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Letter: Williamsville voters should reject plan for athletic fields

Williamsville voters should reject plan for athletic fields

The proposed “turf envy” athletic field improvements for Williamsville East and North High Schools are out of character for the neighborhoods they adjoin. The proposed improvements marginally benefit student athletes participating in outdoor sports, but several aspects will negatively impact neighborhood quality of life, resulting in higher property taxes and diminished property values – a “game changer” for bordering neighborhoods.

Installation of field lighting and open community use creating a “sportsplex” facility are at the center of the controversy. These neighborhoods are being railroaded by the district. During the planning process that occurred over a six-month period, the district failed to contact or engage the neighborhoods and solicit their input. The meeting minutes show that neighborhood resistance could derail the project. The district completed a flawed environmental review. Its conclusion resulted in a Type 2 declaration, negating any detailed environmental reviews. The review fails to disclose that there will be field lighting, sound systems and commercial “sportsplex” use of the fields to generate revenue, drawing more people and use significantly beyond current levels. These are dramatic changes that warrant a Type 1 positive declaration.

The district clearly circumvented the environmental review process so as to not derail the project. The neighborhoods found out about the projects only after they were voted onto the ballot by the board. We are left fighting to change the course of the train after it has left the station. Our only option is to block the vote. On May 19, vote no to Proposition 4. Visit

Gene Melnyk

Britannia Block Committee

East Amherst