Residents make final plea for removal of North Babylon high school bleachers

NORTH BABYLON, Long Island (WABC) -- Residents who have been fighting to have the new bleachers at North Babylon High School dismantled because they tower over their backyards had their final chance Tuesday night to make their pleas to the North Babylon Board of Education.

Resident Chris Cannella told members of the board's building committee that the only acceptable resolution is to take down the press box and upper tier of the bleachers and move them to the visitors section of the field - on the opposite side and away from any homes.

The architects hired by the school district said it would cost between $300,000-$500,000 to relocate the bleachers.

The architects presented several other solutions Tuesday night, including installing a high fence with a screen, putting a wrap around the bleachers which would virtually hide them or planting tall trees, which could eventually grow to 40 feet.

"Those trees are not going to work in my yard. They're going to die," said resident Barbara Seaman.

The bleachers and press box have always been visible in the backyards of several homes on Spangle Drive. But over the summer, construction began on the new bleachers, which are about 10 feet higher and residents argue more intrusive.

The school district has said it made the residents aware of the extensive athletic field renovations being done at the high school, but residents said they were never told the extent of the bleacher project and how close it would be to their property lines.

"There's a balance of power that has been lost here, and I think that the community needs to get it back," Cannella said.

Daniel Caroleo, the president of the Board of Education, told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne he has visited the properties of the neighbors who are complaining about the bleachers.

"It's an eyesore, I have to admit that, anybody who goes by is going to say that so and that's why we want to work with them and resolve this problem," he said.

Cannella said Caroleo was one of only two board members who visited his property. He said none of the architects came to his backyard to survey.

Caroleo said the board will consider all the information from the architects and from the concerned homeowners and will render a decision in the coming months.

"We'll have to wait and see what their people come up with on a resolution, if it's an amicable resolution or if it's just a resolution that they want to do," said resident Jack Seaman.

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