Bexley News

Capital's revised stadium plans go before SBNA

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During a March 28 special meeting of the South Bexley Neighborhood Association (SBNA), residents will have an opportunity to hear details and voice their opinions about Capital University's revised plan to add additional sound and other enhancements to its Bernlohr Stadium.

The SBNA's special meeting is set for 6 p.m. Friday at Montrose Elementary School, 2555 E. Main St. The Bexley Planning Commission is scheduled to review the revised plan at a special meeting at 6 p.m. April 7 at City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

During the March 28 meeting, SBNA representatives will discuss the changes the university has made to its stadium plan since weekly meetings between SBNA, Capital and city representatives began in mid-January.

"(The meetings) have been cordial and businesslike and all parties have had an opportunity to present data and voice their position regarding Capital's proposal," said Ian Nickey, SBNA organizer.

Capital introduced its plan to add lights and an additional sound system to the stadium at the April 22, 2013, planning commission meeting. Capital withdrew the proposal in June after residents expressed concerns about noise, congestion and safety issues -- especially at proposed night games that the stadium enhancements would allow.

The university submitted a revised proposal in October and later tabled it in order to gather more community input; two public meetings were held last fall.

During a Nov. 18 meeting at Bexley High School, Capital University representatives, city of Bexley officials and residents vowed to work together to find a compromise.

"Over a series of 12 meetings, we have reviewed Capital's proposal in detail, reviewed the findings of the South Bexley Neighborhood Association representatives, consulted with a traffic engineer, a sound and lighting engineer, the city's and Capital's legal counsel, the city's commercial plan reviewer ... and Bexley Police Chief Larry Rinehart," Mayor Ben Kessler said.

Based on the discussions that took place at those meetings, the city's commercial plan reviewer drafted a "Planning Approval Conditions" document for discussion and amendment by the group. The document will be made available to the public sometime this week and will be discussed at SBNA's special meeting on Friday, Kessler said.

The document "adds comprehensive traffic and parking management processes for Capital sporting events for both day and night games, adds additional safety measures, restricts the number of games and practices, limits game and practice times, provides for active sound monitoring and benchmarking and adds accountability measures for the enforcement of the proposed planning conditions," Kessler said.

Despite all of these revisions to the stadium plan, he added, "It is important to note that the document is not endorsed by the representatives of the South Bexley Neighborhood Association, as it does still involve approving night games and practices at the stadium."

Nichole Johnson, director of media relations and communications at Capital, said via email that given the ongoing nature of conversations with the city of Bexley and the South Bexley Neighborhood Association, it's premature for Capital to discuss outcomes at this time.

At the Bexley Planning Commission's April 7 meeting, the commission will hear testimony from Capital representatives and the public.

The city's traffic and use-intensity studies and other details about the stadium plan are available to the public online at bexley.org/public-documents/.

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