NIMBYs near the Field of Dreams

April 04, 1991

A few pint-sized ball fields for a rookie baseball league sounds like a great idea. Exercise and all-American activity. Who could object? A gaggle of angry neighbors who say the fields will bring unwanted noise and traffic, drive down property values and generally ruin their retirements.

Some background: Tom Brown, a former Washington Senator and Green Bay Packer who runs a sports program for 6-12-year-olds, wants to build four baseball fields (no lights), a flag-football field, concession stand, parking lot and small gymnasium on 7 1/2 acres west of Salisbury.

For Mr. Brown, the only man to have played both in major league baseball and on a winning Super Bowl football team, the sports complex means having a place to work his magic with kids. "A lot of people have said, 'It's your field of dreams,' and it is," said Mr. Brown, who works full time as a county liquor inspector.

Unfortunately, several neighbors near the site have said, in effect, "nice idea but not in my backyard." This represents yet another example of the NIMBY (not in my backyard) line of thinking that has begun to crop up like a particularly stubborn weed in many subdivisions.

The Quantico Road area where Mr. Brown wants to put up his fields is zoned for residential and farm uses. That means he could erect acres of chicken coops, but recreation facilities for children require special zoning approval. Mr. Brown must convince the county zoning board that his project won't "adversely affect the health, safety and general welfare of area residents." We hope the board comes out cheering for dreamers' rights.

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