May 4, 2021

Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District Board Members

7666 NE High School Road Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

RE: Questions/Concerns Regarding Stadium Lighting Proposal for Battle Point Park Park Board of Commissioners:

A number of Bainbridge Island residents have recently formed a group called the “Battle Point Night Skies Alliance” (BPNSA) to address the re-emergence of a stadium lighting proposal for the turf fields at Battle Point Park. This group consists of residents who live in close proximity to Battle Point Park, and is expanding to include others outside the neighborhood who also have concerns about the potential impacts of the Bainbridge Island Football Club’s April 1, 2021, proposal for stadium lighting. BPNSA members enjoy many of the park’s benefits and support opportunities for physical activity and youth sports at Battle Point and at all Island parks. Although well intentioned, stadium lighting has the potential for unintended consequences for many neighborhood residents and the Battle Point Astronomical Association. The impacts discussed in this letter need to be carefully considered prior to any decision on the proposal. The Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) Board of Directors has also voted to endorse this letter. We the undersigned believe that good public process requires that the Park District and Park Board provide answers to numerous questions raised by the BPNSA group and other park users, including the questions below:

Question 1: In 2005, Battle Point neighbors and many others opposed adding night lighting at the park and the Board agreed that the impacts were too great to proceed — so why is the Park Board now considering a new lighting proposal? BPNSA members believe this proposal backtracks on the compromise reached in 2005 on stadium lights for Battle Point Park. Many in the group are frustrated and have expressed a feeling of betrayal regarding the Park Board’s consideration of yet another lighting proposal. The Park Board decision in 2005 resulted in the installation of artificial turf fields that increased traffic on Battle Point and Arrow Point roads, and much increased use of the park. Stadium lighting creates a significant additional use, pushing impacts into evening hours. We believe that is inconsistent with the rural nature of the Battle Point Park neighborhood and does not reflect the values and interests of Island residents who use the park but don’t principally play sports at the park.

Question 2: In a rural residential neighborhood without sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, or white striping on the edge of the roadways, why would the Park Board and City support a proposal that would create a new safety hazard by bringing substantially increased traffic — already heavy at times for a residential area — into the neighborhood during nighttime hours? Stadium Lighting Proposal for Battle Point Park traffic became much heavier following the installation of turf fields, and even heavier around the perimeter of the park since Parks closed the road through the middle of the park, funneling sport field users through a single entrance on the west side. No improvements to the roadways leading to the park have been installed or planned to address the increased traffic and the safety issues this has created.

Question 3: Why is the Park Board considering a proposal that represents a threat to the viability of Battle Point Astronomical Association (BPAA) and the unique resource provided by the Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory to the entire Island community? The Park District signed a 35-year lease with the BPAA in 2012, providing some certainty to the BPAA, neighborhood residents, and others Island residents who value the park and Observatory for night sky exploration.

Question 4: How would the Park Board address the already problematic septic issues at the park which BPNSA believes would be exacerbated by the stadium lighting proposal? The park’s septic system is already at its maximum to the point where port-a-potties must be brought in for sporting events, movie nights, summer concerts, etc. How would sewage overflows and insufficient drain field functionality be addressed?

Question 5: What assurance is there that nighttime stadium lights would not produce light trespass into the surrounding neighborhoods from October through March (the time period proposed)?

Question 6: What assurance would there be that the use of lighting, once installed, would not be expanded in the future, including allowing lighting later in the evening, and through the addition of other lighting in the park, e.g., parking lot lighting, lighting for other sport fields, etc.?

Question 7: Does the Park Board understand that the proposal potentially lessens property values in the neighborhood and a creates a potential taking of property rights?

Question 8: How does the Park Board justify asking the Battle Point residents to once again absorb and support another large-scale activity in an already heavily used park, this time asking for support of nighttime park use with resulting increases in traffic, noise, people in all parts of the park, etc.? Even without nighttime uses, the number of current activities at Battle Point Park is a very long list and new activities are added each year. The group has supported new public uses of the park, but is highly concerned about impacts from night time use of the park.

Question 9: Why is the Park Board considering nighttime lighting at Battle Point instead of exploring other alternatives, including adding lighting at other parks or properties with much less use and less impact to surrounding neighborhoods? For example, off Island, there are four acres of lighted turf fields being proposed at the Poulsbo Events and Recreation Center. BPNSA would be a willing participant in a broader community discussion about the need and the available alternatives for additional sport fields and nighttime lighting, if a need for night lighting is clearly demonstrated.Stadium Lighting Proposal for Battle Point Park.

Question 10: What plans do the Park District, Park Board, and Bainbridge Island Football Club have to notify and discuss this proposal with the entire Battle Point Park neighborhood?

Question 11: How would the Park Board address other environmental impacts expected as a result of the proposal, including among other things impacts to wildlife? Would a State Environmental Policy Act review occur?

Question 12: Does the proposal comply with the City Comprehensive Plan, City zoning, the Outdoor Lighting Ordinance, etc.? Would a Conditional Use Permit be required? The BPNSA looks forward to hearing the responses to these questions and expects the Park District and Park Board to establish a fair process to address the needs of youth and adult sports on the Island that looks Island wide, not just at Battle Point Park. BPNSA requests that the Park District and Park Board address the interests and concerns of the neighborhood and other Island stakeholders and find solutions that ultimately work for all Island residents.

Signed (listed alphabetically),

Kim Anicker and John Willson
Gary and Laurie Axling
Battle Point Astronomical Association
Bill and Kathy Beck
Ken Bennett and Susan Marie Anderson
Michele and Charles Bombardier
Eva and Jay Counts
Scott and Betsy Daniels
Mari Ellingsen
Bob and Princie Falkenhagen
Farrah Ferguson
Jamie Fleming and Nicole Chilivis
James and Neena Forsher
Allison Garrison
Lorna Jean Giger
Amy Goldthwaite
Daniel Gottlieb
Randy Groves and Melissa Sherrow
David and Cindy Harrison
Pam Harrison and Bill Nakao

Takahisa and Tomoe Hasegawa
Sara and Thomas Hayward
Helen Hendrickson
Adrian and Jane Hobden
Martha Horike-Pyne
Leigh Jones-Bamman and Richard Bamman
Elizabeth Keegan
Deborah Kohli
Alan and Kathy Krause
Elana Lesser and Cliff Ruby
Alison Lum
Karen Mattock
Jenny Morber
Rick Nakata
Ernie and Nancy Olson
Linda Owens
Sarah Pearl and Barry Sacks
Jim and Pam Porter
Eric and Jan Rasmussen
Valerie and Fred Reinke

Susan Rennels and Robert Brown
Mary Romeo, Elisa Romeo, and Adam Foley
Jan Willem Rosenboom, Alice Levisay, and Johanna Rosenboom
Phyllis and Arnold Rowland
Alan and Joyce Rudolph
Stephen and Pamela Ruhl
Jill and Bob Russell
Ken and Colleen Scott
Gene Seligmann and Ki Kilcher
Kris and Rob Shanafelt
Nancy Shurtleff
Richard Storch and Lois Reitz
Mary and Frank Stowell
Rex and Amy Tibbens
Sue and Jay Trinidad
Virginia Trinidad
Anne and Barney Voegtlen
Dallas Young

Cc: Bainbridge Island City Council Members Terry Lande, BI Metro Park and Recreation District Steven Powell, Bainbridge Review