City officials deny appeal by residents opposing lights at Edgewater High School baseball field

City officials narrowly voted to deny an appeal by residents who oppose the installation of lights at Edgewater High School’s baseball field.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Orlando Municipal Planning Board, city officials entertained hours of discussion regarding the appeal, which was filed by attorney Alison Yurko on behalf of residents Charles and Amy Cook, who say the proposed lights are too close to residences in the community.

The Cooks and many of their neighbors say the state-of-the-art lighting system, which is produced by Musco, will produce light pollution that will negatively impact their neighborhood. During remarks, experts suggested that the measured foot-candles of the light system would be too high.

Foot-candles are a measurement of light intensity. One foot-candle represents enough light to saturate a one-foot square with one lumen of light.

According to James Benya, a California-based consultant who spoke on behalf of residents, one of the main features of the new system is a powerful light that emits as much light into the sky as “40 ordinary street lights.”

Benya stressed that homes next to the field would be less than 15 feet away from the proposed lights.

“For a lighting installation, it doesn’t belong here,” said Benya.

Despite citing their support for the teams and students involved, multiple residents spoke to their experience with school administrators and suggested it would be difficult to remove the lights once they were put in place.

Board members, who ultimately made the recommendation that the appeal be denied by the Orlando City Council, debated the necessity of the lights for hours during Tuesday’s meeting.

Although some board members suggested the team use nearby fields at Trotters Park as an alternative, one board member clarified that most of the students would require transportation and that the logistics would be difficult.

Trotters Park is located approximately 2.5 miles from the high school.

Another board member vehemently refuted the idea that students be transported to another park, citing the efforts of city staff and Orange County Public School officials who have spent months working on the proposal.

After hours of debate, the board voted 5-4 to deny the appeal. The appeal and recommendation for denial will now come before the Orlando City Council during an upcoming meeting.

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