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Thursday, January 6, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Queen Anne panel rejects bridge lights

Seattle Times staff reporter

It's ugly. It's a waste of energy. And it didn't get a fair public hearing.

Citing those concerns, the Queen Anne Community Council voiced its opposition last night to the city's plans to permanently light the Aurora Bridge.

"I think it's gaudy right now, and I don't want to draw my attention to it any more than is necessary," said Lisa Livovich, a councilwoman who lives in northeast Queen Anne.

After hearing from residents in Queen Anne, Fremont and Ballard, council members voted 11-2 to send a letter to Mayor Paul Schell outlining their concerns. They expressed strong reservations about the lighting plan and called for further review of the project. They also said they opposed permanent lighting because it contradicted Seattle's long-standing policies of energy conservation.

"Why is the bridge being lighted?" said Phil Bannon, who lives on a houseboat near the bridge. "It'll be like a cuckoo clock that runs all day and night."

In a trial run last year, the west side of the bridge was bathed in a blue light for five days. This time, the city is proposing to light both sides of the bridge from dusk until midnight on weekdays and until 1 a.m. on weekends.

Queen Anne resident Dena Avgeres said the lights would have an "amusementlike" quality.

The proposal is part of the Seattle Millennium Project, which included last week's lighting of the Dr. Jose P. Rizal bridge near Beacon Hill. Although city officials have paid design costs for the Aurora project, they still need about two-thirds of the $300,000 they want to raise from private sources. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still has not signed off on the project.

City officials who were at the meeting said they would talk to Schell about the group's concerns.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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