University may see more play 

It has taken more than five years, but the ruckus over a college lacrosse field in Belmont may finally be drawing to a conclusion.
On July 6, Notre Dame de Namur University will ask the Planning Commission to finally lift the austere restrictions that have been in place on its Koret Field since 2005 because of a handful of neighbors’ concerns about noise.

The move will be opposed by some neighbors, who say the field continues to make too much of a din, but has been supported by other neighbors, who say the noise is reasonable. It is also supported by a host of community sports teams, who want to be able to rent the field for practices and games.

The disagreement over the field began when the university asked Belmont for permission to renovate its field. After neighbors voiced concerns about noise, the Planning Commission adopted a strict conditional-use permit, limiting the time for practice and play on the field to certain hours, certain days and certain teams.

The university also agreed to build a noise-absorbing berm along one side of the field, plant 30 trees and restructure its sound system.

NDNU President Judith Greig noted that the university even went to the trouble of buying every whistle it could find, testing them to see which carried the least into surrounding neighborhoods, and then requiring those whistles to be used at games.

Despite these actions, some neighbors continued to have a problem with the noise generated by the field and, in response, the university paid for an acoustic analysis. After that analysis determined the field’s noise did not exceed the city’s decibel limits, the neighbors requested the city pay for a second analysis. That survey arrived at the same conclusion.

After meeting several more times with the handful of neighbors that were still concerned about the issue, the university asked the city to lift the restrictions imposed in the original conditional use permit, to allow the field to have a more normal schedule of use.

In September, the Planning Commission had a public hearing on the request. Six people spoke out against changing the restrictions, while 28 people spoke in favor of it. Ultimately, the commission asked Belmont Community Development Director Carlos de Melo to develop a more-liberal set of terms for the permit. Those new terms have finally been outlined and will be discussed in a meeting Tuesday night, de Melo said.

Greig said she is looking forward to finding resolution to the issue.

“We would just like to put it behind us,” she said. “We’d just like to get it resolved and move on.”

Kicking it around

The debate continues on when Koret Field should be used.

Current restrictions

Only Notre Dame de Namur University and Notre Dame High School are allowed to use the field during the school year, and only youth sports camps can use the fields during the summer.

Practice times are restricted to Mondays through Fridays, during the following hours and months:

  • August: 10 a.m.-dusk
  • September through November: 8 a.m.-dusk
  • December: 3 p.m.-dusk (high school only)
  • January through April: 8 a.m.- dusk

Games can be played during the following hours:

  • Weekends: Games can be scheduled at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
  • Weekdays: Games can be scheduled at 3 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.

Restrictions requested by university

There are no restrictions on who can use the field. Games and practices can be held during the following hours:

  • Weekdays: 7:30 a.m. to a half-hour after sunset
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. to a half-hour after sunset
  • Sundays: 9 a.m. to a half-hour after sunset

Source: City of Belmont

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Katie Worth

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