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November 2, 2020 - Homeowners, Alexandria City School Board and City of Alexandria Resolve Dispute Over T.C. Williams Parker-Gray Stadium Lights

Homeowners, Alexandria City School Board and City of Alexandria Resolve Dispute Over T.C. Williams Parker-Gray Stadium Lights

Alexandria, Va. — Fifteen longtime owners of homes near T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, the Alexandria City School Board (School Board) and the City of Alexandria have agreed to resolve all lawsuits relating to the proposed renovation of the Parker-Gray Stadium on the campus of T.C. Williams, including the installation of stadium lights.
The settlement allows lights to be installed at the Parker-Gray Stadium as part of a stadium modernization plan, in return for the School Board’s commitment to limitations on usage of the stadium lights that will help preserve the quality of life in the neighborhoods adjoining T.C. Williams High School.

The agreement will allow the use of the stadium lights for interscholastic high school athletic contests, including varsity football games, for up to 50 nights per academic school year, in addition to postseason games and practices. When the stadium lights are used for interscholastic contests, the School Board has agreed to turn them off by 9:45 p.m. on weekdays (Monday-Thursday, or up to 30 minutes later in the event of injury, overtime or weather) and 10:15 p.m. on weekends (Fridays and Saturdays). The school will use a sound amplification system for varsity games only, and will limit amplified noise to 55 decibels (the current City ordinance level). Fans will be prohibited from using artificial noisemakers such as horns and cowbells. 

The use of stadium lights for school athletic practices will be limited to in-season teams, and the school will turn practice lights off by 7:45 p.m. No amplified sound will be used at practices. The School Board also agreed that stadium lights will not be used on Sundays, during the winter sports season (mid-November thru mid-February), or during summertime (June–July). 

The School Board agreed that it would not issue permits for any non-school lighted events at Parker-Gray Stadium. This includes recreation, travel, and adult league athletics and activities.

As a part of the stadium renovation approved by the Alexandria City Council in the Development Special Use Permit, the school will install a 10-foot high privacy fence between the athletic field area and adjacent homeowners, install plantings that will provide additional visual and noise relief for residents, and perform sound and light tests to minimize the impact of stadium activities on the adjacent neighborhoods.

The agreement between the homeowners, School Board, and City was approved by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Horne. The agreement, which will remain in effect until 2060, resolves four lawsuits filed by the homeowners in 2018. Because the parties reached an agreement to resolve the lawsuits, the court did not rule for or against any party.

The homeowners were represented by Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP and Lars Liebeler P.C.; Shannon Mullins & Wright, LLP; and John Thorpe Richards Jr., Esq. 

The School Board was represented by Blankingship & Keith, P.C. The City was represented by the City Attorney’s Office and Greehan, Taves & Pandak, PLLC.

See the full legal agreement (PDF).