Lighting, restrooms approved for Aliso Viejo park

Amid public dissent on the issue, the Aliso Viejo City Council on Oct. 4 approved eight light poles and a restroom facility at Foxborough Park.

After its Sept. 7 meeting, the council agreed to investigate the elevation difference between the fields and nearby homes. Area homeowners, however, argued that the physical appearance of the poles and their emitted light could lower the value of their homes, as well as obstruct their views.

Director of Planning Services Albert Armijo said the city concluded the difference to be 67 feet, which means the homes would peek out over the tops of the light poles. The city also requested that the poles be reduced from 70 feet to 60 feet tall.

The restroom would be scheduled to close at 9:30 p.m., and the last game at the park would be at 9 p.m.

Councilman William Phillips said he was happy to have the restroom, a prefabricated building, replace the portable toilets now at the park.

He said he "feels for the homeowners," but thought it was necessary.

Residents took the opportunity to once again denounce the project and asked the council to consider the economic impact it could have on their homes.

John Booras lives on a view lot in the Islands community, which is adjacent to the park.

Booras asked the council to look for alternatives and recommended that the last activity and the lights both shut down at 9 p.m. instead of 9:30 p.m.

Mike Conley, president of Islands Homeowners Assn., said that with the current economic climate, now is not the time to reduce property values.

Mayor Pro Tem Donald Garcia pointed out that Foxborough was not the first or only place the City Council considered for lighting and restrooms. The city explored alternatives, he said, and it found the park to be the best site for the community.

"We realized there would be an impact," Garcia said. "That's becoming the norm right now."

As the population density increases, Garcia said, it increases the likelihood of impact on the community.

American Youth Soccer Organization 889 Regional Commissioner Darryl Ross urged the council to approve the project.

"I appreciate the homeowners' position, I really do," Ross said. "As a sports organization, the lights improvement project is critical to not only our continued maintenance, (but), frankly, our survival."

Ross said the lighting would allow AYSO more practice time, and it gives the organization the ability to continue teaching soccer at an affordable price.

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