Northern Highlands (N.J.) Regional High School will be able to install permanent lighting for its athletic fields. A zoning ordinance is allowing this step to be taken, although there are many stipulations the school will have to follow.
An article from The Record explains that the school district has met resistance toward lighting its fields for more than two decades. In the mid-1990s, the borough’s Planning Board denied an application from the association to install four towers.
In 2015, the Board of Education received four electric-powered mobile light trailers as a gift from the sports association. After their use, three neighbors sued the board with allegations that the trailers were structures in need of zoning approval.
A Superior Court judge ruled in the district’s favor, although a site plan was needed. The borough brought in a land use expert, a municipal planner, attorneys, and the neighbors who had filed the lawsuit to create the ordinance that was adopted. A final settlement hasn’t been reached, but the ordinance will allow the agreement to get worked out.
“The actions you took tonight and in decades of ongoing litigation stopped the spending of taxpayer funds that could otherwise have been spent on education and/or municipal purposes,” Chris Nardone, Northern Highlands Sports Association president, told the Borough Council after the vote. “Most importantly, your actions allow the Board of Education to provide safe and sufficient opportunities for all student athletes.”