School’s use of field may be in jeopardy

Strict adherence to a use permit is being called for to help relieve tension between Notre Dame de Namur University and its neighbors, after the city found little success mediating the ongoing conflict over the level of noise coming from events at the school’s Koret Field.

“The city of Belmont has wanted to resolve the situation through dialogue, but we have not been successful in that regard,” Community Development Director Carlos de Melo said.

In April, the city held a community meeting on the university campus to allow neighbors and administrators to discuss the whistles, bullhorns and other noises that reverberate off of nearby homes and hillsides from Koret Field.

Tonight, the Belmont Planning Commission will receive a status report on the ongoing problems and decide on a course of action, which could result in a hearing to revoke the school’s conditional use permit for the field.

At an April 4 meeting, and in letters to Notre Dame and the city, residents such as Risa and Sam Horowitz have outlined what they see as violations of the field’s conditional use permit, regarding the times and types of activities that can take place on the field.

Risa Horowitz gave the city a 20-page list of noise and permit violations, dating back to February of this year, including practices earlier than the 8 a.m. allowed time and weekend uses that were not part of approved games or sports camps.

“Initially, there were some violations,” NDNU spokesman Richard Rossi said. “Coaches didn’t get the word about how early they could start practice or the days they could start. We’ve cleaned that up, we’ve made sure that people know when the field can and cannot be used.”

The list of violations includes adult lacrosse camps, a violation of the permit that only allows youth camps in May through July.

Because of the continued complaints over these violations, de Melo said that he believes the city has not done enough to mitigate the concerns and must now take action, not to shut the field down but to create a better agreement between the two parties to allow acceptable, approved activities.

If school officials can prevent any prohibited uses of Koret Field — the $1 million artificial-surface field finished last year — for at least six months, de Melo said tensions may ease between the two groups to allow for the creation of a more specific, appropriate use permit.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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