The call and applause for a score on the soccer field is the sound some Colonie town residents fear: Those who say putting the sport next to a cemetery is insensitive. Our Erin Vannella has the story.
COLONIE, N.Y. -- "I think people burying someone maybe don't want to see kids playing, some people. Kids don't want to think they're playing next to a cemetery, which this really works, 'cause they won't see each other. So I thought it was a win-win," said Afrim Sports Incorporated owner Afrim Nezaj.
Nezaj has asked to build four soccer fields and an indoor facility next to Memory Gardens, but the community has blocked his shot.
"We're not a high school game. We're not going to have a megaphone. We're 40 feet below where they are. There's a tree line and there's a berm, which will stay there. So really we won't see each other," said Nezaj.
But cemetery board members aren't so sure, telling YNN it's a great idea, just the wrong place. Complaints aside, Colonie zoning board members said no, too, for different reasons.
"That would be considered amusement and it wasn't zoned for that and because it's not a permitted use, it would go before the zoning board for a variance," said Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan.
So at Thursday's zoning board meeting, Nezaj will ask for a special use permit and make a case in the name of sensitivity and soccer.
"We have fences we've talked about and if there's a need for that, we'd certainly look to do that. We've talked about if there ever is a burial, we would not have an event close to us," said Nezaj.
"We certainly have to look at both sides and in this case, as in all cases, it's up to the zoning board and we'll let it go through the process and see how it turns out," said Mahan.