MADISON, Wis. - Many neighbors of Edgewood High School are celebrating a small victory after a ruling by a city board Thursday night.
For now, the high school won't be able to play games on its field, according to the zoning board of appeals.
It's a temporary relief for neighbors including Kay Gabriel, who has lived next to the high school for 20 years. She has been opposed to a new stadium that, to her, would mean excess noise.
"It would be like somebody living next door to you and having loud parties that you can't do anything about 40 nights a year," Gabriel said.
Edgewood's master plan said the school would use the space the field is in for practices and classes, and a change would allow the school to host its home games there. Edgewood first brought the proposal to amend its master plan to the city last year, though the school has since dropped it.
Despite dropping current plans for an amendment, the school has violated the master plan a few times by holding home games there. When it appealed those violations Thursday night to the zoning board of appeals, the board voted to uphold the violations, insuring that if Edgewood wants to play games at its field, it must somehow change the master plan.
"It's a win for the neighborhood, but this is far from over," Gabriel said. "Edgewood is not going to go quietly into the night."
Edgewood's president Mike Elliott said he is disappointed in the board's decision, but he and others at the school will keep fighting to give the students the right to play games on their field.
"We feel Edgewood has every right to hold events on our field, just like every other high school and just like the University of Wisconsin does," Elliott said.
Elliott said the school will meet with a community liaison group in the coming weeks to figure out what the neighborhood would like to see done. He said the school would lower the number of games it would hold at the field if that would make the neighborhood happy, but he doesn't know that it would.
"When this all started it was lights," he said. "Then it was number of games, and then it was noise."
Regardless he said the school will try to make a decision in the next week on whether it will amend the master plan with the planning commission, let the master plan expire in four years, drop the master plan now or appeal the zoning board of appeals' decision.
Some neighbors, though not all around the school, don't trust the way the high school has handled this so far, but their alder Tag Evers hopes both the school and the neighborhood can find middle ground.
"Edgewood has long been a pillar in our community. There's no denying that," Evers said. "There's an opportunity now for Edgewood to come back to the table and to engage in the process, to amend their master plan and satisfy the concerns of the neighborhood. I think that's important."
Gabriel isn't sticking around to find out what happens.
She said she and her husband are moving, and while the potential stadium isn't totally to blame, she said it's a part.
She hopes whatever happens next, Edgewood listens to people like her before it moves forward again.