A long legal battle between the Seattle Archdiocese and the City of Seattle over lights at Bishop Blanchet High is now in U.S. Federal Court. At the heart of the issue are 70-foot tall light towers the school wants to use for its athletic field, and the nuisance many neighbors believe it will create.
“We’re concerned about a stadium in a single-family neighborhood,” explained Lee Bruch with Concerned Blanchet Neighbors, the group working to stop the lights from going up.
“Homes would see a lot of glare,” Bruch contined, “Right into their bedrooms and into their living rooms.”
The plans were first filed in 2011, and were approved by the city. However, Bruch’s group led an appeal to the Seattle Hearing Examiner, which ruled against the lights. A case was filed in Superior Court in August, and was moved to Federal Court on Wednesday.
“We’re looking for equal treatment,” said Bishop Blanchet President Antonio DeSapio, “I hope that turns out to be the case.”
In its lawsuit, the school and the Archdiocese contend it does not get the “same privileges” as public schools, which in some cases do have lights. It also contends the Hearing Examiner’s decision was based on an “erroneous interpretation” of the law.
“We’re running into trouble making sure we have enough fields for all of our teams,” DeSapio said, “We have the chance to put field lights up like a lot of public schools here. We’re just looking for that same chance.”
Bruch denied the suggestion that public schools have lighted fields, pointing out that Seattle has five stadiums for high school sports that were passed with bond initiatives to keep the congestion and aggravation out of neighborhoods.
DeSapio said about half of the money needed to build the lights has been raised, but no more is being sought until the legal battle is settled.