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Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 6, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Seattle noise rules

“Forever” variance: a lasting blow to livability

Regarding “Seattle council votes to soften noise rules” [Local News, March 3], Jan Drago and Sally Clark, Seattle transportation chair and vice chair, created this huge loophole, joined by Seattle City Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Tom Rasmussen and Jean Godden.

Their “forever” variance could allow construction 24/7 for Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and Sound Transit, but also any six-month or more project by local road, bridge, water and sewer agencies; Seattle City Light; the jail, Port; Seattle Housing Authority; Convention Center; public schools and colleges; and any other federal, state or local agency that might be invented.

The variance could run for the life of each project, and the council couldn’t legally change it once the public discovers how grossly noise standards are evaded.

It’s a reckless, lasting blow to livability and democratic rights.

Rules against nighttime noise have also protected against light, dust, vibration, and traffic. All will worsen if this new variance allowing construction at night is allowed to stand.

The Quiet Alliance calls on the Seattle City Council to enact their proposal as a brief new ordinance; until then, every business, citizen and neighborhood is at risk.

— Chris Leman, Seattle

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