Club agrees to move volleyball Mil-Bur bothered by rowdy games PASADENA

October 09, 1992|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

The nightly volleyball games at the Mil-Bur Club had gotten out of hand. Boisterous play into the early morning, abusive language and underage drinking had drawn the police on a number of occasions.

But it wasn't until last year, when county inspectors ruled the lighted court should never have been built, that neighbors, whose bedroom windows overlooked the net, got a break. The club stopped using the court shortly thereafter, removing the net and digging up the steel poles.

Neighbors got another break Tuesday night when the club, which manages the Mil-Bur community's 1.9-acre waterfront park, abandoned its one-year effort to reverse the county's decision.

Club president Robert E. Fishback said Mil-Bur residents voted, 24-4, to drop the club's bid for after-the-fact approval of a 40-foot-by-80-foot volleyball court. The 69-home Mil-Bur community is on the Magothy River at the mouth of Cornfield Creek.

Inspectors determined in August 1991 that the court, which was built without permits, was too close to Howard Ferguson's home. Zoning law requires that recreational facilities be set back at least 50 feet from property lines. The court was only 18 feet from Mr. Ferguson's property.

Instead of fighting the county ruling, the club will work with Mr. Ferguson and other residents to relocate the volleyball court within the private park and develop strict rules governing its use, Mr. Fishback said.

"It's a good compromise," Mr. Fishback said. "As long as we leave it there, it will always be a temptation for kids."

Referring to Mr. Ferguson's family, Mr. Fishback said, "They have lived next to the recreation area for 25 years and have taken the brunt of [the noise]. I have empathy for them."

A committee of three neighbors, including Mr. Ferguson and three volleyball players, will select the site and draft the rules, Mr. Fishback said.

Residents built the volleyball court in 1979 and installed lights in 1981. The club's board of directors spent $3,500 dressing up the court in 1990.

Opponents of the volleyball court could not be reached to comment.

But they appeared in force when the club asked an administrative hearing officer for after-the-fact approval of the court June 4.

The opponents complained about non-club members who use the court, "leaving trash and debris in their wake," hearing officer Robert C. Wilcox wrote in his June 8 ruling denying retroactive approval.

"Predictably, young people are attracted to the lighted portion of the recreation area, resulting in late-night parties, loud and abusive language, public urination and increased traffic," Mr. Wilcox added. "This is a case where a few are being asked to endure the hardships for the benefit of the majority."

The club already had filed an appeal of Mr. Wilcox's ruling when the community met Tuesday night, Mr. Fishback said.

That challenge, which is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the county Board of Appeals, will be dropped, he said.

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