Belmont soccer field’s neighbors vent ire 

Like the grass and dirt field it replaced, the installation of an artificial turf field at Notre Dame de Namur University has been rife with snags, pitfalls and the occasional sore feelings.

Although university students and staff value the new $1 million artificial turf field, residents are concerned that regulations in its use permit have been violated. Those violations have drawn the wrath of a select group of residents near the field.

As a result, the university and city held a meeting Wednesday night to give the community a chance to be heard.

A half-dozen residents spoke out about the noise problems with the field, from whistles, grunts and cheers during games and practices. But almost a dozen discussed their love of NDNU sports and the associated sounds.

Those noises — compounded by Belmont’s natural amphitheater shape — were once buffered by a line of eucalyptus trees that was removed by the city last year during construction of the field.

Risa Horowitz, who lives across the street from the university, said she is concerned not just about the noise, but about any unpermitted uses of the field.

Oblak said he and the university’s staff were working to make sure to enforce their field rules, including restrictions on air horn and alcohol use at sporting events. He also said the school is working to reposition its public announcement system for games to project sound away from the houses across the street and onto the field.

After tempers flared, it was Horowitz’s husband, Sam, who called for compromise, a call seconded by almost every speaker who followed him.

"This is not going to be black and white. No one here is going to get rid of soccer," said Phil Kaster, who complained about the noise but acknowledged that the school had a right to hold sporting events.

Oblak and Belmont Community Development Director Carlos de Melo said they hopeto put together a committee of neighbors, athletes, city leaders and officials to find a compromise on the field’s use.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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