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Plainedge Park neighbors wrestle with ballfield nuisance

Greg Lane stands at the window of his

Greg Lane stands at the window of his bedroom in Plainedge, which is only a few feet from the multi-sport field in the park on Monday, April 7, 2014. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

In the two years since the Town of Oyster Bay opened Plainedge Park on the site of a former school, neighbors say its heavily used ballfields and playground have been a nightmare because of poor design and inadequate supervision.

The residents say insufficient fencing and netting allow baseballs, lacrosse balls and soccer balls to continually end up in their yards and occasionally dent siding and break skylights and windows. They also complain that the noise from a lack of screening and buffer areas prevents them from using their backyards or leaving their windows open.

And they say a lack of personnel leads to young people climbing atop goal posts and plastic palm trees and throwing trash onto their properties.

"The biggest problem is the noise and the balls in the yard," said Diane Sabino, who lives on the west side of the park. "Last year, we got 124 balls. I've had two broken skylights, and they broke a living room window and a sliding door on my deck," all of which the town replaced. "It's kind of dangerous sitting in your own yard."

Town officials say they have met repeatedly with the neighbors before and after the 5-acre park opened in North Massapequa and have made changes to try to reduce the problems. And town attorney and deputy supervisor Leonard Genova said this week a meeting would be scheduled with residents and changes made on the fencing, screening, noise and supervision issues.

Greg Lane, who lives next to the field, said "there is no soundproofing or landscape buffer." He said he had more than 40 dents in his siding before the town replaced it in September, but new dings are accumulating.

While the town has installed a 20-foot tall barrier of chain-link fence and netting along his property line and additional netting attached to 45-foot poles by the goal post by his side yard, Lane said the "netting falls down constantly."

He and the neighbors want additional tall poles and better netting where the park abuts houses.

Lane showed where someone had bent the vertical metal fence posts on the park perimeter fence to sneak into the park when it's closed and in some places break off the hollow metal posts.

Genova said the town has already redesigned a baseball backstop and added bushes and more netting.

After hearing of the current complaints, he said the town will increase plantings as a noise screen and look into sound-dampening walls.

The town will immediately repair the broken and bent perimeter fence, Genova said. And the sagging netting behind the goal post will be replaced and the town will look at expanding the taller netting to where the park abuts other houses.

"We're going to increase public safety patrols on off-hours, and we're going to make a concerted effort with park personnel when there aren't scheduled games to try to enforce park rules" to reduce noise and littering, Genova said.

Town workers were at the park fixing the netting Wednesday.

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