City supervisors seek more structure in outdoor lighting code |

City supervisors seek more structure in outdoor lighting code

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City officials decided to hold off on a plan to amend outdoor lighting rules after seeking a set standard for review of projects that include fixtures that point upward to illuminate exterior walls.

Supervisors opted Thursday not to move forward with the code change, which was recommended by planning commissioners in September.

Supervisor Richard Staub wanted to see the revision include precise rules instead of the provision brought to them that proposed this type of lighting be reviewed and approved by the director, Walter Sullivan.

“We should adopt a criteria that is sustainable,” Staub said, adding that someone in the future making the evaluations “might be bias or prejudicial.”

Members of the planning commission “perceived upward lighting to be pleasant” in some instances, Sullivan told the supervisors.

For example, one of the members spent time observing lights that point upward against exterior walls at such locations as the Hampton Inn and Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

This type of outside lighting is “almost an art form,” said Commissioner Craig Mullet at the September meeting.

If this type of lighting bounces past the edges of a building, it’s supposed to be corrected by edging or adjustment.

One east Carson resident objects to the change and wants 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, Sullivan said.

“Pointing the lights straight up, as some recent installations do, makes the situation worse,” said David Campbell.

He called the proposal “counterproductive” because buildings are reflective, and most of the light is “pointed up toward the sky,” he said.

Mayor Marv Teixeira said that soft lighting of buildings, such as on some historic buildings, are an “asset” to the community. He said that exceptions should be allowed for the historic buildings because of their aesthetic and economic benefits.

Staub also asked whether state buildings were subject to city codes. Sullivan told him only the state structures built during the 1970s and later are subject to city code.

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