Marin Catholic High School is proposing to hold night games and sports practices at its athletic stadium, adding four 80-foot light poles for illumination, and neighbors are concerned about noise and traffic.
The school envisions 10 weekend night games per year, with maximum attendance of 1,500 people; weeknight soccer and lacrosse games, which draw about 200; and weeknight practices. The low-glare lights would go off at 10 p.m., according to the school’s website.
“I live on Corte Balboa at the upper end of the bowl adjacent to the stadium,” said Jim McClellan, who is among a number of people expressing concerns. “We hear every call, every single whistle during daytime practice.
“We have grown used to it; it’s part of the neighborhood. But having these games broadcast at night” is a different matter, he said. “Many families nearby have children who go to bed before 10 p.m. It would be more difficult for those children to fall asleep.”
While the school did not address McClellan’s specific noise concern, it did address noise in a FAQ page on its website.
McClellan added, “Traffic is bad already on Sir Francis Drake (Boulevard). This can’t help but make it worse.”
The school acknowledges cheering fans would be a part of the action, but said use would be capped “to a designated number of weekend nights per year, versus Saturday afternoons,” according to the website.
The school is doing a traffic study and the results will be made public, according to school officials. Officials also pledge to hire a security company to help with traffic flow and public safety.
The next step will be to file an application with the county for a permit, said Mike Bentivoglio, a Marin Catholic Board of Regents member who is heading up the initiative for the school.
“We’ve been using the current football season to gather data. We want to be able to reach out to the community with data and analysis,” Bentivoglio said. “We are very close to having those reports done.”
Shortly after the reports are done, “we will file an application with the county,” he said. “I hope it will happen within a month, but the holidays may slow things down.”
Asked about the noise concerns, Bentivoglio said, “We don’t want to get into details.”
“While it’s still early in the process, we believe if we bring this state-of-the-art lighting system to the stadium, it will be a positive addition to the community.” Creating a limited number of community events “in a controlled, safe environment” would benefit not only the school but visiting teams and the community, he said.
“The lights can also help us solve a real challenge in providing adequate field time for various soccer, football and lacrosse games and practices,” Bentivoglio said.
“Our proposal will remain sensitive to our neighbors as we attempt to create these new recreational opportunities for our youth,” he said. The school has had informational meetings, most recently on Nov. 12, about the proposal.
“Marin Catholic has hosted up to 1000 spectators for Friday night basketball games for years without serious traffic or public safety incidents,” according to the FAQs.
“No one in the neighborhood has a problem with the school. They have been a good neighbor,” McClellan said. “What we are opposing is Marin Catholic’s assumed right to transform our neighborhood into something it shouldn’t be. That for us is the heart of this proposed project.”