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South Portland residents have until July 17 to appeal street light removals

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South Portland residents have until July 17 to appeal street light removals

SOUTH PORTLAND — Residents have until July 17 to appeal for relighting of any of the 112 street lights slated for elimination along the city's major traffic arteries.

The city is looking to reduce the number of street lights, primarily on Broadway, Highland Avenue, Lincoln Street and Main Street, to save $20,000 in current and future budgets.

The street lights slated for elimination have been tagged with orange signs. Public safety officials have approved the plan, since no street lights near intersections will be turned off. 

If residents do not want a particular street light to be turned off they can fill out an appeal form that is available on the city's Web site, or at the Planning Office, 62 E St. Residents will be asked to give the nearest street address of the street light and explain in 50 words or less why the light should, or should not, be removed.

Although the city does not plan on turning off street lights within neighborhoods, the city will consider special requests that have neighborhood buy-in. 

The city said in a press release the appeals will be considered by a committee made up of several members of City Council-appointed boards and city staff. The committee will rule on appeals based on whether removing a street light has public safety implications, such as those located near crosswalks or city parks.

Property owners within 50 feet of darkened lights will be eligible for $25 reimbursement for the purchase of additional outdoor lighting. No reimbursements will be given to those property owners who purchase their new lights before receiving approval from city planners, who may be reached at 767-7603 ext. 9. The city will use a mapping system to verify the eligibility of property owners.

"Stating that a street light removal would make a person's property darker will not be deemed to be a valid public safety reason to keeping a street light," the city press release said. 

Planning and Development Director Tex Haeuser said Wednesday the city had received four petitions seeking to exempt street lights located on Ocean Street in Knightville, Main Street in Thornton Heights, Sawyer Street in Ferry Village and Broadway in the area of Cash Corner.

A map detailing the street lights to be eliminated is on the city's Web site. 

The City Council will take up the removal program at a workshop, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 10, with final action expected as soon as Aug. 17.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net