MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — Judge James DeRose dismissed complaints against the Westfield Board of Education by Westfield resident Gregory Kasko regarding temporary lights on Kehler Field Thursday at the Mountainside Municipal Court.
“These complaints should be dismissed and I am going to dismiss them,” said DeRose.
Since the Westfield Soccer Association’s pilot lighting program began, many residents have opposed the temporary lights placed on Kehler Field. The 10-week program ends Friday. (To read our recent story on the issue, click here.)
Kasko filed three complaints against the board, which had to do with the alleged violation of ordinances on the basis of noise, the height of the lights and the shielding of the light fixtures.
The town’s noise control officer, Tanya Moon, was in court to give her testimony, but never spoke. The board’s attorney, Richard Kaplow, did refer to Moon’s observation that there was no violation of a noise ordinance.
“She closed the case and found no violation,” said Kaplow.
Kaplow also repeatedly mentioned that no official from the city had ever stated that the pilot program violated any of the ordinances mentioned in the complaints nor did they appear in court to confirm the complaints.
Kasko’s attorney, John Blake, claimed that the town, on behalf of the board, deliberately ordered the police department to dismiss any noise complaints made about the pilot program. The perceived bias by the town was why the hearing was not held in the Westfield Municipal Court.
“Someone in the town ordered the police department to not respond,” said Blake.
DeRose responded saying that such accusations were more of a criminal or superior court matter, and that he was uncertain if all the proper defendants were being tried, the WSA and the town of Westfield.
After stating his decision, DeRose said that Kasko had 20 days to file an appeal to the superior court. Kasko later told TAP into Westfield that he has decided not to appeal.
Kasko submitted this statement to TAP into Westfield:
“While I may disagree with the judge's finding, I respect that a court has decided the matter. The cost of an appeal is prohibitive and the matter will end for me at this point.
“I still strongly object to the avoidance of public opinion by the Westfield Board of Education and their ability to circumvent public input because the WSA funded the lighting of Kehler Stadium during the ‘pilot.’ Had public money been used for the ‘pilot,’ the process would not have been as accommodating to the WBOE and WSA.
“No land owner in Westfield should be able to quietly seek immunity from town officials thus eliminating government oversight.”