11 Jun 2015

City and School Officials at Odds Over Addition of Aluminum Bleacher

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Aluminum bleachers and football field

Sometimes adding an aluminum bleacher is not so easy

When you install a large-size aluminum bleacher, some times there might be an issue about whether everyone in the area will approve of the new addition.

One might think, who would object to more fans rooting for their local team? But unfortunately, there’s a lawsuit going on in Illinois over the size of bleachers at a high school that has neighbors in a tizzy and forced a school board into a defensive position.

Here’s the background. Residents near Crystal Lake High School are upset after the school decided to replace its 15-foot high aluminum bleacher with a 50-foot high aluminum bleacher that now abuts the backyard of several residences.

Apparently, the citizens were fine with the old aluminum bleachers. But with the additional rows, they claim there are now too many fans in the stands making too much noise. Well, that is what fans do. Usually just one day a week when a home game is played.

Resolving this issue is not so easy. For one, School District 155 spent $1.18 million dollars for their new, enlarged aluminum bleacher structure.

But the city claims the school had to first seek zoning approval before the bleachers were built. A county judge has already ordered that the bleachers be torn down or modified. But the school board essentially said, “Wait, not so fast.”

The school’s defense is that what they do on their property is not subject to local zoning ordinances. They claim their decisions are governed by rules established by the state legislature, not local cities.

However, the city contends, the district still need its approval, otherwise schools could go crazy building all sorts of structures (which they never really do). One judge even questioned whether the school could raise livestock on its property if it claimed they need to do so for agricultural classes.

So, to find a resolution, now the argument has gone all the way to the Illinois’s highest court.

Perhaps a different type of aluminum bleacher is the solution

 

The Illinois Supreme Court said it will decide this issue later in the year. Either way, one group is going to be unhappy.

Obviously, the lesson here is to check all local entities when there is a stadium remodeling, just to avoid hassles such as this later on. You never know who might object.

What are some of the options that might be available to District 155? For one, they might consider portable bleachers. In this case, they can wheel bleachers around to different parts of the stadium and then remove them when necessary. That might provide the extra seating they need.

Another option is for tip and roll aluminum bleachers. These are essentially portable bleachers, but are smaller and can be moved by hand. Again, they can easily be transported to an open area to provide seating for fans.

We are sure neither the home owners nor school officials have bad intentions. Most everybody supports their local schools and their teams. Sometimes an abrupt change is hard for people to accept. Home owners are protective of their properties.

An aluminum bleacher seems like a simple structure. But when it comes to local school sports teams, it’s an important structure with an emotional attachment by many fans.  Hopefully the outcome of the aluminum bleacher lawsuit can result in a mutually acceptable solution, and everybody can get back to cheering for their teams.

Here’s an article on the aluminum bleacher debate in Crystal Lake.

 

 

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