In her Sunday letter, Carolyn Allendoerfer voiced her disappointment when the city of Mill Creek “snubbed” the joint proposal with the Everett School District to create a year-around, all-weather sports field at Jackson High School. I, along with many, if not all, of my neighbors, were pleased with this announcement.
Twenty-three years ago our neighborhood, which now borders Jackson High School, united and formed a homeowners association to challenge the construction of this school. Early on it was clear we couldn’t stop the construction, so our attorney’s priority was centered on making the high school less of an impact on our neighborhood. After months of negotiations and approximately $10,000 in legal fees, we agreed to drop our challenge when most of our concerns where addressed to our satisfaction in the Conditional Use Permit.
Hearing Examiner John Galt’s decision dated June 26, 1992, File No: ZA9102105, included no lights on the sports fields with the exception of the tennis courts lighting, which was to be shut off no later than 10 p.m. He went on to state no football games would be played at the site, as there were no stadium facilities contemplated. So the noise associated with these events such as bands, cheerleading, public address systems and organized yells were not addressed. Another section of his decision addressed our concern with litter. He ruled that the school district would form a litter patrol to collect litter inside a two-block radius of the school. He added if a student service club was not interested then district staff could pick up the litter. Student parking wasn’t addressed because the school application stated there would be adequate on campus parking. The Hearing Examiner wasn’t made aware the school would eventually charge the students for parking and our neighborhood was turned into a parking lot with students seeking free parking.
Twenty-two years have gone by since the issuance of the Conditional Use Permit. I have never seen anyone but my neighbors collecting the large increase of litter along the schools entrance. For years the tennis court lights illuminated our neighborhood long past 10 p.m. I’ve called the school several times over the years requesting compliance with the permit and every school official I spoke to had no knowledge of any legal obligations the school had with the surrounding neighborhoods. Several attempts to contact the Everett School District were unanswered. Our association had to request the city of Mill Creek restrict parking on our streets during school hours. This parking restriction applies to all vehicles, the city wouldn’t issue the homeowners individual permits.
After the school was completed, the school district has been lackluster at best to totally non-compliant in following the conditions of this permit. Now the district wants to install lighting and spectator seating on the sports field multiplying the traffic, litter, lighting and noise not only after school but on weekends and evenings, too. There has been little if any enforcement of the 1992 Conditional Use Permit and now the district wants to remove what little is left of our negotiated settlement.