River Forest tennis club to hold off on lights for now

Club's leaders say they'll address complaints from neighbors before submitting permit application

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

The response from neighbors of the River Forest Tennis Club last month has for now dissuaded its staff from going forward with a plan to install lights on three of its courts.

But the club's president and vice president said they'd still like to move forward with the project if there's a way everyone can be satisfied, and only after they work to address the concerns raised by neighbors at the Dec. 19 meeting.

The proposal called for 12 26-foot poles with one or two fixtures each to be installed on three of the club's courts this spring. Light poles would be installed on the other three courts at a later date. Club President Dan Arends said the lights would allow the club to extend its season dates and hours and allow working residents to attend the club at night.

But neighbors of the club in the 600 block of Lathrop Avenue said they've experienced litter, noise and light pollution and unruly behavior from club members over the years. A leaflet distributed by Lathrop Avenue resident Ed Voci had the names of neighbors from 18 households including his own who opposed the lights.

The club had until Dec. 22 to submit an application for a planned development permit to keep the project moving forward, but they decided against it, said Arends. Club staff want to first see what they can do to fix some of the problems brought up by neighbors before they figure out how to proceed. Ed Sloan, vice president of the club, said he believes they're still intending to move forward with the project.

Sloan said they'll develop a plan over the next few months for how to upgrade facilities that will meet the needs of the neighbors. For example, Sloan said to cut down on light shining into their homes, the club could have landscaping done to add bushes or they could put mesh over the fence so that not as much light would reflect. He said they haven't corresponded with the neighbors since the meeting, but the two groups will meet again in several months to discuss any changes the club makes. The goal is to craft a proposal that will be as minimally problematic for neighbors as possible, Sloan said.

"Improvements that we make need to enhance the lives of the people who are participating in the club and those that live around the club," he said.

Voci called the club's decision not to submit the application "very gratifying," and said he'd listen to what the club leaders had to say. But until they withdraw the proposal completely, Voci said he and others would continue to not only "vigorously oppose it by all legal means necessary," but also hold the club accountable on every nuisance it creates.

"I urge RFTC to be good neighbors and stop now," he said.

Reader Comments

5 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Ed Voci from River Forest  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 10:17 PM

To Ed Sloan: bushes and mesh fencing are not solutions to 96 car doors slamming (6 courts x 4 players x 2 matches x arrive/depart), nor to 100s of tennis balls popping and chatter, nor to added traffic with headlights beaming into homes and porches upon entering/exiting the grossly inadequate parking lot, nor to vertical-glow light pollution, nor to the tennis tournaments that will exacerbate these nuisances. Bushes and mesh fencing won't even prevent lateral light trespassing. Give it up.

RF Homeowner from RF  

Posted: January 13th, 2013 2:30 PM

Yay! RFTC is going to talk to the neighbors! The immediate neighbors are NOT the only River Forest residents impacted by the crowded side streets near the club however. Some of us who live within a few blocks of the club still try to drive on Oak during the *gasp* summer months. Please consider this factor when talking to the IMMEDIATE neighbors regarding traffic and parking issues!

John  

Posted: January 12th, 2013 4:25 PM

@Anne, I am not nasty. Is using the word arrogance nasty? What do you call trying to ram through a major light application to the Village - and asking for variances on traffic and economic impact?

Anne  

Posted: January 12th, 2013 12:38 PM

John, The board and members of RFTC ARE the neighbors. They live on Lathrop and Jackson all around the club, many walk or ride their bikes to play tennis or swim in the summer. The membership amount is capped so they don't spill over the boundaries of the club ie noise, congestion etc. They also are accepted on how much time they can give to volunteer to keep the club running.It is a WORKING club. Don't make nasty comments especially when you don't have the facts.

John  

Posted: January 12th, 2013 8:38 AM

Well, is any one surprised. Maybe the board of RFTC who thought they had been great neighbors? Kind of reminds me of a similar attempt of grab by the current village board on home rule. There is one word that fairly sums it up -- arrogance.

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