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Commissioners deny local cricket field expansion
atlanta cricket fields
Commissioners denied an amendment of zoning request for Atlanta Cricket Fields to expand its playable field space off Keith Bridge Road. Photo courtesy Atlanta Cricket Fields.

A cricket league’s request to expand its field space was shot down by commissioners at the latest Forsyth County Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Sept. 16.

In a unanimous 5-0 vote, commissioners voted to deny a zoning request by Atlanta Cricket Fields, located on Keith Bridge Road, to add one more field on 7.3 acres on the property’s northeastern corner.

The purpose of the field would have been to allow children a place to train and practice cricket.

Ethan Underwood, attorney representing the applicant, explained that a previous zoning condition placed on the property states that a “boundary of any athletic field may not be located within 450 feet of Cantrell Circle,” the road to the north of the fields.

“It doesn’t say ‘concession stand;’ it doesn’t say ‘training facilities;’ it doesn’t say the property cannot be used,” Underwood said. “It just says athletic fields.”

Underwood argued that the land could potentially be used for any of the aforementioned uses, but Atlanta Cricket Fields were requesting an additional, smaller cricket field in order to ameliorate possible future noise and lighting issues between the fields and surrounding neighbors.

While Underwood said he knew the Wild Rose neighborhood, a neighborhood across from the property on the other side of Cantrell Circle, was not in favor of the expansion, he hoped the proposed conditions for the amendment of zoning request would help quell neighbors’ worries.

Some conditions included prohibiting loudspeakers and lights on this specific field, prohibiting a field from being placed within 300 feet of Climbing Rose Way, prohibiting vehicular access onto Cantrell Circle and retaining a 40-foot buffer between the property and Cantrell Circle.

During his presentation, Underwood explained that the applicant had received letters of support from the neighbors that directly abutted the property to the west and southeast.

“We’ve got the consent from the folks who are most affected by [the request],” Underwood said.

However, two representatives from the Wild Rose HOA spoke in opposition to the cricket field expansion, presenting their own letters from unhappy Wild Rose residents.

“The reason why people are moving into our neighborhood is because they enjoy being out in the country; they love the larger lot sizes and the peaceful neighborhood,” said Liana Hall. “The neighbors heard about this amendment and said, ‘No, [the fields are] already too much noise.’ If we had a way to push the fields back further, we would.”

During discussion, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills agreed with Chairman Alfred John that she was “stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

On one hand, Mills said she enjoyed working with the Atlanta Cricket Fields and hoped to one day have more playable space for cricket players in the county.

On the other hand, Mills said she could not go against the Wild Rose community and the previous conditions on the property.

 “You’re obligated to a good use here, but at the same time, you’re obligated to the community as well,” John said.

Mills also said she hoped that in the future, the property would not turn into something “more challenging for the neighbors.”

But with the property’s original conditions still in place, Mills made a motion to deny the amendment of zoning request.