January 23, 2019
No New Stadium Statement
on Edgewood High School’s Alterations to Proposed Master Plan Amendment
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Catherine Jagoe
MADISON, WI. (January 23, 2019) -- In response to Edgewood High School’s January 9 announcement that it will alter its proposal to build a new $1 million, 1,000-seat stadium with lights and amplified sound, neighborhood group No New Stadium has issued the following statement:
We appreciate that Edgewood High School has admitted that stadium noise impacts can’t be mitigated, and has asked for a delay in consideration by the Plan Commission.
In an interview with Wisconsin State Journal reporter Dean Mosiman on January 9, Edgewood High School president Mike Elliott proposed alterations to EHS’s proposed Master Plan amendment to build the new stadium: reducing the 40 proposed night football games a year to 25 (none are currently permitted); ending football games by 10pm and other competitive sports events by 8:30pm; and building a noise barrier or wall on three sides of the stadium.
No New Stadium continues to oppose the Master Plan amendment because it would negatively impact livability for nearby residents and undermine urban greenspace in the neighboring Park and Pleasure Drive, Wingra Park, Vilas Park and on Lake Wingra:
EHS’ sound study by Professional Audio Designs of Wauwatosa, issued January 4, 2019, “contains a number of technical and legal errors, omissions, and misstatements, which invalidate much of its analysis and conclusions,” according to electrical engineer Ethan Brodsky. He notes that “Edgewood’s consultant has acknowledged, through this report, that a stadium would generate sound levels on neighboring properties that would exceed the city’s legal limit of 65 dB.” Their own consultants’ model shows a 70 dBA contour running along front-line homes on Monroe Street for a game with 150 spectators and no wall. Overall, Brodsky believes that the report “substantially underestimates stadium noise levels.”
EHS’ sound study underestimates the height of the barrier needed to mitigate stadium noise and overestimates the noise reduction it would achieve. Guidelines for noise barriers show that for effective noise remediation, any wall would have to block the direct line of sight from the grandstand to nearby homes. For houses along Monroe St, this would require a wall approximately 35-40 feet tall, not the 16-26 feet that EHS suggests. “Even supposing a 10 dB reduction in noise level from an adequately-sized noise barrier, stadium noise would still be substantially in excess of city regulations over a large area,” says Brodsky.
EHS also filed an Environmental Impact Assessment, dated January 10, 2019, which serves as a defense of, rather than guidance for, the proposed stadium and its design. Jim Lorman, Edgewood College Professor Emeritus, who has reviewed the EIA, says it is “largely a boilerplate review of issues (e.g., potential toxins) irrelevant to the specific concerns the public has raised about the proposal.” He documents problems throughout the report, noting particularly that it is “lacking adequate background and impact analysis on nearby areas that will be affected by the proposed project, including the local neighborhood (number and proximity of residents, etc.), the Edgewood Park and Pleasure Drive, and Lake Wingra.” Dr. Lorman says that the EIA is “incomplete and inadequate” and that “much of its analysis is subjective, unwarranted by existing data, misleading, and/or simply inaccurate.”
Documents released by the Middleton-Cross Plains School District reveal that, contrary to Edgewood’s claims that they could not continue playing their games at Middleton High School, they enjoyed preferential scheduling and terminated the agreement voluntarily. They could still play at Middleton.
Edgewood has violated the terms of the Master Plan and thus city zoning law by hosting numerous daytime and evening competitions for multiple sports on their field, after they committed to hold only phys ed classes and practices there. Many of these non-conforming events have generated noise levels on neighboring properties that exceed the limit set by city noise ordinance.
EHS committed to expand field use to a wide number of non-EHS groups in their June 2015 agreement with the Goodman Foundation, without consulting the neighborhood associations or including this in the Master Plan negotiations. Furthermore, they did not disclose that such events were occurring, and made statements in local media implying the opposite.
About No New Stadium
No New Stadium is a grassroots organization of neighbors who oppose Edgewood High School’s proposal to build an outdoor stadium with lights and amplified sound on its Monroe Street campus. The group was formed in October 2018. Learn more at nonewstadium.org.