Residents Fight Summer Nights

Neighbors and opponents have gone to court in an effort to stop Seattle’s annual Summer Nights concert series from using the city’s Gas Works Park.

An advocacy group called Friends of Gas Works Park sued the city in King County Superior Court February 21st, insisting that officials do an environmental study before accepting the series, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Concerns include parking congestion and traffic noise.

The June-to-August series moved from Pier 62/63 to South Lake Union Park last year because the original location was deteriorating. Last year’s location will be under construction this summer.

The city and local nonprofit group One Reel – which also produces Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival – announced the latest move December 23rd with objections from some residents.

The suit seeks a State Environmental Policy Act, or SEPA, putting the concert series at risk, the paper said

“We’ve had 15 years of concerts on the pier and we didn’t do a SEPA,” Seattle Parks Director Ken Bounds told the Intelligencer. “We moved it to South Lake Union and we didn’t do a SEPA. We don’t do a SEPA for Seafair, or all the festivals at Seattle Center. This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say we should do a SEPA for an event.”

An attorney for the advocacy group told the paper that the case was straightforward: State environmental policy requires an evaluation when an action affects noise and traffic.

An initial hearing is set for March 16th.

One Reel is planning about 20 concerts at the park this summer. Promoter representative Michele Scoleri recently told Pollstar there is rarely an instance when residents don’t have concerns.

“This is not something that is uncommon or that we haven’t dealt with,” Scoleri said. “We’re a big part of this community and we know how to do the things that need to be done to be successful.”