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DEVELOPING — Diocese Sues Arlington Over Bishop O’Connell Lights

by ARLnow.com — June 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm 10,673 209 Comments

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced today that it is suing Arlington County.

The suit was filed in response to the County Board’s denial of a request by Bishop O’Connell high school to add lights to its athletic fields.

The Diocese issued the following statement tonight about its legal action.

“The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has filed an action in Arlington County Circuit Court challenging the Arlington County Board of Supervisors’ March 15, 2011, denial of a proposal to add lighting to existing athletic fields at Bishop J. O’Connell High School in Arlington – the addition of which would afford its students the same opportunities as public high schools in the region.

Arlington County had previously approved similar lights at its own public high schools which, like Bishop O’Connell, are located adjacent to residential neighborhoods. In fact, the fields of the public high schools – Washington-Lee, Yorktown and Wakefield – are close to a greater number of homes than those of Bishop O’Connell, as O’Connell’s football field is located across the street from a county elementary school and park.

As a matter of law and of fundamental fairness, there is no reasonable basis for the Board to treat Bishop O’Connell in a very different manner than the county treats its own high schools. The Diocese’s circuit court complaint, filed April 12, 2011, notes that “Bishop O’Connell and the County’s public high schools are similarly situated in all relevant respects with regard to lighted athletic fields. The Board’s denial treats Bishop O’Connell and the Diocese, religious institutions, on terms that are different from the public high schools.”

The Board’s denial of Bishop O’Connell’s application for a Use Permit amendment therefore was discriminatory, the complaint concludes, because “there is no basis, rational or otherwise, for the Board’s discrimination between such applications.”

“We want to continue to improve the school and continue to offer an excellent faith-based education to the citizens of Arlington who choose it for their children,” said diocesan Superintendent of Schools Sr. Bernadette McManigal, B.V.M. “Athletics are but one aspect of a total high school education, but it is an important one. Allowing us to improve the athletic fields helps us to continue to offer excellent faith-based education.”

The proposed lighting would benefit not only Bishop O’Connell students, but the whole community, as the proposal included use of the fields by Arlington County’s recreation department. The fields also could be used by Marymount University’s NCAA Division III track, field hockey and baseball teams.

Bishop O’Connell has been located on the same site on Little Falls Road in Arlington for 50 years. It is one of five Catholic schools in Arlington County – Bishop O’Connell and four parochial elementary/middle schools – with a combined enrollment of 2,140 students. Based upon the Arlington Public Schools’ expenditures per student, these five Catholic schools save the taxpayers over $41.7 million per year. Bishop O’Connell alone saves taxpayers over $21 million per year.”

Earlier this week county officials declined to comment about the suit.

“We are aware of the lawsuit, but we have not yet been served,” said county spokeswoman Diana Sun. “At this point, there’s nothing to react to.”

A group of residents who actively opposed O’Connell’s lighting request published the following statement about the Diocese’s action.

On April 12, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington filed a lawsuit against the County Board in Circuit Court to reverse the board’s March decision rejecting Bishop O’Connell’s use permit to light its athletic fields. The lawsuit asks the court to have the board reconsider the application within 60 days and, if the board won’t, prevent the county from stopping O’Connell from installing the lights.

We believe the lawsuit is without merit and we are confident that the Circuit Court will uphold the Board’s decision. County Board members were thorough and fair in considering the application. They met repeatedly with representatives of the school and neighborhood and visited the area to get a first-hand view of the facility and the impact the lights would have. County staff members and Board members heard from hundreds of citizens, pro and con. At the school’s request, its application was deferred five times over a 6-month period, which gave school officials ample opportunity to resolve questions raised by the neighbors and county staff.

Although the Diocese argues that Bishop O’Connell was treated differently than other schools, there is no evidence of any discrimination against O’Connell. The record for the decision demonstrates that O’Connell is not similarly situated to other schools with lighted athletic fields and that, in fact, the Arlington public schools with lighted athletic fields are markedly different from O’Connell in every respect relevant to the issuance of a special use permit.

Board members at the March 15 meeting indicated they opposed the lights because O’Connell could not satisfy the statutory requirements for issuing a permit. Board Member Mary Hynes said lights would be an “unsettling disruption” to the neighborhood. Chairman Chris Zimmerman said although the county had elected to install synthetic turf on some of its lighted athletic fields, there will also be county synthetic fields “where it would not be appropriate to have lights.” Chairman Zimmerman noted, “the whole point of zoning and land use is to provide for different intensities of use in different locations.” Bishop O’Connell High School is zoned R-6/R-8 single-family residential. Acknowledging this reality, Zimmerman said “lights by nature do have inherently intrusive impact” and that “all property owners benefit when our use of property is restricted. This gives us reasonable expectations of what goes on next to us.”

After a thorough consideration, the County Board rejected the application. So we find O’Connell’s appeal to be groundless, and we are confident that the Circuit Court will agree.

  • dino

    Breaking News: Church Sues County to be Bringer of Light.

    • TGEoA

      Awesome

  • ArlForester

    Go get em, O’Connell!! Clearly the denial was biased. There would be no more than 6 or 7 homes even remotely affected.

    • Bill

      A lot more than 6 or 7 homes would be affected. You are forgetting that 2/3 of the lights — and the brightest ones — are down near Trinidad street, where a lot of homes are clustered.

      • mr. Ed

        get over it… you choose to live next to a high school…

        • GetReal

          +1….if you thought this high school would never expand, improve, or change the scope of their footprint, like EVERY other high school in Arlington is doing, you made a big miscalculation. I live near Yorktown, and believe me, the huge changes they are making are way more of an inconvenience than athletic field lighting! But, I knew what to expect when living in close proximity to a high school….

  • MayorOfWestover

    I have no dog in the fight over this issue, but I’m pulling for the Catholics, just to see how far the hubris of the Board can go.

  • BoredHouseWife

    good for them. that was a bs decision.

  • jim bob lowdog

    Please let the facts get in the way: the lights are not the same as at the public high school — instead the proposed lights were much, much brighter and much taller to meet NCAA requirements for Marymont.

    • Undereducated

      Lowdog, you know that is a red herring. The fact is NIMBYism is at work here. The improvements proposed by OC, including the lighting, are in the best interest of the community, but unfortunately to the detriment of a few; but hey, life is long and then you die.

      • TGEoA

        I don’t live near there, so this doesn’t affect me, but his point is valid. The school was only willing to have the high powered lights to accommodate Marymount. And this is part of the reason the plan got shot down.

        • Undereducated

          I don’t recall there being any reported discussion between the County, OC, and the neighbors to negotiate the intensity of the lights. The neighbors or the planning staff could have broached that subject, but they didn’t. The inflexibility is on the part of the neighbors; any lighting at any intensity is a non-starter for them, and that ironically is what will eventually result in lights at OC.

          Go OC.

          • TGEoA

            You don’t recall? Well read through the comments of the other articles on Arlnow related to this subject. The type and height of lights proposed was brought up many times before the vote was taken.

            From my limited knowledge of the situation, the lighting situation proposed was an all or nothing approach. Unless Marymount got the types of lights they needed, then the Diocese wasn’t going to put in any lighting at all.

            And its not the job of the neighbors or county to propose alternatives. OC was the petitioner and should have done that legwork themselves.

          • Undereducated

            Yes, the type and height of lights were brought up as an issue but from the perspective of the opponents. Show me where the county told OC that the lights they are proposing are not within code in Arlington County. Show me what height and type of lights are according to code. Show me where the opponents put forth an alternative or proposed a compromise. You can’t, and that points to the arbitrary and capricious decision of the board. It’s not up to the petitioner to continually bring “rocks” to the CB in hopes that some day they will find one to be acceptable. Development of schools, not just public, but parochial too, is in the best interest of the county as a whole. Its a fact that sometimes the individual is impacted for the good of the whole. The project proposed by OC will be an asset to our neighborhood and to Arlington County.

          • TGEoA

            So OC should come back with a new proposal using lower and less intense lights and see what the board does then. If they get rejected then they MIGHT have a leg to stand on that they are being treated unfairly. I say might, because the footprint of the field was also an issue IIRC.

            Also the unwillingness of OC of opening of the field to community use as per the county’s request probably had a factor in the decision.

          • Stu Pendus

            Please use the native abbreviation for O’Connell: DJO.

      • podunk

        Undereducated, you completely ignored a very valid point. Man up and confront the issue instead of blabbering about NIMBYism.

    • Narlington

      All county High School lights are NCAA standard thats why marymount used to play its games at Yorktown High School. The reason they don’t play at that location is because it got to busy with other county sports. Georgetown University plays its baseball game at Quincy park & Barcroft. Oh and Quincy park has lights paid for by the schools for Washington – Lee HS baseball & softball.

      Get over it you moved next to a high school the school has been in that location for over 50 years, so if you moved in after that, thats you problem.

      • narlno

        No, that is not correct. The other county schools do not use lights of that intensity.

        • Sensibility

          Again, the neighbors are trying to use the “sensitivity of the lights” argument. If that’s the deal breaker, then make a compromise with the school. The real issue is that the neighbors don’t want lights at all, period. Which is grossly unreasonable.

          • TGEoA

            FACT: OC claims they want the same opportunity to have lights like like APS.

            FACT: APS Schools have lower height/intensity than OC has proposed

            FACT: Marymount will only contribute funding for the lights if they get the higher intensity

            POSSIBLE: Neighbors don’t want any lights under any circumstances

            Now I don’t know if Marymount backing out is a deal breaker, but OC had (and still does) the ability to come back with a proposal for lower intensity lights. If they do they take away a major argument from the neighbors.

            But instead you have a bunch of people screaming about anti catholic bias. What a friggin joke.

  • RuhRoh

    And here I assumed all the Catholic Church’s legal funds were tied up on the defensive end(!)..

    • Disappointed

      As a Catholic, I am disturbed that the Diocese is spending its money on this lawsuit. If any of us citizens, with our residentially-zoned properties (O’Connell is also residentially-zoned, not zoned like the public schools), had been denied a variance request or a special use permit, would we have the power to threaten a lawsuit? O’Connell did not meet the requirements for a special use permit. Why should O’Connell not be subject to the zoning laws that the rest of us have to follow?

      • Undereducated

        Matter of fact, yes, you could sue the county for not granting a variance. You would base your suit on a claim that the CB decision was arbitrary and capricious. I am disturbed that yet more of my property tax dollars are being wasted by the CB to defend themselves.

      • Narlington

        all schools are zoned in residential areas, OC is not residential no one lives at the school. another person who has no idea what they are talking about talking

        • nancy

          No, you are wrong. Look at a zoning map. Most schools and parks are zoned S (special usage), but DJO is zoned R6/R8 (residential).

  • Dressage Queen

    I don’t understand what the problem is. Washington and Lee has lights so why is it a problem for Bishop O’Connell? I support Bishop O’Connell on this. Good luck to Bishop O’Connell, hope you get your lighting.

    • nancy

      Washington Lee only has a football field on its property, and that lighted field has been there for many decades. O’Connell’s plan has its brightest lights, and far more of them, on the baseball portion, which is also the portion that is closest to the largest number of neighborhood homes. It has a limited amount of space to work with, so there is no way for O’Connell to move the baseball field farther away from the neighbors, as you see at Yorktown.

      But in the end, the difference is zoning. The zoning for the O’Connell property is different from that of those other schools, and neighbors do have a right to expect zoning regulations to be followed.

      • GetReal

        How does the fact that W-L has had lights for many years support your argument? At some point in the past, lights were added, and I guarantee a lot of the houses around W-L were there at the time. Things change. It’s not unreasonable for a high school, also a property owner (whether tax paying or not makes no difference – public schools don’t pay taxes either) should be able to modify their property.

        • nancy

          Where it matters is the concept of grandfathering and the difference between that and changing the status quo. The original lights at W-L were installed during a different time, under different regulations, with different standards for neighborhood approvals of projects. Had W-L been operating without lights all this time, and just now sought approval for the change, I think it is very likely that such a request would have been denied.

          • GetReal

            Please….I call BS on that. The county does what the county wants for its county high schools. W-L would get lights regardless of the regulations, standards, approvals, etc. The CB would grant them any variance.

            Yorktown is a great example, the CB did what they wanted to make sure everything got through.

      • Narlington

        they put in new lights when the new building opened they have not been there for decades. The lights on W-L football stadium are also NCAA standard the same as OC wants to put in.

        • Nancy

          Lights have been there for many decades, just not those particular lights. And I do not believe that those are NCAA lights.

          • narlno

            They are not NCAA-level lights.

  • charlie

    this isn’t the first time the County has been sued by a property owner over a DENIAL. And it won’t be the first time the County will LOOSE.
    The decision was absolutely arbitrary and will not hold up under law.

    • TGEoA

      I doubt it. O.C. has to prove they were treated differently.

  • BallstonDweller

    Why can’t the public schools be treated differently, since they are, well, public? I can head over to Washington and Lee pretty much any time to use the track there. Does anyone know if this is the same at Bishop O’Connell?

    • Debbie S

      I’m sure you can use the track once you pay your tuition. We pay county taxes and tuition and can use both facilities.

      • BallstonDweller

        I don’t plan on paying tuition.

        My point was–everyone pays taxes and everyone can use Washington and Lee. It may inconvenience some, but everyone in the vicinity and any taxpayer, or even non-taxpayer, can benefit. If this isn’t the case for BO, and it will benefit those who belong or pay tuition, then that is a different case and they don’t have the “public good” argument that would justify negatively affecting neighbors or their home values.

        • TGEoA

          Yeah, and the argument that OC is benefiting by taking students off of Arlington rolls is a little suspect, considering a good chunk of their students come from Fairfax.

          • TomTom

            It wasn’t just O’Connell, but all the Catholic schools in Arlington. While O’Connell may draw a majority of its population from Fairfax, all of the elementary schools draw almost exclusively from Arlington.

            I would imagine they used only their Arlington-residing students in their cost-savings calculations, otherwise that figure would have to be spread across all representing localities at O’Connell.

          • BallstonDweller

            Actually, wondering about the “savings to taxpayer” argument. They seem to be taking the cost expenditure per student and multiplying it by students. Does the country really send an additional check for that amount to a school if say, someone transfers from a private school to a public one? Or is the expenditure estimate total expenditures/number of students? Unless there is an additional check per student (i.e. a marginal cost), then their math doesn’t really add. There may be a long term difference in the fiscal year budget for a school depending on enrollment, but not really a 1:1 ratio or an immediate affect.

          • Facts

            O’Connell is wrong in their numbers. They seem to be basing their numbers on the idea that all 1200 students are from Arlington County. Actually, only 11% are Arlington County residents, most are from Fairfax. APS figures indicate $18,115 spent per student. Someone check the math, but the most you could suggest was saved was $2.4 million, not $21 million. And that’s not taking into account economies of scale, and the fact that O’Connell pays no property taxes. I don’t know if they are intentionally misleading, or they don’t understand math. Either way, I’d be embarrassed to have submitted this press release.

          • nancy

            Exactly. This is a common fallacy when computing educational costs. The “average” costs per Arlington student include a lot of fixed costs, as well as higher costs for students with significant special needs and need expensive services or residential or private placements. The marginal cost of a typical kid with involved parents (which defines most kids whose parents seek out a parochial school) is very close to zero. In fact, losing members of this population can be seen as a net loss to the school district, as their presence in the classroom is valuable.

            Combined with the fact that O’Connell pays no property taxes, and the small number of Arlington residents attending the school, the argument that the school is owed special treatment due to its savings to the Arlington taxpayer just doesn’t hold water.

        • Westover

          O’Connell allows individuals to use the fields and track when they are not using it, just as W&L, Yorktown, and Wakefield allow use of their track and fields when other organized activities are not taking place.

          • Bill

            Nope. Locked gates, all the time.

          • OhC’Mon

            My son plays little league baseball at DJO, and DJO does not charge the league for use of their fields. Also, whenever there’s been last minute scheduling conflicts with other gyms for winter basketball, DJO has always allowed us to use their auxiliary gym.

            Over the years, even though the majority of our team is comprised of APS students, DJO has always been very gracious to us. They have even sponsored free sports clinics for the youngsters with their coaching staff and students that have been better than many of the ones you pay to attend. So, I disagree here.

          • Bill

            I’m glad that your coaches have built a relationship with the coaches at DJO, but that isn’t really the same thing as a public field where people can decide to run or walk during the day, without being part of an official team.

          • OhC’Mon

            It’s not just relationships with the coaches, it’s a positive relationship with the whole school. Don’t say they don’t allow people to use their fields when that’s simply not the case. Anytime we’ve ever called the school for neighborhood pickup games, random scrimmages, or just general activities, they have always opened their fields.

            Maybe instead of feeling entitled, you should call the school and simply ask.

          • OhC’MonOhC’Mon

            Of course the coaches want to have a chance to sponsor free clinics and get a chance to work with the little league kids. That’s how they locate good players and persuade to come to O’Connell! They’ve always had a great baseball team, and they find a lot of their kids that way.

          • justasliberalastherestbut

            Well, you pay for the liability insurance on the public school fields so you should be able to use them

    • Linda Edquist

      The difference between the Arlington Public Schools and Bishop O’Connell is that no one in the neighborhood (or the county) is allowed to use any of their athletic fields. They are locked. On top of that the use of the field lights was not just for the high school but they are proposing opening the fields up to Marymount College – and the neighborhood is not designed to accommodate college crowds for games.

      • TomTom

        O’Connell, in trying to work with the neighborhood, offered use of their facilities (both fields and their building). See http://www.bishopoconnell.org/page.cfm?p=534, links on right hand side. Lots of info there.

        • Bill

          Vague promises of limited access after some sort of vetting process do not make it equivalent to a public setting. I can walk the track at W-L or Yorktown any time I want, except during certain events. That is not and never has been the case at O’Connell.

          • GetReal

            Pretty sure if you look at their proposed MOU, which the neighborhood wanted nothing to do with, you get the same access to the fields and facilities as what you would get at W-L or Yorktown. But frankly, the neighborhood has never wanted/liked O’Connell so why would they have catered to your sense of “entitlement” to their fields over the years? This is nothing but a bunch of over-involved, whiny, hypersensitive NIMBYs (and yes, this is NIMBYism) at work here.

            And if you hate lights so much, please, come take them down at Yorktown because if you don’t want slight disturbance from some lights, I don’t want them near my house (where your kids go or probably will go) either!

          • Bill

            The MOU is very vague on this topic, and the guy at the neighborhood meeting said that people wanting access would need to be “vetted” first. That doesn’t sound at all like a public field.

          • GetReal

            Have you ever reserved any space (facilities or fields) at a county property before? Believe me, there’s a vetting process….and there should be for the protection of all the students at the schools.

          • Bill

            Not talking about reserving fields, I’m talking about individuals walking or running on the track. You can do that at the public schools even during many games and events. The question was specifically about individual use, and there is no real plan except for a vague reference to times when it is not being used and vetted users.

          • Undereducated

            You are mixing apples and oranges. OC field is school owned. Yorktown does not have an athletic field, Yorktown uses Greenbrier Park for athletics.

      • The Native

        I call BS.

      • JohnW

        College crowds for games? Funny, this isn’t Div I football or basketball. This is Div III track, field hockey & baseball. The “crowds” are nonexistent and actually much smaller than high school games. The D-III players travel by bus, so no extra parking for players’ personal cars. Student support for the games or meets consist of a few friends of the players and the coaching staff. Even fewer parents are present since these are college kids and their ‘rents for many of them do not live nearby. So crowd concerns is a non issue.

        • Frenchy B

          Exactly. In fact, most of Marymount’s teams currently play at either W & L or Yorktown. I doubt anyone has ever noticed their ‘crowds’.

      • GMo

        College Crowds & Marymount University? What are you smoking. Div. III Sports and the school has a population of under 5000 including their Grad students. Puh-leez.

        MU is a suitcase school anyhow.

        • ArlForester

          Exactly. There are more people at any O’Connell event than Marymount. I went to both and know this very well. Marymount sports get almost no spectators off campus.

      • Westover

        Something change in the last five years? I used to use the track all the time, no locked gates or anything.

    • Narlington

      who would you sue if you slip and fall at W-L track the county… OC doesn’t want dumb neighbors to trip and fall on there property and sue them. After the neighbors treated the school I would also keep it close as a big FU.

      • Bill

        Actually, that’s fine. O’Connell is a private school, and they have every right to lock their fields, and I can certainly understand that liability would be an issue. My problems is with the people who keep claiming that individual members of the public may access O’Connell’s fields, and that is not true.

        • MoveOn

          As someone who lives by DJO, I see fellow neighbors walking on their property all the time, especially dog walkers….and many times, they don’t pick up their poop. Also, I taught all three of my kids how to drive in their parking lots, and have used their gyms.

          If it’s such a big deal, why don’t you just walk around the track of “I’m a big whiny baby”.

          • Bill

            Jeez. Grow up. I’m just correcting a mistake.

          • TomTom

            It wasn’t a mistake. Jeez.

          • Gor

            Well now I’m miffed. When my daughter and I decided to try some practice driving in the O’Connell parking lot on a quiet Sunday afternoon, a couple dudes came from the school and told us it was private property and we had to leave. Why do they like you better?

            We had to go drive around the Mormons instead.

  • Lacey Forest

    Let’s be very clear that the lights O’Connell is asking for (I guess demanding, now) are different from the lights at Yorktown or W&L. They are taller and brighter, meeting NCAA requirements not VHSL requirements.

    • Undereducated

      So you would support the proposal if the lights were VHSL compliant?

      • ArlForester

        You won’t get an honest answer to this. The whole thing reeks of typical NIMBYism.

        • doodly

          Hey, ArlForester, how about you shut up and let people speak for themselves?

          • Sensibility

            He did, and then he spoke for himself!

          • doodly

            He did neither.

          • doodly

            Oh, wait, I get it.

      • Lacey Forest

        Yes, I would. I’ve been a VHSL football official for 14 years and have worked under lights like those at W&L. They’re fine. If O’Connell were asking for equal treatment in comparison to APS fields, I’d say the county board made the wrong decision. But they are not asking for equal treatment. They asking for carte blanche to put up any kind of lighting they want.

        • ArlForester

          Oh horse crap. They would have denied any lights there and everyone who has followed this over the years knows it. If the different lights were an option, the board would have suggested it. Alas, they did not.

          • lse

            If they allowed the residents of Arlington County to some fair use of the fields THEN I think that the discussion would be different. I am not even sure if they compensate the county for the Tuckahoe field that they use for some of their sports practice – I would be interested in knowing that since leagues pay for the field use.
            Also remember that the Majority of the students are not from Alrington County but they are from Fairfax. Another element that makes this situation different from the other public high schools here.

          • Sam

            I’m not Catholic, but it is a private school on private property. In my opinion, they shouldn’t have to allow for use of their property in return for approval for lights.

          • TGEoA

            That’s how the County Board rolls. If you want permits, you have to sweeten the pot. They did the same exact thing when Army/Navy CC wanted to redo some of their facilities. The county negotiated an easement for a bike path through the CC property.

            I’ll give the CB props for at least being consistent.

          • TomTom

            Bishop O’Connell was offering use of the athletic fields to the community – that was part of their deal. They also currently let Tuckahoe Elementary use their auditorium and gyms for some events throughout the school year.

            Also, the neighbors have long used the whole “majority of kids come from Fairfax…” argument. I don’t see how when kids are on the fields playing sports, what county they reside in matters. The fields will be used for sports, whether a kid is from Arlington or Fairfax doesn’t change how the game is played or how the lights are used…

  • N.Arl.Guy

    I happened to see the board meeting on tv the very night this issue was being discussed and decided. I think they should get the lights they are requesting. All of the county high schools are in neighborhoods and they have the more powerful light system. I understand the concerns some of the neighbors have expressed esp. since we are two blocks away but when you choose to live directly across from a high school structure, these issues will occur over time.

  • MayorOfWestover

    Favola, Catholics, Marymount, etc. Sounds like a business deal gone bad.Good luck in Richmond.

  • jim

    way to go catholics!

  • SoCo Resident

    How about no lights for a variety of good moral reasons and to educate students about the world. Artificial lights may be messing with our hormones and causing breast cancer. Such lights use a great deal of energy for what- sport! The money should be directed to education and the lowly paid catholic teachers. There’s plenty of daylight time for playing sports and kids probably should be home at night.

    I went to an outstanding catholic school, academically and athletically, with no field lights of course. They have absolutely nothing to do with acheiving quality schools and everythign to do with teaching “excess.” Too bad the Diocese is missing the opportunity to take the moral high road here.

    • ArlForester

      Worst. Argument. Ever.

    • SoCo Resident

      So much for a “green” Arlington or respect for God’s universe.

      • ArlForester

        What the heck are you babbling about? Did the nuns hit you too hard?

        • SoCo Resident

          Interesting that talking about a “green” community, preserving energy and natural resources, having respect for the universe and being terribly concerned about unnatural light disrupting hormones (i.e. breast cancer cause) is “babbling” according to “ArlForester.”

          • ArlForester

            It is when it is completely unrelated to the topic at hand. Breast cancer? You might want to adjust that tin foil beanie.

          • SoCo Resident

            Lights direct link to breast cancer is hardly unrelated to this story about overpowering lighting. Women living near such are more susceptible to breast cancer. So is it immoral for the catholic church to expose girls and women to breast cancer? Personal attacker “ArlForester” is welcome to educate himself on this.
            See:
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/19/AR2008021902398.html

          • TGEoA
          • Burger

            This survey is complete crap. There are 400 different ways I can poke holes into this position.

            For example, people in urban environments have greater access to healthcare (particularly in Israel where the survey was conducted) then the farm regions. This means a person has a greater chance to live longer and die from non-infectious disease which kills people younger, thus lowering the rate of people in less lighted areas.

            Cancer rates are going up all over the place also because we are living longer

            How does living in an urban environment translate to athletic field lights.

            So, please, spare us…

          • doodly

            To Burger (2nd time trying to post this comment):

            Did you read the article? It says:

            “After using neighborhood data to correct for other factors that can affect cancer rates, including wealth, ethnicity and the average number of children in families living in those localities…”

          • Burger

            doodly,

            when you use the word “correct” in any research you are naturally making that research subjective to the desires of the researcher.

            You also missed how urban environment and its constant number of neon lights translates to athletic lights.

          • doodly

            Burger,

            No, you don’t seem to understand what the term “correct for” means. It’s not the least bit subjective. It is a statistical method for making sure that other variables aren’t involved in the cause, eliminating them so you can focus on the one you are studying.

        • lse

          the posts here has gone from a discussion to an inapproriate babble. Post a constructive comment or question or just leave the topic alone.

          • SoCo Resident

            Constructive Comment/Question requested by ISE: Since science has determined a link between unnatural nightime light and breast cancer, is it immoral in this instance for the catholic church to expose even more girls and women to breast cancer-causing light?

          • madisonmanor

            So the unnatural nighttime light from the computer you use to post to ARLnow or any other unnatural lights you use doesn’t make you a hypocrite? And your “science determined a link” fails from a reading comprehension standpoint, since the subtitle on the link states “Study Bolsters Theory About Interference With Production of Key Hormone” – it’s only a theory, not scientific proof.

          • SoCo Resident

            Its not “my” science. It is more than a theory as it is embraced by the World Health Organization (WHO) who have, for instance, declared shift work in unnatural light a “probable carcinogen” right up there with PCBs and toxic substances.

            Back to my original question before the above personal attacks from the uninformed: has the catholic church here addressed the moral issue of exposing girls and women to more light and possibly increasing their susceptibility to breast cancer? For a church with “Choose Life” signs all over the place, it seems like environmental health, energy and natural resources issues ought to be addressed. But, I guess breast cancer has no place in a religious- and sports- related discsussion.

          • madisonmanor

            Logic is obviously not your strong suit. My God – exposure to sunlight has been proven to be linked to melanoma – a form of CANCER – what kind of sick twisted Catholic school would force children to be exposed to cancer-causing SUNLIGHT? Oh, wait – the school actually doesn’t force ANYONE to play sports. Where’s your moral issue now?

    • Esteban

      First of all the lights used at APS schools are low energy level used lights for the amount of light output, please look it up!
      Artificial lighting causing cancer??? do you use candles
      exclusivley in your home????

      The County Board does not suggest anything. DJO wants NCAA lights the County Board said no. Let DJO work out there problem and come back to the board and neighborhood.

      The lighting from these new systems is way more efficient and and the light pollution from these systems is no way near what the lights were like at Greenbrier (not Yorktown), W & L and so forth that the County has installed in the past 5 years. Speking of education… please educate yourself before typing!

  • G

    I have to agree with the Catholics on this one. My condo is right next to the bright lights at the baseball field at Barcroft Park, and they have never been an issue for me, or for any of my neighbors. Even if they were an issue, I have blinds!

    • ArlForester

      You mean the baseball field with NCAA level lighting since GW plays there? That baseball field? ;)

      • G

        Yes, that’s true actually!

      • Esteban

        Field 6 Barcroft park

  • Arlwhenever

    Go O’Connell, stick it to the secular, collectivist thugs. Unless you are a relgious institution connected to a County Board member, ala Barbar Favola, who has steered big county bucks to spruce up the tranportation system around Marymount,, the County Board discriminates.

    FYI, my wife grew up in a house across from lighted NCAA playing fields. No problemo.

    • justasliberalastherestbut

      Oh gosh! so very awful and scary! the lights! the lights!
      get an effing life those who oppose.
      whine, complain, & repeat.
      watch out-they’re developing EFC Metro.
      Is that scary too? I bet it is…..
      whine, complain & repeat

  • joe

    The arl county board is as Godless and bigoted as it gets. Am contacting oconnel to try to help fund the lawsuit.

    • Pro-OC

      I unfortunately don’t have means to help fund the suit, but, if you do contact O’Connell, please let us/ARL.now know if there is a petition or something we as Arlington tax payers can sign on behalf of O’Connell. Arlington’s denial is ridiculous.

    • The Native

      Settle down there… Settle.

    • CrankyMom

      And wealthy lobbyist Tim Fay, chair of the Board of Directors of O’Connell and head of the lights project, whose lovely McLean home overlooks pristine unlighted parkland, is just a god-fearing man who wants to practice his religion … NOT.

      • Double Standard

        See Kevin Fay of both the O’Connell Board of Governors and the Fairfax County Park Authority celebrate new unlit turf fields in his own McLean community. When it happens in McLean, the neighbors’ concerns about lighted fields are respected:

        http://www.sungazette.net/articles/2007/11/07/fairfax/news/ffx437a.txt

        The Fairfax County Park Authority sets limits on light spill on neighboring homes, and O’Connell’s proposal did not meet these limits. But I guess it doesn’t matter if it isn’t your own backyard.

      • GetReal

        Huh? What kind of argument is that?

      • justasliberalastherestbut

        Don’t hide behind your pen name. if you are going to get personal, let’s have your real name. then it’ll be fair-cranky

    • melo

      Injecting religion into this only makes me more sympathetic to the Board.

  • joe

    I would email the bigots on the county board to express your outrage.

  • jjbug

    No one questioned why Marymount won’t build its own field with lighting and invite Bishop O’Connell students to use it. Wouldn’t it be better to have the advanced lighting on the MU campus than down there by Tuckahoe Elem?

    There must be room for fields somewhere there near the busy highways and mulch dumps that wouldn’t have many neighbors to disturb with night lights.

    • The Native

      Have you been to the ‘MU’ campus? Where? I grew up
      2 blocks from there and 30 years ago we were scrambling for a place to play a little ball. Same problem x 30 yrs.

    • Andrea

      Lol, I just graduated from MU. It took them forever just to build themselves a new building. It took almost six years for it to go through Arlington County because some of the residents were having issues with building more dorms on the campus.

      And, honestly they just don’t have the room for new fields. They’d have to buy some land off campus and make fields.

      • Jimster

        But O’Connell is squeezing its fields into a very tight space, that’s why there is no room to build a buffer or to lower the field so it has less impact on the neighborhood like they did at Yorktown. Marymount has been running around for years, trying to partner with various organizations and spending tons of lawyer fees and wasted good will on getting access to fields. I’ve been over to Marymount, and I do think there is space that is at least as wide as the O’Connell space upon which it could build fields, completely surrounded by campus so not an issue for the neighborhood. It does seem that it would be well worth it to do so. It might even be worth it to tear down an old building and build a field in its place.

  • Jim

    Wow, just WOW. I’m not even Catholic and I’m on the Church’s side. This story could go Nationwide. The nuns against the most God hating governmental unit in the Country and their rich, spoiled .NIMBY supporters in North Arlington. These two bit nitwits on the County board have really stepped in it now. That is what you get when you don’t have term limits. You get incompetent lifetime board members whose arrogance and irresponsibility knows no bounds.

  • John Andre

    IMO…O’Connell is entitled to the lights & Marymount can set up a Division III football program if they wish. Lots of colleges are doing it. Very few homes are affected by the enhanced lighting. Traffic congestion at nighttime games might be a bigger problem.

    In an unrelated matter, Washington-Lee H.S. was promoted to Division 6 from Division 5 on enrollment size. This means they will need to schedule Chantilly and Westfield rather than Wakefield and Yorktown to qualify for the state playoffs. Most likely W-L will move to the Patriot District with Annandale and T.C. Williams as their new big rivals.

    • dee

      O’Connell isn’t “entitled” to anything. Their zoning is R6/R8 and their special use permit is for a school, not a lighted field. Actually their permit doesn’t include an athletic field at all, but that is being allowed as a part of the educational program at the school. However, it would be hard to argue that a brightly lighted field shared with a neighboring college is essential to a high school education.

      • GetReal

        If it’s not essential, the lights should be taken down across the whole county.

  • Pat

    Folks, you can’t rationalize sheer bigotry. So don’t try.

    • Let the Facts Interfere

      PLEASE let the facts get the way of your opinions.

      Go read the County Staff’s report and the accompanying documents from the neighborhood and you will find a detailed report about the proposed lighting and how it was greatly different than at the public high schools. O’Connel high school was well aware of the problem with the type and intensity of the lights. The issue is not secret.

      Bigots? Good grief. Have people forgotten that the County Board is building a church at Clarendon courthouse?

      O’Connel lost because it wanted more than what the public high schools have. Simple facts, but those facts don’t let the screamers scream.

      • G

        There is NCAA lighting next to my condo at the Barcroft Park baseball field… It’s not a problem for anyone. When I’m inside my condo I can never tell if they are on or off.

      • BB

        So intensity of light is one of the problems?

        How about blinds and or curtains?

  • SoCo Resident

    What would Jesus do — with the money and annual operating costs? Not hard to guess!

  • NOVApologist

    WHO has also labeled pickles and cellphones as probable carcinogens. Just saying.

    • SoCo Resident

      Surely you digress here. (The pickled veg-gastric cancer connection was made very legitimate decades ago, in case you are trying to assault WHO’s reputation. See also National Cancer Institute and NIEHS) W eall should pay attention to “probable carcingens” especially in regard to the mysteriously increasing breast cancer rates and their relationship to artifical light. .

    • The Native

      Don’t forget about coffee and talcum powder.

  • CandlePower

    Bishop O’Connell could light the field with candles like they did in the olden days.

    But, seriously if they are zoned differently (R6/R8) than the other schools they are using as ‘precedent’, then they might lose their case on that basis alone.

  • Foolish Consistency

    Interesting how filling the EFC parking lot with nine story buildings is cheer leaded by the Board and the lights for O’Connell are rejected………

    • Burger

      It is not interesting it is hypocrisis as its finest. One will fill the county boards coffers another one won’t.

  • John Fontain

    The school should offer to build a couple of units of low-income housing right on the edge of the football field. The Board would approve the lights in 2 seconds flat.

  • Pat

    The CB hates religion, churches and Christianity. They all interfere with their goal of spreading secular humanism. They would make Christianity illegal in Arlington if they could. They are hateful anti-religious bigots IMHO and this is just one more manifestation of it……….

    • Bill

      BS. The board is actually dominated by churchgoing Catholics, but their obligation is to the county on the whole, not their own church. I watched the proceedings on TV and was impressed with their considerations. It actually changed my opinion of some of the CB members for the better.

    • Not a Pat

      Oh my??? Dear Pat are you forgetting the long, long fight the County Board undertook so it could build a church at Clarendon?

      Who is the bigot? At its core, bigotry is based on intolerance. Spouting off with ignorance of facts or making up facts to fit their intolerance is what bigots do.

      A private school in a residential zoned area wants high intensity lighting unlike any at the public schools. The private school refused to submit a request for lighting similar to what is used at public schools and instead sought special treatment. The added lighting would also increase traffic problems during the evening where the current traffic problems are confined mostly to day time. Any private school would have faced the same result.

      • GetReal

        Why should it matter if it was private or public? The residents get angry that O’Connell has injected its private status and religion into the argument, but then comments like this “Any private school would have faced the same result” just fuels the fire….why should private schools be treated any differently than public schools?

        The county zones according to their will. Of course all the public schools are zoned differently, because it directly benefits the county itself…..that’s a weak argument.

      • GetReal

        And BTW – they didn’t build a church at Clarendon, it was all about affordable housing, religion had nothing to do with it one way or another….but nice try.

        • doodly

          But the neighbors who opposed it and sued the county said it was — they accused the county of ADVANCING religion in that case.

          • Ann of Tan Gables

            The Board made decisions that propped up a failing church. Maybe if OC is circling the bowl the Board will allow it to have lights and a television production studio or something.

          • Sensibility

            Actually, the CB made decisions that happened to have the effect of propping up a failing church….their sole intention here was to build affordable housing (they couldn’t have given a crap about the church). The neighborhood is using the religion issue because they are upset at the prospect of having affordable housing right in their neighborhood (god forbid). The whole religion here is being used just as a patsy.

            The CB doesn’t give a hoot about religion and neither does the neighborhood. Just a legal loophole they found.

          • PhilL

            I guess one way to look at it would be if the County had given money to a church to build a new sanctuary, and as part of the deal the County built a new recreation center on the same property, what would the neighbors think.

          • doodly

            Ah, I see – so now it’s that the CB hates religion, unless it’s failing, in which case it will prop you up. Yeah, that works.

          • Sensibility

            That’s not what I was saying in the least. Religion wasn’t the true issue at heart here, it was the fact that the CB wanted to put affordable housing in the neighborhood, which the neighbors didn’t want. The neighbors are just using the religion aspect as a loophole, when in the eyes of the CB I’d put a million bucks on it that they didn’t care about religion or propping up a church, but rather about getting in their quota of affordable housing. Try again, doodly.

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    If OC would propose allowing immigrants to utilize the field to play soccer when it isn’t being used for other activities, they would get at the very least Tejada on board.

    • hmmm

      You might have a point, but only if they were illegal…I mean undocumented resident aliens…oh wait, can’t use alien since that might offend someone…so undocumented migrant citizen workers…then you might have him on board.

  • mac

    I”m an Arlington Catholic, and I strongly object to my “Bishop’s Fund” donation being used to bring this ridiculous lawsuit. We were told that the diocese needed the money to clothe and feed the poor and hungry — not to pay lawyers to force their way into a quiet little neighborhood so fields can be rented out at night to a private college. As a Catholic, this distresses me greatly.

    O’Connell definitely needs to spruce up its fields — in fact, most of the arguments the night of the hearing were about its poor playing surfaces. However, this obsession with lights has gotten ridiculous. I went to both parochial and private high schools in another state, none of them had lights, and we played sports just fine. Most of O’Connell’s “competitor” schools don’t have lights, so it is hard to understand how they need lights to be competitive. I am deeply disappointed that the diocese is getting involved in what is essentially a secular matter, with no Catholic or Christian principles at stake whatsoever. There is no religious purpose to these lights, and no evidence of religious discrimination. A private nonsecular institution on that property would not have been treated any differently.

    • Whitney Wilson

      I guess that they want the Marymount-compatible lights because Marymount has agreed to share some of the renovation/operating costs for the new facilities. Perhaps without Marymount’s participation, the project is not affordable.

    • Burger

      You do know that some of O’Connell’s competitor schools don’t even have fields. So one should preclude the other, right?

      • mac

        No, I do think access to fields is necessary for a good sports program, just not lighted ones. O’Connell seems to have an extraordinarily successful sports program without lights. Which schools are you talking about that don’t have fields at all?

        • Burger

          Dematha for one.

          • mac

            That’s the only one I could think of either, but they still use fields, just not right next to the school. They have an excellent sports program. It doesn’t seem to be hurting them at all. That’s basically what Marymount is trying to do with the O’Connell arrangement, but their “Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex” is the O’Connell playing field.

          • TomTom

            I’d be willing to bet any amount of money Dematha has a more popular (and much larger fan base) than Marymount. Hell, I’d bet O’Connell does. I’m sure the MU events will actually be smaller in attendance than the O’Connell events.

    • BK

      As an Arlington Catholic as well, I think it is ridiculous the county baord would deny their request, which the school is paying for, not the county, while every year the taxpayers are saddled with another Bond at election time to pay for yet another high school renovation

    • GetReal

      It’s not about religious denomination…it’s about how private schools are treated versus public schools.

      I’m also a Catholic, and am actually proud that the Diocese is stepping in here to support O’Connell. The Diocese has a duty to protect the best interests of its schools. Just because many of the Catholic schools in the area don’t currently have lights, isn’t an excuse for never needing lights. Every school wants to improve itself…it’s a thing called progress. 30 years ago (and longer) no school had computers, but is that an excuse to not get computers? By saying every other school didn’t have computers either?

      • Just the facts.

        For the love of the truth….please stop with the “it’s unfair” compared with public schools.

        The private school, O’Connell, did not ask for the same lighting as used at the public schools. Please get real facts.

        • OhC’Mon

          For the love of the truth….the neighbors didn’t want lights PERIOD. Regardless of what level of lighting was proposed. And if it’s not about public vs. private don’t specify “The private school, O’Connell”….

          And please, buy some blinds and get over it.

          • ItsReallyTheCars

            You are probably right, at least as far as the broad-based opposition. People don’t want any lights because of the nighttime events that enables and the nighttime traffic that induces. It always comes down to the cars. Although the people adjacent probably are directly concerned with the lights.

      • Green

        Actually, I think progress would be reducing our dependence on artificial lights and finding ways to better utilize the daylight hours for outdoor sports. I really don’t think having young people practice sports until 10 pm under brightly lit fields is such a good idea, at O’Connell, W-L, or anywhere else.

        • Westover

          Only x-number of day light hours. Outdoor sports are still played October through March when the sun is setting between 5pm and 6pm, the lights are still needed.

          • PhilL

            Give everyone night vision goggles.

    • Ron Clarington

      You’re assumptions need to be clarified. First of all, the fact you assume that the “bishop’s fund” (actually called the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal) goes to support the Diocesan WorkCamp, Catholic education, seminarians, charitable efforts (Christ House and St. Margaret of Cortona). The diocese is pretty clear and transparent on where funds are coming from and who they go to. So don’t assume that everything you donated towards the poor isn’t going to the poor.

      Secondly, providing all the opportunities afforded to APS should be allowed by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, even as trivial as athletic fields and lights. Please don’t skew or twist this as a fight for religious freedom. With all the contributions that the Diocese of Arlington has done for the community in Northern Virginia, the county board should allow this.

      Finally, as the famous saying goes, you know what happens when you assume…

      • TGEoA

        Too bad OC didn’t ask for the same kind of lights.

  • Alexandrian

    Come on Arlington, you’re better than this! It’s killing me that I’ve outpriced out of home ownership in Arlington and have to live as an Arlintonion refugee in Alexandria instead, but for the first time ever, I have to disagree with the county. How can such a progressive county like Arlington make such a move? It’s baffling me.

    Good luck OC!

  • Denise

    We live in a suburban community with a suburban high school, not a sports arena for a high school, a college, and who knows who else.

    Who is pushing for this? McLean residents who send their kids to O’Connell and live in semi-rural neighborhoods.

    I am sick and tired of having our small county run and ruined by non-residents. Starting with the County Manager.

    • Loocy

      +1

    • GetReal

      Well then maybe all the non-residents shouldn’t WORK in Arlington either? Maybe companies without their corporate HQ in Arlington shouldn’t open offices in Arlington? Maybe we should just make Arlington a gated community and keep all those dirty Fairfaxians (let’s not even mention Marylanders) out of Arlington! Great statement…

      I am sick and tired of dummies. Starting with Denise.

      • Sensibility

        +1 and well said!!

      • The Native

        Can we do that? I think it sounds great! Let’s keep those Marylanders out of our town. Stupid Maryland. If it was here right now I’d punch it on the face.

    • TGEoA

      McLean is completely suburban.

      • Jim

        Yes, with huge lawns and wide open space, and they wouldn’t want icky things like lights cluttering up their landscape, so they pass laws to protect their own property but fund lawsuits to make sure their kids can have them when they go to private school in Arlington.

        • Sensibility

          Jim, do/did your kids go to schools with lights? I’ll bet they did! Genius.

          • jim

            No, they went to public schools in California. They didn’t have lights and it was never an issue. Sports were in the daytime.

          • TomTom

            Well guess what, you live in a neighborhood where the kids get to attend a school in another residential neighborhood where they have lights. You aren’t in sunny Cali anymore where all you need is the natural sunlight!

          • Jim

            To tell you the truth, it’s sunnier here.

            But recognize something: during the neighborhood meetings, the neighborhood reps proposed a compromise that would shut off the lights at 8 pm (except for home football games, which could go later) and limit field use to high school students and younger. O’Connell refused to consider it. The lights are not about O’Connell sports, they are about the commercial use of that field. Everyone is slamming the neighbors here, but I really don’t think they are the ones being unreasonable.

          • CrazyMuch

            Jim, recognize something else: The lights very are much about O’Connell sports. If you read almost every letter written to the CB (public record and available on the county website), it’s all about O’Connell sports. MU sports program is about as large as one of the area’s high schools. And, unless Marymount became a business and I missed the memo, there’s no “commercial” use of the field. Come back and talk to me if the Redskins ask to play games at O’Connell, then we’re talking commercial.

            And yes, the neighbors are getting slammed because this was an all out assault with very, very little civility from the neighbors. This argument went from 0 to 80 very quickly as the neighborhood associations weren’t interested in compromise. The “working group” representatives from WCA and AEFC were those most vehemently opposed to the plan altogether. There never was going to be common ground or compromise with those people on the working group. On top of that, you have a “journalist” who starts a ranting, one-sided blog filled with inaccuracies, partial facts, and studies that had been conducted to clearly reach a pre-determined outcome.

          • CrazyMuch

            P.S. I live in the neighborhood too.

    • Burger

      Denise,

      4 miles from a city of 600K people is not the suburbs. Nor is being 1 mile from 15-20 story condos. This is a semi-urban environment. Add in the like 9 story buildings at EFC and your surburban community comment is laughable.

    • justasliberalastherestbut

      you are just too funny.
      poor little arlington residents getting put upon by the man. the man from mclean.
      as if you care, but it’s a diocese school which draws from its local schools
      “ruined” ha ha
      get a life
      go down to the metro station and protest something that will indeed have a real impact on you. and by the way-good luck with that!

  • Ken

    I’m with Denise. It’s mind boggling how many important decisions that affect Arlington residents are made by non-residents. The impetus for the litigation is from O’Connell parents and alumni who live outside Arlington.

    Nimbys? Check out McLean just outside Arlington County. It’s semi-rural.

    • Burger

      Are there a bunch of produce farms in McLean I am not aware of? Sure there are a couple of rich, upper class horse farm but that isn’t rural.

  • SoCo Resident

    10, 20, 30-year epidemiological studies will reveal elevated rates of breast and prostate cancers, and morbidities, among OC students and neighbors. Measurements of melatonin should begin immediately and be seriously monitored. The “respect life” and “protect childern” church is suing for the right to inflict this horror on these victims?

    • PhilL

      Thank you for thinking of the children.

    • The Native

      Ya,ya,ya. You should probably stay away from your computer monitor then because you might die some day from the radiation it gives off.

      • doodly

        You should got get hundreds of X-rays, while we watch, and if you complain we’ll mock you.

    • ArlForester

      I called O’Connell and they promised that the lights they use will not have the cancer rays built in. Additionally, they promised that no gremlins and boogey men will be allowed in your head when the lights are on. I’d say that’s one heck of a promise.

      • PhilL

        Did they promise not to perform exorcisms under the lights as well?

  • TGEoA

    So after allnthis, what type of lights is OC going to get?

    None!

  • TGEoA

    Don you even know what “rural” means?

  • Not Interested in Real Facts

    Will Field lights persuade the inverse? County Board faces a silent. How can whatever ripping killer warp Field lights? Why does County Board fish for the oil? County Board legitimizes Field lights.

    (The random paragraph generator provided the comment above. Interesting that it is more intelligent than the numerous screamers leaving comments without a care about the facts. Oh how nice it would be to go through life as a moron.)

  • sditri

    This is another zoning mistake by the County that they are now trying to cover up. Decades ago, the County zoned and allowed the Diocese to build a high school on that land… didn’t the Board think they would play sports at that site… How ridiculous to now say you can’t have night football games at a school that has been there for decades. The fact that they zoned the neighborhood single family adjacent to large high school is a mistake in zoning practice.. Its an contradiction that they County has now chosen to sweep under the carpet.

    I read the comments by Chris Zimmerman.. they don’t make sense. He’s talking about astro turf and the issue is an update of common lighting at a school that has been in location for decades. Night football games started decades ago. He’s using an example of something not relevant to make a point about the lights.

    • Newt

      There were concerns raised at the time that the school was built about the possibility of night lights and the suitability of that on a residential zoned property. The only way O’Connell got their special use permit to build a school on the R6/R8 property was that the diocese promised that they would not seek to put lights on the property.

      Unfortunately, the county was satisfied with a written promise from the diocese, rather than an official condition made part of the permit, and records of that county board meeting have mysteriously disappeared. The only ones who probably could produce it are the diocese and O’Connell, and they are unlikely to do so.

      • doodly

        Hmmm. What’s your source for this? If the records mysteriously disappeared, how do you know? It sounds a little too convenient. I’m not saying it’s not true, but you need to back it up with something.

        • Newt

          Okay, you win, let me say it differently and with less paranoia: “The records of that meeting, unfortunately, could not be located in the county archives.” I know this because I know people from the Tuckahoe neighborhood who were requesting the records last winter.

          • Undereducated

            I’m undereducated and even my BS detector is beeping. ROTFLMAO at that comment, Newt.

    • park

      sditri, the comments were aimed at a quote used by George Towner during his testimony during the hearing. If you read that, it will make sense to you. Towner used a statement made about why the first implementations of astro turf were to be at lighted fields to argue his point, and Zimmerman was basically saying that it wasn’t relevant to the O’Connell issue.

  • AvgObserver

    Genesis 1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    Blasphemy according to Arlington County!!

    • doodly

      So every time you turn out your lights to go to sleep, it’s blasphemy too!

  • Watchfull Eye

    the neighbors tend to bring up irrelevant things anyway. they are indeed a hopeless bunch throwing wild punches to see which will make a dent and which will not. those that do aren’t always valid points for argument just valid points in common sense and in general. Not pertaining to our case but hoping the connection is seen. they have no solid facts. just angry ranting rambling people. Hoping to get a break. hoping to win a battle in the war that they are losing.

    • CrazyMuch

      Couldn’t agree more. The neighbors are just a bunch of zealots who go around to anyone who will listen and squawk about wild theories, conspiracies, and a school that is out to ruin their lives and their families.

      They come up with elaborate “studies” that are a bunch of slanted garbage and hope that one of their million theories catches attention. It’s ridiculous.

  • NOVApologist

    McLean is semi-rural?

    Some people don’t get out much, do they?

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