The lawsuit between the Novato Unified School District (NUSD), and the Coalition To Save San Marin (CTSSM), had a final settlement on Aug. 26. It allowed the varsity football team to play an official game against Kelseyville under the stadium lights for the first time on Aug. 27.
CTSSM consists of neighbors and residents on San Marin drive and the houses surrounding the football field. The head of the unincorporated association is Mike Jolly, a resident of the San Marin neighborhood overlooking the football field. Jolly led the lawsuit against the district starting in 2015, when the stadium lights were approved and installed. The Coalition had environmental concerns as well as disturbance concerns.
“After 50 years of being in the dark…we wondered if lights were really necessary,”Jolly said.
Some restrictions regarding usage of the lights include that the lights must be turned off 15 minutes after the completion of games and practices must be completed by 7:30 pm. In addition, all games (except varsity) will be completed by 8:00 pm.
“If any of these rules are violated, the lights can be turned off indefinitely, so we are really trying our best,” Principal Mark Sims said.
There will be a revisit of this matter in 8 years assuming the rules are followed on both sides and both parties comply. “I’m really proud of the school and the students, the pride the students always had in making the [Kelseyville game] happen as it was agreed upon,” Jolly said.
The school board adopted a new policy on Aug. 17, that recognizes the need for our schools to be good neighbors in the use of permanent lights and amplified sound for public address (PA). The district administration shall maintain open communication with local residents and the broader community.