ZBA to hear appeal of turf field at Fay complex; Youth Soccer seeking support

[Editor’s Note: Full disclosure – my children are registered members of Southborough Youth Soccer teams.]

Abutters to Fay School’s athletic field complex behind Mill Street are appealing a recent decision by the Planning Board. Southborough Youth Soccer is now seeking help in opposing the appeal.

In August, the board approved a site plan changing 4 grass athletic fields to 3 grass fields, one turf field, and the addition of a bathroom facility. The board decided not to impose some of the conditions requested by a few abutters.

At the time, Town Planner Jennifer Burney posted that the permit was subject to a 20-day appeal period. Apparently, neighbors at two abutting properties took advantage of that right.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to address the appeal on October 28 at 8:00 pm. Over the weekend, Southborough Youth Soccer issued an email asking families to attend the meeting to show support for SYS’ plans. (Scroll down for the message.)

The appeal was filed by Mr. & Mrs. Steven Davis and Lisa Keefe of 10 Stowe Road and Donald Folkes of 22 Stow Road. At Planning Board hearings, the neighbors claimed that Fay School wasn’t meeting conditions of the original decision to allow fields on the property.

Grievances included the extended early morning hours on weekends, playing on the field past dark (using car headlights), and field use by an adult male team. Fay School and SYS (which has an agreement for use of the field) argued that the permit hadn’t been contingent on those conditions.

Neighbors were also upset about players and parents relieving themselves on their property rather than using the porta-potties. The school did agree to build a bathroom facility on site.

Planning Board Chair Don Morris took the stance that the field should be allowed the same hours and field use as other recreation fields in town.

Here’s the message SYS Board sent members:

Subject: SYSA Members…Need Your Help

Good morning,

As many of you are aware, SYSA has been actively partnering with the Fay School to develop an artificial turf field at the Mill Street Field location. The project began three years ago with the goal of providing a durable surface that could serve as another field option primarily for SYSA and Fay youth soccer players. After numerous meetings and vetting, the project gained unanimous approval from Southborough’s Planning Committee and Conservation Commission. The project has also been publicly supported by community groups such as the Southborough Recreation Commission.

Following those committee approvals, an appeal was submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) by a small group of Stowe Road abutters. The first public hearing for the appeal will be held on Wednesday, Oct 28th at 8PM in the McAuliffe Hearing Room located upstairs at Southborough Town Hall. It is important for all who have an interest in this field becoming a reality to attend this meeting. The larger the outpouring of support, the greater the statement to the ZBA and all those following this project. We also encourage you to bring your sons and daughters to the meeting wearing their SYSA uniforms. It is a great way for them to experience town government in action while showing their backing for the project and for the program. There is no need to speak at the meeting—just your presence is enough. It would be great to see the room filled with lots of maroon and white.

We will forward additional public materials that are available prior to the meeting with an attendance reminder. Please reach out to Colin Hynes, SYSA President, directly with questions or comments (colin@zerodegreesinc.com).

Board of Directors
Southborough Youth Soccer

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