The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission, now with Jay McHale as chair per a reorganization that took place March 9, picks up its discussion of the School Committee’s proposal for installing lights at the high school track and field complex this Thursday, March 17 at 6:40pm.
On the agenda regarding lights:
- 6:40-7pm: Attorney Ivria Fried from Miyares and Harrington on policy interpretation questions
- 7-7:30pm: Board member comments/concerns on proposal (approx. 5 min/each)
- 7:30-8pm: Review/comment on change of use criteria
- 8-8:30pm: Public comment
Not on the agenda is a vote.
A vote had been suggested for March 17 at an NRC meeting in February. At that meeting, a public hearing was held during which about 20 residents shared their thoughts on the lights issue.
Since then, the town election took place, and Lisa Collins joined the board, while Chair Raina McManus departed. The new board tackled the lights topic at its March 3 meeting, about 3 hours into the Wellesley Media recording, to determine its next steps. That included reaching back out to the School Committee with an update.
The School Committee has been frustrated with the NRC’s process, as noted at recent School Committee meetings and as documented in a memo on its perspective. But School Committee Chair Catherine Mirick said at the March 8 School Committee meeting that she’d been in touch with the NRC’s Laura Robert, and they agreed there should not be a vote on March 17.
“I know there’s a large contingent out there that wants them to go ahead and vote, and so I didn’t want the fact that they’re not voting at their next meeting to come down on their heads because that was a joint decision that we wanted to be able to actually hear from each of the commissioners and take that in and discuss as a School Committee before they voted,” Mirick said.
A joint meeting between the committees could take place at some point after the March 17 NRC meeting, she said. The School Committee meets again on March 22.
Whether or not to install lights at the Wellesley High School track & field has been a long-running and passionate discussion in town, with those in favor arguing it would be a great community-builder and support student-athletes, and those against concerned about the negative impact on wildlife and neighbors.