August 2, 2021

Old Lyme Zoning Delays Decision on LOL Schools’ Proposed Artificial Athletic Field Pending Drainage Review, ‘It’s All About Drainage’ (Cable)

This image, courtesy of Milone & MacBroom, shows the current field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School (left) and the proposed synthetic turf field (right.)

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Zoning Commission listened patiently in their meeting held Monday evening via Zoom to a presentation by representatives from Milone & Macbroom on the proposed synthetic turf multi-purpose field, which Lyme-Old Lyme Schools plan to build to the rear of Lyme-Old Lyme High School. The first part of the meeting constituted a Public Hearing for the project.

The new field, priced at approximately $2.5 million, will be built on top of the existing geothermal system and the presenters agreed the selected contractor would have to perform, “Pre-construction tests to make sure the the geothermal system isn’t compromised.”

They also detailed how, “The premise is that water is going completely through the carpet [the synthetic turf]” and then drained away through a vast system of pipes.

Asked whether there was any danger of pollution from the drained water, the presenter replied, “Because of the way we design the system, the water running off is clearer than the rain going in,” adding, “There’s chemicals in there, but the materials do not ever leach out. We don’t see any environmental impacts.”

He noted that the use of recycled tires for the production of synthetic turf also, “Saves tires going into landfills.”

Asked by commission member Jane Marsh how long the artificial field could be expected to last, the presenter responded, “Eight years is the expected life … I’ve seen up to 14 years. He concluded, “The fields should easily last 12 years.”

When the time comes to replace the field, the presenter explained, “All the infrastructure below the turf [the geothermal system] will remain. Just the turf will be replaced.”

There were no questions or comments from the public and so the commission voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing.

The commission then went on to discuss the project as an item of business in their regular monthly meeting and that was when things took an unexpected turn. Long-term commission member Jane Cable stated, “I don’t feel competent to evaluate the drainage. This should automatically have gone to Tom [Metcalf – the Town Engineer.]”

Commission member Maria Martinez agreed with Cable saying, “We should do due diligence and double-check.”

Cable said pragmatically, “It’s all about drainage.”

Marsh added, “My breath is being taken away by the cost of this thing,” but Martinez reminded her that the commission’s job is not to consider the cost of the project but rather, “We have to approve [its] safety.”

Members of the commission concurred that the Old Lyme Inland Wetlands Commission had already approved the project but with a condition relating to the permeability of the walkway. They requested that Land Use Coordinator Dan Bourret should send the plans to Metcalf for his review, to which Bourret agreed.

Cable then proposed a motion, “… that we put our decision off to next month to get the review from Tom.” The motion to continue the discussion to next month’s meeting was unanimous.

Editor’s Note: Visit this link for more information about the proposed synthetic turf field, 


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