Local News

Clayton 'Little' League Faces 'Big' Problem

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CLAYTON — New Little League baseball fields in Clayton may close because the poor location breaks zoning requirements.

Parents are very proud of the Clayton Little League, and have the home videos to show it. The 200 boys and girls involved are still waiting for the season to get underway.

The town threw the league a curveball, and parents are having a hard time explaining it to the kids.

One parent said, "They don't understand. The adults control it and the kids do not understand."

The town said that the league cannot use the new ballfields it spent $7,000 to build because the complex does not meet Clayton's zoning requirements.

The town said that the site has poor road access for emergency vehicles and no running water.

"There are certain guidelines that they have to meet," Planning Board Vice Chairman Frank Price said. "Unfortunately this just didn't meet them."

Plus, several neighbors live almost a home run trot away from the ballfields.

"The traffic and the noise and the lights and the kids run all around and everything," Resident Wayne Oakley said. "If they were to come over here and get bit by my dogs i might get sued."

Jay Morton, the Little League president, admits that he should have checked with the town before building the ballfields on the five acre site. He still believes local leaders could have stepped up to the plate and struck a deal that would satisfy everyone.

"I think that both parties needed to be protected and that's fine," Morton said. "Unfortunately some feel that only the individual needs to be protected."

The Clayton Little League hopes to reach an agreement on some backup ballfields soon.

One planning board member said that there is at least a chance that with some modifications, this site could get be approved for next season.

The town's Parks and Recreation Department is trying to get a $250,000 grant to build three fields, six tennis courts and a running trail. Even if the town gets the money, the new facilities will not be available for at least two years.