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Committee Makes Recommendations to City Manager Regarding Driving Range

Neighbors complain the driving range is too loud, an eyesore and that the lights are too bright.

The committee tasked with trying to resolve neighborhood complaints regarding the Ruth Park Driving Range voted on a handful of recommendations at Wednesday night's meeting.

The recommendations will now go to City Manager Lehman Walker, who asked for the formation of the golf committee. Neighbors near the driving range complain that it's loud an eyesore and that the lights are too bright.

One option nixed right away was turning off the range lights for good.

"Could we add on to the list eliminating the (range) lighting altogether," asked board member William Field. "I don't think that's one that is going to go," said Ewald Winker, the Interim Director of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. "There are not enough votes to eliminate."

"I don't see that as an option," Winker said. "I didn't put things on here that I didn't see were going to happen." He only put suggestions up for vote that he thought were feasible and a compromise.

"I was charged with getting compromise. To me eliminating the lights altogether is not a compromise," Winker said.

Board member Ethan Schuman wanted to know how Winker came up with the suggestions for recommendations. Winker said he arrived at the recommendations by culling the survey that board members filled out. He also based some of the recommendations on his opinions and "what we can get done," he said.

Schuman abstained from voting on most of the recommendations, which didn't sit well with some board members. "Ethan, how is it you're not voting on anything," asked board member Stanford Carp. "It's his problems. This is how it all got started," said Carp.

"Stanford let's carry on," interjected Winker.

After the meeting, Winker told University City Patch he felt the committee did the best it could to reach a compromise.

"We met our charge. We were able to come to some compromise as far as the (driving) range...I think we've done what we were supposed to do." 

Schuman, a staunch critic of the driving range had "no comment" regarding last night's recommendations. Field, who also opposes the range, does not think it fits into the neighborhood. "These problems stem from a project that is way beyond the bounds of which it is sitting. Too big a project for what it is," he said.

Field added that "Band-aid solutions perpetuate this problem." He said the driving range is too big for its location and badly designed. 

Here are some of the recommendations and the votes:

Install no U-turn signs on Groby across from range
Yea: 8
Nay: 0

Install larger more legible No Parking signs along Groby
Yea: 5 
Nay: 2
Abstain: 1

Petition Traffic Commission for residential parking permit use only on south side of Groby across from the range
Yea: 5
Nay: 2
Abstain: 1

Petition Traffic Commission to lower the speed limit on Groby to 25  from 30
Yea: 4
Nay: 3
Abstain: 1

Making it policy to turn range lights off by 8:30pm
Yea:  0
Nay: 5
Abstain: 3

Making it policy to turn range lights off by 9:00pm
Yea: 4
Nay: 0
Abstain:

Range lights on only when temperatures are above 35 degrees
Yea: 4
Nay: 
Abstain: 4

Investigate possibility of lowering the light fixtures on the towers so they illuminate the ground and not the sky
Yea: 3
Nay: 1
Abstain: 4

Eliminate lighting during months of December, January and February
Yea: 0
Nay: 4
Abstain: 4

Eliminate lighting during June, July and August due to longer daylight hours
Yea: 0
Nay: 4
Abstain: 4

Contract with landscape architect to develop a plan to screen the range, buffer street noise and resolve drainage problem
Yea: 7
Nay:
Abstain: 1

As soon as possible install netting along fairway number 7 as planned
Yea: 5
Nay:
Abstain:

Lisa Hummel May 06, 2011 at 10:48 PM
It's so interesting how Mr. Walker made his own decision about the lights and wasted the time of these citizens. He obviously did not really want their input. Also, the driving range is not an eyesore. It looks like a driving range- green and open with people practicing golf.

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