Revised light ordinance back to supervisors

Carson City is seeking a change that would ensure people would be able to look up and see stars on cloudless nights.

The Board of Supervisors will consider amending the city's light ordinance during their meeting Thursday.

The idea is for businesses around the city "to only light up what they need to light up," said Walter Sullivan, the city's community development director.

If done correctly, outside lighting is "almost an art form," said Planning Commissioner Craig Mullet, when the issue was discussed last year.

The new proposal offers a wider variety of ways to minimize the light from bleeding into the open air, Sullivan said.

Lights not positioned correctly or structurally bounded can bother people in neighboring structures, cause glare and make it harder to see stars and other heavenly bodies.

Western Nevada Community College, for example, has been retrofitting its outdoor lights to optimize the view above the Jack C. Davis Observatory.

This new proposal is "much better than it was," said east side resident David Campbell, who describes himself as "a nut about the night skies."

Campbell wanted the city to step up enforcement of its current rules, which were created in 2002 to stop lights from shining on neighboring properties and curb glare, and the addition of some new rules.

"Pointing the lights straight up, as some recent installations do, makes the situation worse," Campbell said at the time.

Another change would be adding more lights than now used in large parking areas, but to have them closer to the ground. The lights wouldn't be as strong as they are now.

Campbell still seeks the requirement that everyone eventually be subject to the new rules.

"I don't like the idea of a grandfather clause," he said.

"I think we have a balanced approach to allow accent lighting with certain performance standards," Sullivan said.

State structures built during the 1970s and later are subject to city codes, but those older aren't, he said.

If you go

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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