that the proposed lights will reduce glare and spill by 99% but fails to note that the existing lights are illegal and the extolled lights are also illegal. The extolled lights violate density, spill and uplighting P&Z regulations.

Rely on Bob Nerney’s advice when he says the commission can interpret its own regulations? One commissioner admonished Mr. Nerney that the commission cannot interpret a regulation requiring lights to be pointed downward to mean they can be pointed upward!

Siegel’s view that the P&Z regs are mere guidelines ignores the explicit terms of the lighting regulations themselves which use the word “shall” in relation to each of the lighting issues presented. The word shall is itself defined by the regulations: “The word ‘shall’ is mandatory and not discretionary.”

The real reason for turf?

Anna Marie Bilella, board member of Wilton Youth Field Hockey, spelled it out for the selectmen:

"We want the turf because we want to have jamborees and tournaments, which will bring in people eating in Wilton and shopping in Wilton, gas up in Wilton.” BOS meeting, 9/3/13

Her statement has never been publicly disavowed.
Anthony F. LoFrisco
Wilton, Oct. 12