Staples gridiron scoreboard OK’d for electronic transformation
Published 6:21 am, Thursday, June 11, 2015
No flags were thrown by town officials in considering plans to install following a request to construct a new electronically updated scoreboard at the Staples High School football field.
After unanimous approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday, the new video-capable sign is expected to be erected in time for this fall’s football season. Members of the Gridiron Club, comprising parents of the Staples football players, have already raised the $110,000 cost for the scoreboard.
In past years, installation of floodlights at the field to allow for night games touched off a lengthy battle with neighbors concerned about the lighting and noise, but no opposition was voiced at Tuesday’s meeting.
“The sign is over 420 feet away from the nearest neighbor … so there is no visual access to this sign from the neighbors,” said Richard Redniss, who represented the application for the town-owned property.
While the sign offers video capability, it will not be used for replays but instead for animation graphics that will advertise various school-related enterprises, according to the proposal.
“We would like to have the animation of the sign because we believe it is accessory to the educational structure,” Redniss said, noting that students will be responsible for managing the messages posted on the sign.
“The video component … is about 90 square feet right here in the upper portion,” he told the ZBA, showing a conceptual illustration of the new scoreboard, which will be around 10 feet higher than the one it will replace. “It will be able to display advertisements, programmatic things that the students produce and it can do stills.”
“I think the thing is great,” said ZBA Chairman James Ezzes, noting that students have been “overdoing” banners displayed along the fences. Redniss said the scoreboard is envisioned to take the place of those banners.
“There’s no audio portion to this sign …” Redniss said. “This is part of the educational programming at the high school … They program this. They run this.”
“Why didn’t we do this with my kids when they were growing up?” said Bernard Deverin, a ZBA member.
Zoning Director Larry Bradley noted that video signs are not allowed in Westport, but Ezzes said this would be a reasonable exception. “I don’t have a problem with this,” he said.
Sheri Gordon, ZBA member, raised the question of padding around the poles that will support the scoreboard for the safety of athletes. “I do think for safety we should put some sort of protective wrapping on the poles,” she said.
The ZBA approved the project with that proviso.