Pantego Christian Academy will use shorter light standards for new athletic complex after neighbors object

01/26/2014 5:33 PM

01/26/2014 5:34 PM

Pantego Christian Academy envisions its planned multipurpose athletic complex as not only a place for home football games but also a gathering spot for a multitude of school and community events year-round.

One thing the complex won’t have, however, is 70-foot-tall light poles. The academy, at 2201 W. Park Row Drive, has withdrawn a request that it filed with the city of Arlington that would have allowed the poles along two sides of the site, which is zoned as residential.

“The neighbors didn’t necessarily appreciate the thought of the taller light standards and were quite opposed to it,” Headmaster Jay Pritcher said. “So we will be respecting their wishes and work with them as best we can.”

Under residential zoning, structures must have a setback from the property line that is three times their height — 210 feet, in this case. The academy was asking for setbacks of 59 and 61 feet on one side of the field and 71 feet on the other, according to city documents.

Light standards up to 30 feet tall are allowed without a variance.

Residents of Waggoner Drive, whose homes back up to Turpin Drive, which runs alongside the site, were among those who objected to the academy’s variance request, according to city documents. The case was scheduled to be heard by the Arlington Planning and Zoning Commission last week but was withdrawn by school officials, said Gincy Thoppil, a city planning manager.

Construction on the athletic complex will proceed as planned, Pritcher said, but without the taller lights, which he said would have produced less glare for neighbors and made for a better experience on the field.

The academy has been using Maverick Stadium at the University of Texas at Arlington as its home football field. Pritcher said the new athletic complex will “be used for a number of daytime and evening events,” including home football games, which should generate excitement for the surrounding community.

The complex will give the academy more flexibility in its scheduling of activities, and the artificial turf will allow heavier use than grass, he said.

“All of our co- and extracurricular programs will benefit from this complex.”

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