News

Priory proposes synthetic grass for fields

In its bid to resurface three athletic fields with synthetic grass, Woodside Priory, the private Portola Valley Catholic school for grades 6-12, hosted a joint onsite meeting of the town's Planning and Architecture & Site Control commissions to discuss the matter on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

The school is proposing the plastic surface for the soccer field, the softball field and the volleyball court, a total of about 3 acres, according to a staff report by Town Planner Tom Vlasic. The commissions will formally review the proposal in the coming months.

Synthetic fields don't need irrigation and are reportedly more durable, can be played on sooner after a rain, and give athletes improved traction and athletic performance. About half the fields in the National Football League use synthetic grass, according to a Wikipedia entry.

While the technology is continuously evolving, reported down sides to synthetic grass have included rug burns, harder falls, a rubber-tire smell when the weather is hot, and the unintentional dispersal of the tiny rubber pellets that make up the "soil" of the field.

In the report, Mr. Vlasic cites a report by a state-funded study on air quality above the field and infection risks. "The studies referenced suggest that there may be some air quality considerations with artificial turf in an enclosed environment, but that inhalation health risks are unlikely, especially for persons using artificial surfaces outdoors," Mr. Vlasic said.

As for bacteria, the synthetic grass reportedly had fewer than natural grass, Mr. Vlasic said, citing the state report.

A 2010 study of college football injuries over three years compared rates of injury on natural grass versus the artificial surface being considered for this field. The synthetic grass yielded a lower rate of injuries but they were more severe, Mr. Vlasic said.

Go to this link and turn to Page 9 to read the staff report.

Go to this link for the state report on air quality and infection rates.

Go to this link for the report on college football injuries.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Synthetic grass is nasty stuff. It looks cheap and artificial.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Turf rocks!
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Less expensive over the life of the field

no pesticides, fertilizer or water

better for the players and refs (no gopher holes, steady surface)

softer than dirt, better impact for feet, knees, hips, back

Looks? Sorry Joe, it looks better than the typically maintain grass field in these days of budget cuts.

Never needs to be lined or marked after installation. Markings are more clear to spectators.

And photographs REALLY well.

What neighbors hate is the high capacity - it can be played on all day, in any weather.

NIMBY's hate it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GrassFan
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I'm a Priory parent and would really rather see the school not put in a fake field. The school is blessed with such a beautiful piece of property. To me, it would be sad to see that ugly artificial turf out there in front of the school and along Portola Road.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PV mom
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I get the issues of use-ability, economics, better for photography, etc., but please -- it would look so wrong in Portola Valley. What's next? Artificial trees? (oh yes, they have those already -- cell phone towers -- ugh!)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Amazing. I'm betting all you artificial turf haters are a bunch of tree huggers too. If you love your trees and your environment then you should be happy to see artificial turf. It saves water and it doesn't require the introduction of a bunch of fertilizers. Can you say hypocrites? Either you believe in protecting the environment or you don't. If you do, then artificial turf is a "green" alternative. Large areas of lawn are not "natural" nor are they native plants. It always amazes me how people all want to be "green" until they find out the cost or that it's not as "pretty" as the real stuff. Duh!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

In this case "green" is a garish-looking, ugly shade.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GrassFan
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Gosh Menlo Voter, that was kind of harsh. I'm not a tree hugger, and I'm not an artificial turf hater. I play / watch / photograph a lot of soccer, and I'm all for artificial turf fields in many locations. For example, at big suburban high schools surrounded by buildings and parking lots, I don't mind the way artificial turf fields look at all. I just think a fake field would look really ugly at Priory / PV.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Recent Priory grad
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 10, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I went to the Piory for 7 years, have played soccer my whole life and have lived in PV for long enough. Field turf is sorely needed in our town. No more games cancelled because of rain. No more lost seasons of school sports because they can't get the fields in order. No more cancelled AYSO games or games in foster city and woodside. I have seen Priory and the town of PV spend tens of thousands of dollars over the years redoing the fields at priory, town center, and zots. Artificial turf does not need maintenence! Or water! This past Christmas we drove to woodside to play our family/town pick-up soccer game. It was pouring rain and we had a blast without damaging the field. Why shouldn't we be able to do this in PV? It's about time for field turf


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Because it's ugly?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Turf rocks!
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

But to users, and to those that pay for grass upkeep, it's absolutely BEAUTIFUL.

In the eyes of beholder...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

There are a lot more beholders than users or owners.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Priory Graduate
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

You can get turf with removeable/paint on lines. A plain turf field looks a lot better to everyone than the "field closed for repair" sign that gets put up every time there is a light drizzle. The town has proven time after time that they cannot propperly upkeep grass fields. They throw sand on top of muddy sports at Zots during the rainy season. It's laughable. How many more times are they going to spend our money to re-seed and re-irrigate the grass before we say enough? It's a matter of economics and common sense since sports are going to be played in PV


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MYOB
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Feb 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Joseph-you seem to have made up your mind that the fields are ugly and you know what shade of green Priory is planning on using. All you keep saying is that it is ugly. How would you like it if your neighbors told you that you have an ugly house and the color you have is atrocious and ruins the neighborhood? Your landscaping needs to improve and you need to remove the ugly rose bushes which line your front yard. Also-your car is ugly-please park it in the rear of the house out of sight. Priory owns their property. There are a lot of private homes around town with synthetic turf in parts of their yards. Why aren't their neighbors commenting on those yards?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

Artificial turf is ultimately better for the environment and saves money. So what if it's not real grass? "it's ugly." To some, not to others and its benefits far outwiegh its "ugliness" quotient.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Grass Please
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Feb 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I just can't imagine how anyone can think that artifical turf is better for the environment than grass. Does turf consume CO2 from the atmosphere? Does it prevent run-offs and flooding? Does it harbor insects, worms and other animal and microbiolgical life that contribute to the food chain? What are the environmental impacts of manufacturing, shipping and installing the artificial turf?
Not all grass fields require expensive irrigation and fertilization. There are certainly suitable drought-resistant grasses.
Extending the logic of some people on this board, we might as well just replace all grass everywhere with the plastic stuff. Sure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:09 pm

"Not all grass fields require expensive irrigation and fertilization. There are certainly suitable drought-resistant grasses."

Yes, and none of them are suitable for turf.


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