Planning approves tennis court
by Cheryl Gilman
Despite protests from residents living on South Montgomery Street,
the Planning Commission approved the architectural review for
tennis court light fixtures in upper Libbey Park at Wednesday
The proposed lighting system would allow the Ojai Tennis Tournament
to schedule tennis matches in the evening. It would also provide
additional general night tennis court space and allow special
events at upper Libbey Park to include playing tennis at night.
The issue at this meeting was the approval to install 24 new
light poles within the courts. The poles would be 20 feet high
and would match the poles and lamps currently used for the tennis
courts in lower Libbey Park. The lamps would be shielded to keep
all lighting contained within the courts. The city is examining
control monitors such as coin- or credit card-operated timers.
Wayne Bruce, secretary of the Ojai Valley Tennis Club, a proponent
for the lights, said, "Finals for the open
category of the tournament will take place at night. And since
we are putting a new court above the old one, we want to get
the lights in while the court is being constructed."
Resident Gail Montgomery said, "I am concerned about light
pollution and energy waste. Why not have the tennis tournament
at the Ojai Racquet Club? They already have lighted courts at
night. Or wouldn't it be better to improve the lights of the
lower tennis courts?"
Neighbor Celeste Matesevac agreed and added, "I am a strong
supporter of the Ojai Tennis Tournament and am in favor of renovations.
However, I am concerned about the park looking like the space
ship lighting of the lower tennis courts at Libbey Park."
Commissioner Craig Brown suggested that the upper courts be used
for overflow from the lower ones.
Vice Chairman Tucker Adams said, "The lower courts will
be free and people will use these before they pay for the upper
Ojai Valley News Reporter Chris Wilson, who was a spectator at
this meeting, asked, "Is there a reason that the lower court
lights are on all the time rather than on a timer? Have the courts
been monitored for how often they are used?"
Chairman Paul Blatz asked Interim Community Development Director
Doug Hooper to come back with a report on the usage of the lower
Residents Mary Kennedy and Richard Keit both said that in 7 years
they've never had to wait for a court at night in the lower courts.
Kennedy added, " Since I've lived here, I've seen most of
the trees in the baranca haphazardly mowed down; I've watched
the asphalt for the bike trail poured throughout; I've seen long
rows of fences, both wood and chain-link, barricade one-half
the park. I find that lighting the upper tennis courts is just
one more very large attempt to destroy the natural attributes
of our lovely little downtown park. I am very much opposed to
this ugly, energy and money wasting, and unnecessary proposal.
So much benefits the three to four days of the tennis tournaments.
The other 360 days we get bright lights and fences to barricade
us local citizens."
The Commission voted that the lighting recommendation be sent
to the City Council for approval.
City Engineer ............... announced that the pedestrian bridge
between the Art Center and Libbey Park will be ready in March
and the eucalyptus trees can stay.
The next Planning Commission meeting will take place in City
Chambers on Wednesday,
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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