Residents express anger to school board over high school bleacher project

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Kristin Thorne reports on the meeting to discuss the controversial bleacher project on Long Island.

Homeowners upset about the new bleachers at a Long Island high school that tower over their backyards aired their grievances to the board of education Tuesday night.

Several homeowners who live on and around Spangle Drive in North Babylon spoke at the North Babylon Board of Education meeting.

"This is a liability. This is an invasion of privacy," resident Chris Cannella told the board members.

Cannella suggested the board issue a stop work order until the issues are resolved.

"Not if, but when, there's an accident in our property, you guys will be called in for an investigation on who made the decision to put a dangerous structure in my backyard," he said.

Construction of the grandstand at North Babylon High School began last summer as part of massive renovations of the school's athletic fields.

The school district said it notified residents about the project as early as October 2017 via postcards, newsletters and open meetings. Residents said the school district never notified them of the scale of the grandstand, which features 1,200 seats and a press box, and how close it would be to their property lines.

"There's no reason to be fighting over this," resident Kathy Scheid stood up and said at the board meeting. Scheid said she sat on the bond committee which helped pass the bond for the athletic field renovations, including the grandstand.

Scheid told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne she understands why the residents are upset but said, "This is upsetting me because the bond committee worked very hard and the district was very transparent. And I don't understand why this is happening."

School district superintendent Glen Eschbach told attendees of the meeting the board will be able to answer more questions about the construction of the grandstand and any possible modifications at a public building committee meeting on December 18.

"Members of the board of education have visited the construction site to personally review the construction and will be discussing whether any remedy is possible," Eschbach said.

Eschbach said the school district's building committee, the architect, the school board and the administration will be present at the meeting next month.

"Everything will be completed by then and at that particular point it becomes very difficult and costly to make any changes. The changes should be done now," said resident Jack Seaman.

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societyhigh schoolNorth BabylonSuffolk County
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