Indian Meadow Drive residents, and neighbors in surrounding streets, were successful in their endeavor to keep Ruffnecks baseball from moving into their neighborhood.
Drawing rousing applause, the Zoning Board of Appeals denied the request of New England Baseball to purchase the land from IM Gold, which owns Indian Meadows Golf Club, to turn into a four-diamond complex and the home of the Ruffnecks.
More than 150 residents turned out for a at the Northborough Free Library on Tuesday night.
Despite New England Baseball's including removing lights on some of the fields and changing the hours of play, residents were still opposed.
Representatives from New England Baseball, and the neighborhoods that would be affected by the purchase, gave updated presentations on the impact the baseball complex could potentially have.
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To deny the application, it had to be proved that baseball would have a "significant and detrimental" change on the neighborhood that exceeded the effects of golf. New England Baseball, represented by lawyer Mark Donahue, argued that baseball differed little from golf in its effects, and brought in experts to present exhaustive sound and light studies.
Residents, led by a detailed presentation by Tom Racca and David Henry, were adamant that the impact—primarily in terms of sight and sound—would change the ambience of the neighborhood as they knew it.
"We have been trying to be respectful and courteous," said Racca, "but there is emotion and passion here. This is our home. Our neighborhood is quiet, especially in the eveig. This is a neighborhood where we can walk our kids and walk our dogs and you can unwind. We would never be able to do that again and have quiet conversations in the summer. It would be a change in our way of life and where we live."
Donahue reiterated that "we never suggested that there is no additional sound. we never said that. It's a nonconforming use and can be changed to another nonconforming use as was voted on at Town Meeting."
In the end, ZBA members unanimously agreed with residents.
"I looked up the words substantial and detrimental before this meeting," said board member Fran Bakstran. "You can argue that this would be a more detrimental and substantial use. Golf and baseball are different enough to me to say they are not a similar recreational use."
Board member Mark Rutan said he didn't think the noise would be a substantial issue, but that the light would.
"I live near the high school, and the noise doesn't have an impact on the enjoyment of my property," said Rutan. "But this is bringing lights closer, and these lights will have some carry over into the atmosphere. I think it is significant that this area doesn't have lights and it would substantially change the night-time character of the neighborhood."