Will adding lights to the lower tennis courts at pose a nuisance or improve the community?
That is the question on the minds of many Alamo residents who have written to the MAC and Supervisor Mary Piepho about the issue recently.
Residents will have an opportunity to share their views at the Alamo MAC meeting on Tuesday. There, the council will look at a proposal to add lighting to the tennis courts that are surrounded by Stone Valley Road, a residential neighborhood and the club's golf course.
At the meeting, country club staff will give a presentation about the proposal, followed by a public comment period.
The plan is to add dozens of 24-foot light fixtures to the unlit lower tennis courts, allowing them to stay open until 11 p.m. The courts now are open until sunset.
Detractors say the lights and operating hours will invade their home lives.
Mark and Marge Taylor called the back yard of their Britain Court home “our refuge, the heart of our family life, the site of our fondest memories,” adding that it sits 36 feet from the courts.
“We have hosted countless dinners, barbecues, birthday parties, pool parties, pre-prom parties and even Cub Scout and Girl Scout events in our back yard,” they said in an e-mail about their home of 19 years. “We have had sleep-outs and star-gazing nights. Lights on the courts will destroy all that.”
Some residents say they have to play tennis after hours, including Colleen Pastore, who said the lights would allow her post-workday tennis sessions.
“As a working woman, one of the main times that I am able to enjoy tennis is in the evenings after work,” she said. “Many people are not able to play during the daytime so lighted courts are a real necessity.”
Late-night hours also would support a growing need for the country club.
Supporters say Round Hill's members fill the tennis program so quickly that getting a spot on the upper courts is difficult.
The lower courts are usually open but “it gets dark so early and the lower courts cannot be used after 4:45 p.m.,” said club member Jill Newcomer.
Country club members Tom and Melva Hansen echoed that sentiment.
“Demand for court time frequently exceeds available space, especially in the evenings,” they said, adding that “Round Hill is the center of sports activity and social life in this part of the county.”
Kathleen Ralyea agreed, saying the lights would benefit members and draw more life to the area.
“[Tennis] is a great sport for our children and young adults,” she said. “This can only add to our enjoyment of this wonderful community.”
Such increased activity is one of many reasons other residents are against the proposal.
Kirk and Mary Bennett, who have lived on the 100 block of Valley Oaks Drive for 15 years, said they worry about the proposal because “the back of our home and yard are directly across the street from the tennis courts.” They said that 227 feet separates the nearest corner of the tennis courts and their downstairs bedroom.
Lois Master, a 40-year resident of the 2200 block of Stone Valley Road, said her upstairs bedroom is “directly across from the tennis courts” and that more lighting would heighten the impact of an already audible country club.
“During summer months, with my house windows open or sitting on my porch, I clearly hear the tennis court’s players hitting the ball back and forth,” she said, adding that “traffic is always a problem in that area."
Other residents say lighting would improve traffic safety, including Paul S. Bleeg, who said, “Lighting these courts would help the congestion issue in the evenings.”
A group called Friends & Neighbors of Round Hill for Quality of Life has organized a campaign called “Stop the Lights in Alamo.”
Resident and group spokesperson Paul Schafer said the group is collecting signatures against the country club’s proposal, calling it a “constructive nuisance.”
“It will greatly impact our quality of life and property values,” he said.
The group plans to attend the Tuesday meeting and has distributed an informational brochure (pictured).
Supporters of the plan also have pledged to stay involved.
Club member Bruce C. Anderson said, “I plan on attending future meetings where the petition is to be addressed to lend my support.”