Palmetto Bay

Palmetto Bay council won’t change ban on lighting private recreational fields

The Palmetto Bay Village Council voted down two items that would have changed the town’s ban on lighting private recreational fields in residential areas Monday.

The council rejected both an ordinance that had the potential to reverse the ban, and a referendum on whether to enshrine the ban in the village charter.

“It is not about just lights,” Councilwoman Joan Lindsay said. “It is about the noise and disruption in the area at night. They don’t want to listen to someone announcing a game. They don’t want traffic in their neighborhood.”

Other residents condemned the council for what they believed was an attempt to appease local private school Palmer Trinity, which once sought council approval for a site plan that would have included nearly 40 light poles around sports fields. The school, which is involved in litigation with the council, has since withdrawn those plans.

Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, who proposed the charter amendment, spoke of the overwhelming opposition expressed by constituents.

“If people took the time to write to us, I need to protect what is important to the people who live here,” Stanczyk said. “It is not my job to second guess.”

Ultimately, the council members acted in favor of the numerous residents who had voiced concerns about the changes. They voted unanimously against the ordinance, including council member Tim Schaffer who had sponsored reversing the ban.

The charter item failed 3-2, with only Stanczyk and Lindsay voting for it.

But the charter amendment can still appear on the ballot in November if residents circulate petitions. They will need about 1,600 signatures, which is 10 percent of the electorate from the last general election.