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Mequon Plan Commission OKs lights for outdoor hockey rink

Landowner installed lights before seeking city permit

Feb. 14, 2012

Mequon - A year ago the Plan Commission gave permission for lighting on a platform tennis court to landowner Scott Schroeder but, in the face of strong opposition from neighbors, decided to wait and judge the impact from the lights on that court before approving the lights for an outdoor hockey rink. Schroeder's property is at 10415 W. Vista View Circle.

The lights for the hockey rink were installed without city approval but Robert Nash of Sawfish Contracting appeared before the commission on Monday night asking for the required permit.

According to the staff report, Schroeder has installed large trees on site to help screen the hockey rink and its lights, lowered the height of light poles from the originally proposed 20 feet to 12 feet and reduced the number of poles from 12 to eight. The platform tennis court is adjacent to the rink.

The lights have been on several times, once as a demonstration for the city's code compliance officer and for an hour on Monday night so that commission members could judge the impact of the lighting before the meeting.

Neighbors call to complain

They were also turned on for a hockey game on a Saturday night several weeks ago, resulting in a neighbor's phone call to police and a citation for the owners.

"We attended the original hearing for lighting around the paddle tennis court," said James Bradley, one of several neighbors who came to oppose lights for the hockey rink. "The court was approved, the ice rink was not approved, but the applicant has lighting installed and up."

Neighbors say the lights are highly visible.

"I have a birds-eye view of this," Sid Terry said. "It dominates the landscape. It's bright, we knew it would be."

Kathy Seasholes recalled in January 2011 almost every neighbor came to the commission because of concerns over the lights.

"We prioritized the time to be here then, and I am angry we have to be here tonight," she said.

Member David Westin said his biggest problem with the lighting was the glare it causes, which is visible from Granville Road.

More trees needed

Westin suggested adding more screening next to the rink before allowing its use. Only about 75 percent of the landscaping approved a year ago has been planted, with the remainder to be planted this spring, according to a representative of the owner.

But Westin's suggestion became part of the motion to approve the lights for the hockey rink, which passed by a 6-1 vote with Alderman Dan Abendroth opposed.

The lights must be turned off by 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m.

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