SportsPark restrictions on noise are possible Measures would protect residents near planned park

September 18, 1996|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Association (CA) may consider noise-abatement measures to protect residents who live near a sports park proposed in Harpers Choice village.

The tentative agreement came at a crowded meeting at the village center to present preliminary plans for SportsPark, a sports-entertainment complex proposed by CA officials on about 13 acres. Construction could begin early next year.

Nearly 50 residents attended the meeting. Some who spoke said the park -- to be built on vacant land near Rivendell and Cedar lanes at a cost of about $2.6 million -- would be a welcome addition to their neighborhood.

But most residents expressed concerns that they would have to pay fees to use the project's miniature golf course, batting cages and ice rink and about increased vehicular traffic and loud noise. BMX bicycle racing that took place on the land until this month caused excessive noise, some residents said.

"With the P.A. system they had over there, the sound ricocheted off the buildings and you could hear every word ever spoken on that field," said Jim Greco, a resident of Heritage Green on Rivendell Lane for three years. "It was the most aggravating thing I've ever lived through. If these people are going to bombard us with more noise, I just don't know."

Rob Goldman, vice president of membership services for CA, assured residents that no public address system would be installed at SportsPark and no music would be allowed. When asked if CA would draw up noise-abatement provisions, Goldman nodded, saying it would be possible.

"We will work with you as neighbors on this," he said.

CA, the large homeowners organization that manages the town's parks and recreation facilities, views SportsPark as a moneymaker that will help revitalize the aging Harpers Choice Village Center, which has a higher vacancy rate in its shopping areas than other villages.

The association estimates the SportsPark would earn $105,000 each year in profits, after debt payments are made on the facility.

The proposed park would have 36 holes of miniature golf, nine or 10 batting cages, a children's play area with picnic tables and a partially enclosed ice rink that could be converted to a covered pavilion for group picnics in warmer months.

Two ball fields, which could be used for softball or baseball, would be maintained in their current location but regraded to improve them, Goldman said.

A portion of the golf course would wrap around a pond that would double as a sediment storm-water facility. The pond also would deflect noise between the park and the homes adjacent to the land, Goldman said.

If plans for the facility are approved by CA, funds would be included in the 1997 budget.

The ice rink could open as early as November 1997 and other facilities in 1998.

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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