Tree clearing and other aspects of construction have already begun to expand the Three Village Soccer Park at Stony Brook University, and negotiations are still ongoing between the Three Village Soccer Club and University officials regarding a new agreement on field use between the two neighbors.
However, caught in the middle is a separate group of neighbors: residents of the "H section" neighborhood, some of whom own property bordering the fields and are reeling at the thought of more soccer fields, lights illuminating some of those fields, and tree clearing that they say will kill their privacy, decrease their property values, and displace the wildlife.
"My concern is that the University is affecting our way of life. ... My wife and I are so upset that we are actually considering moving out of the community," said David Morgan, an H section resident since 2006. "We loved the neighborhood, the private setting, the woods. Now we have this issue."
"It’s not that we’re against Stony Brook," he added. "We actually moved to the community because we thought it was a great community. I feel like in the last year they’ve exploded and they’re taking over the community."
Vince and Cynthia Paretti, H section residents for 40 years, agreed and said they feel their neighborhood's interests have no representation within the negotiations over the soccer fields. They are concerned their property values will go down, and they worry there will be an increase in the noise generated by teams playing on the fields.
"It’s our life, it’s our investment. I don’t know what [the University's] endgame is," Vince Paretti said.
"They’ve changed the whole complexion of the neighborhood," Cynthia Paretti added.
They suggested that the University look toward space elsewhere on its campus for the fields they say are necessary for their recreational sports teams. "They have a lot of property. You drive by it and it seems like they have loads of space," Vince Paretti said.
However, other H section residents aren't as upset by the soccer field plans.
John Kitson, an H section resident since 1966, said that once he learned of the plan's specifics – including leaving a buffer of vegetation with a width of approximately 75 feet between the homes and the fields – he found it to be "a reasonable thing that serves both purposes," referring to both the community's needs and the University's needs.
"[The buffer] provides some privacy, though not as much as I had before," he said. "I also recognize the needs of the University. It was explained that the lighting wouldn’t affect me directly, that it would be on the other side of the fields more towards Stony Brook Road."
While University officials have previously said they circulated fliers in the neighborhood detailing the project, some residents, including Kitson, said they never received them. Thus, he said, his main concern was the lack of notification.
"I was never notified that this work was being done even though it’s bordering on my property," he said. "I thought the University would have been wise to be more sensitive to the community’s concerns."
Stony Brook spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said University officials have already met with some residents of that neighborhood, and will continue to do so upon request.
When asked for comment, Sheprow said: "The University is working to balance the needs of the community and the needs of our students with regard to the sports fields improvement project next to the South P parking lot on the Stony Brook University Campus. ... Members of the community are encouraged to contact the Community Relations Office at 632-6302 with any questions or concerns about the sports fields improvement project."
Meanwhile, the negotiations are still ongoing. Soccer club president Mitch Pally told Patch on Jan. 2 the club is "awaiting a new draft permit from the University," which he said he expects to come this week.