DARIEN, Conn. — Darien High School and the Darien Junior Football League want to keep the temporary lights used for football practice at a height of 30 feet.
The lights, which are used for evening practices for six weeks in the fall, had been kept at 20 feet high for years. Last summer the Planning and Zoning Commission changed the town ordinance allowing the lights to be raised to 30 feet and granted the Darien Junior Football League a one-year permit to try out the taller lights at the high school. The decision was opposed by some neighbors, who said the lights shined directly into their homes.
But the high school and junior league teams liked the higher lights, according to Superintendent Stephen Falcone. The increased height provided more light over the field, allowing the teams to use more of the field and made practices safer.
"The athletes, in particular, felt the support from their community, and they believed that their readiness to play late season contests received a material boost from the use of the portable light towers," Falcone said in his report on the lights.
Some neighbors expressed concern about the amount of light, Falcone said, but there was less feedback than in recent years. Some complained about glare reflected off school buildings, but this was remedied by shading school windows with cloth and plywood.
Other neighbors complained about light from the bulbs. The school sought out lights with shields around the bulbs, which would focus the light onto the field and prevent it from being seen from the surrounding homes, Falcone said. No such lights could be found, but the district will continue to pursue the possibility of light shields.
The schools and the football league will submit their reports to the Planning and Zoning Commission and apply for a permit to keep the 30-foot lights for an additional five years.