Though the Department of Environmental Protection dismissed both high school appeals, Kevin MacDonald said he does not believe it is the end of the road for himself and other residents who oppose the project.
“I don’t think it’s over yet,” said MacDonald, who didn’t provide specific details as to what the next step may be. “We’re evaluating our options and talking to our attorneys. We feel as though the presiding officer has erred and made hasty decisions when we submitted documentation supporting our case.”
Multiple attempts by Patch to reach Gerry O’Reilly, the other appeal spokesman, for comment on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Upon dismissing the appeals, Hearings Officer Tim Jones said he will release a report by October 12 indicating why he ruled in favor of the town in its Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Decision.
MacDonald claims the town filed information early this week, and before appellants were able to respond with testimony from their expert witness, the case was dismissed.
“(Jones) probably got nervous that we actually had something of substance to offer, so he didn’t want to let it get to a hearing,” said MacDonald. “It doesn’t surprise us. The DEP official is hearing an appeal of a DEP ruling. It’s a conflict of interest. It’s a kangaroo court situation and I think it’s unfortunate for the people of Wilmington.”
According to MacDonald, the artificial turf presents hazards to the environment and players on the field. MacDonald referenced a pair of links that he believes prove the fields are higher maintenance than residents were told. He also said there is an increased risk of injury and staph infections when teams play on turf.
Despite the ruling against his appeal, MacDonald said he will continue to find a way to fight the project.
“We’re going to keep weighing our options,” said MacDonald. “We’re very disappointed the DEP doesn’t understand that their mission is to protect the environment. We’re questioning if they understand that. We’ve felt their mission is to protect the environment. It’s pretty obvious.”