The Piedmont Recreation Commission will hold the first of two public hearings on use of the today at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 120 Vista Ave., with an eye to controlling frequent use of the field by an informal group of adult soccer players.
Neighbors and families with children have complained for several years about the adult players who show up regularly, especially on pleasant Saturday and Sunday afternoons, for vigorous soccer games.
In February 2008, the Piedmont City Council approved new rules limiting adult use of the playfield by groups of 12 or more persons 21 years of age or older concurrently participating in the same activity or game, including substitutes or alternatives but excluding coaches or spectators.
After more discussion in 2010 and 2011, recreation commissioners decided to leave the situation as it was, pending the results of a park monitoring program.
However, City Councilmember Garrett Keating says, ""The use restrictions we previously adopted were ignored by a group of adult players and have proven problematic for the Police Department to enforce. The field monitor worked for awhile but the group returned after that program ended.
"Several families have told me they that they cannot get on the field when the adults play or don't want to risk their children being 'beaned' by errant kicks.
"The proposal coming forward will allow adult games on half of the field while leaving the other half available for kids and families. Seems like a good way to share the field."
According to Piedmont's recreation director, Mark Delventhal, the city has received many complaints from neighbors and parents over the years. While other park areas have occasionally been taken over by adult groups, the problem has been worst at the Beach Playfield, he said.
"Adults kick a ball and little kids get hit," he said.
Neighbors have also complained about noise and about use of the field by adult non-Piedmont residents.
One option, Delventhal said, would be to divide the 120 x 240-foot field in two, reserving half of the divided field for use by children and families. The other half would "not really be suitable for adults," he said.
The city might use lines, cones or even a temporary fence to divide the field, Deventhal said. Any action by the recreation commission will come in the form of a recommendation to the Piedmont City Council
The public is invited to comment in person tonight and at a second commission hearing on Sept. 19.
Written comments may be directed to Dick Hunt, Chairman, Piedmont Recreation Commission, 358 Hillside Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611 or by email to email@example.com.
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