Addressing the impact of adding the four light towers alone when the Central School District has additional plans for the site and surrounding properties constitutes an impermissible segmentation under SEQRA. The lights are but one step leading to:
Application to extend sewer and water to the complex.
Adding parking lot lights
Building sidewalks across rural property owners’ land outside the village
Requesting the village to annex the complex. This, by necessity, would require annexing all rural and agricultural properties in the town between the village line and the school district’s Fenner Road Complex, regardless of many property owners’ wishes.
Your lawyer should have advised you that these actions, looked at as a whole, would require a full SEQR review.
Later in the meeting, when it became clear that the board had pre-decided how it was going to vote, I again spoke and reminded you that:
The school is part of the community - it gets its students from the community and its revenues through taxing the community.
It is wrong to undertake such a significant action without the community’s full knowledge and consent.
In addition to the above objections, I would like to make the following observations:
A few years ago the school proposed to install the same type of lights at its football field, but when it was put to a vote, the community turned it down by a large margin. To be sure, the community would have had to pay for the High School field lights, whereas the Fenner lights are a “gift”, so no vote is required.
But, does this imply that the board would treat a “gift” to pay for four light towers at the High School field the same way - declare it a Type II Action, hold no vote and allow no SEQR review? (Arguably, a decision to install lights at the High School field would be more logical, and on balance less costly, than installing them at the Fenner Field Complex.)