Letter to the editor: Time to share your ‘views’ about Civic Park light poles


Edmonds is engaged in an elaborate upgrade of our Civic Park.

Part of the upgrade includes six new light poles, which appear to be much taller than the old eight wooden poles they replaced. When this upgrade is complete:

The height of the new lights will increase light spillage onto neighboring properties, with more light for longer periods than local residents have experienced before.

Combining a new field with new lights means the field will be used substantially more during evening hours (light use during winter months will be from 4-10:15 p.m. on most days). For those who enjoy the stars and evening sky, that will be altered also.

Traffic and parking, already burdened in Edmonds, will get worse because of the increased field use.

Already the new poles, but especially the new light fixtures, are visible during the day as large dark objects appearing to be on the water of the Sound.

Progress and a new Civic Park are wonderful. However, one price we are all paying is that the new lights and poles are negatively altering our beautiful Edmonds skyline, which affords residents and visitors alike a pristine panoramic view of the Sound, Whidbey Island and our majestic Olympic Mountains.

Are there no alternative solutions to this lighting situation other than to damage our spectacular Edmonds skyline for future generations to enjoy?

Take another look at the Edmonds skyline from your favorite vantage point.

If you believe there are better solutions for new lights and poles that will not alter our city skyline, let our city government know. Our views and our voices should count.

Dennis Landry

  1. I don’t know about the heights of the new poles, but I do know that newer field lights disperse much less light pollution than their older counterparts. They can have better lenses, led bulbs, and shields to direct the light.

  2. Interesting ….is there a total disregard for lighting trespass ? Actually building code, if your neighbors light illuminates your property that is a lighting trespass . Any installer should be able to adjust the pole light fixture as needed ( light shield) otherwise sounds like will be good improvement.

  3. It is my understanding that these new poles will actually reduce light pollution. And why WOULDN’T you want more kids out on the fields moving their bodies and practicing healthy habits?

    All I’m hearing is “but my view!” Our FC Edmonds Soccer families are currently driving out as far as Lynnwood High School for practice, and our home field is in Lynnwood. These fields will be a great community builder, as well as an economy booster when we can host visiting teams. I suggest you take a drive out to Woodinville. Their fields are practically smack in the middle of their downtown

    1. Yeah, valuing views over community is misplaced here! It’ll be great to have this kind of park in the city that’s well lit at night.

      1. The neighbors living in proximity to civic field deserve consideration in this process. They do live there after many using the park depart. I do not live there but the effects on residents from new projects in any part of the city that do should be part of the process in all these projects in the design phase.

        1. Just an FYI as I fielded other questions about this via email: This project did go through the City of Edmonds Hearing Examiner (linked here) and the Hearing Examiner’s decision identified Exhibits A (staff report with attachments) and B (staff PPT slides). The Examiner’s decision on page 3 speaks to the 60-foot poles prior to replacement:

          “B. Lighting. Lighting impacts will be reduced as a result of the project. For the field lights, all eight existing 60-foot poles with unshielded metal halide lights will be removed and replaced with six 60-foot poles with shielded LED fixtures. The updated lighting would be more efficient and reduce light spill into the surrounding environment compared to current conditions. Park hours and associated use of the field lighting will not change as a result of the proposal, because ECDC 17.60.030.B requires that sports field lighting must be turned off by an automatic timer no later than 10:15 p.m. There is no change in lighting proposed for the tennis courts.”

          The bottom line: A variance for new 60’ poles was approved by the Hearing Examiner and so they are allowed.

    2. I live on Bell. Civic park is my backyard. These new light poles do not Ruin the view. They are skinnier with, what appears to be, directional lights, aimed at the field. Having a place for kids to play is so important. This park is shaping up to be amazing! Trees, buildings and yes, light poles are part of the view!

    3. I’m looking forward to seeing the kids back at the park! Light poles, fences, placement of equipment and landscaping was all part of the many open meetings and city council meetings during the planning process. It’s now heading toward completion, finally! The fact that we will have this beautiful park as our back yard is amazing!

  4. We need more lit play fields for kids to play organized sports. Currently my kids ( we live in the bowl) have to drive Lynnwood high school or Meadowdale play fields for sports practice on a lit field. Plus, as a woman I worried about my safety walking at that field at night. Very creepy and dark during the winter.
    We need the light poles and the lights to create safe spaces for all our residents.

  5. Hey Dennis,
    I live at the south end of the bowl and have “ tall timber” blocking my panoramic views as well as sunshine and that is just how it is. Why don’t you just “identify” these new light poles as “limbless trees” and quit whining ?

  6. All of these are great improvements. The new lights have less light pollution that the old outdated ones did. Sounds like you’re just complaining about your view with a couple light poles in it and about the community getting outside to play and move. We can’t wait for the field to be done it’ll be so great!!! Thank you City of Edmonds!!!!

  7. Today is Edmonds’ birthday. Let’s all be thankful for George Brackett today and enjoy a slice of chocolate cake–or carrot cake for a healthier choice. HAPPY BIRTHDAY EDMONDS!

  8. So….how is lighting over by the interurban coming along? You know, over there where the residents would be thrilled to have some light leaking problems and maybe a safer place to walk and live near?

  9. The original poster has a valid concern here.
    Anyone who lives next to or near the old Civic Field (now Civic Park) will bear the new burden of increased light spillage, noise, and now the tall light poles ruining the views they always had. These are the rub in an otherwise wonderful Edmonds upgrade.
    Although the light spillage into my home and spoilage of the Puget Sound view does not affect me directly, I agree with the original poster, and challenge the City of Edmonds to shorten the poles and possibly ad several more to cover the areas that would no longer be covered with lighting.
    What say you, City of Edmonds Parks Director?

      1. You are very welcome, Dennis.
        Your concerns were logical and made common sense. I think instead of just going with the old 60’ pole height, there could have easily been more neighborly consideration made to correct this, and could still be.

  10. Directional lighting is much better than the lighting that was removed from this field, so IMO this should be interpreted as a big upgrade at the field. The poles are the same height as what was removed. But yes, it does seem like the lights might be used more frequently, at least for a few years. The sports field is going to be natural grass, right? One thing that came to mind for me years ago during the review of this project was that lighting on a nice, new field will extend the use hours on the field. More hours of use is more wear and tear on the field, and after a few years of wet seasons, the field may not be playable in the winter months because of damage to the grass. Some other nearby natural grass fields without lights (like FA Ctr) barely make it through the winter because they don’t have extended hours of use. I’m hopeful that the scheduling (and thus the lighting) will be limited such that the field will hold up to all the little cleats through the wet season when the dormant grass won’t recover until spring.

    1. I noticed the heights as well, but wonder if the placements of the new poles are in the same places as the old. Somehow I doubt it.

      1. Thanks Tara. Since there appears to be no documented analysis, I had the same thought. It seems logical to assume that there will be different uses – hence possible different placement of new poles.

  11. I have requested Parks to provide their detailed lighting analysis showing that the new lights will reduce light noise to neighboring properties. After multiple attempts, I have yet to receive anything. It appears Parks’ statement and other comments here are merely anecdotal, but I’ll wait for Parks to document their findings.

    I have also requested Parks to provide anything that shows the old light poles were 60-feet high. Park Director has responded that no documentation as to the height of the poles exists (yet, they were able to state them 60-feet in their permit application). I’ve asked Parks to document the actual heights (above grade) of the old poles – to ensure it also wasn’t anecdotal information. Parks has provided before/after pictures of the poles from the same spot/same elevation – which show the new poles are clearly taller. Something seems amiss.

  12. Understandably, the soccer families are delighted our new Civic Park will include a home-town soccer field. As a long time elderly resident, I too am eagerly awaiting the completion of the park and sharing it with my great grandkids. The issue here is the height and placement of the new light standards.
    Some have stated the previous field lights were also 60′ high. This is false and I have photographs to prove it.
    Why else would the City have granted the Parks Dept. a height variance?? I strongly suspect there was some manipulation in the wording of the variance; that all views were not even considered.
    Some of us worked hard for many years to enable a home with a view. It saddens me that we are now being vilified for daring to express our dismay at having that view now compromised; the implication being, by some, that we should just “shut up and sit down”. Wrong! As a resident of Edmonds, I am entitled to pursue issues that affect my life here.

    1. Yesterday, I walked over to Civic Park and looked at the light poles. My jaw nearly hit the pavement! There is no way they were ever that tall. I could hardly believe it.
      We are being lied to which is wrong, and needs to be rectified.
      Edmonds Parks Director, Angie Feser, please respond to these concerns.

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