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Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory

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#1 magic612

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 11:21 PM

I observe most often from my front yard. Not ideal, but the 80 foot trees in my backyard aren't coming down (we like the shade in summer), and even if they were down, other trees wouldn't change the view much.

My neighbor to my north has a post lamp they leave on 24/7/365. Yes, even on during the day. I FINALLY approached them about it at a recent party, and she said that if they turn it off, the light bulbs burn out faster and don't last, so they leave it on because it's cheaper to pay for the electricity than keep replacing the bulbs.

Okay, I actually understand that.

But they had left a VERY bright bulb on - a 60W equivalent CFL. It was so bright, I could read a book in my living room with all MY lights off. And despite observing from the opposite side of my yard, well - yeah, it's hard to escape that kind of illumination from only 60 or 70 feet away.

I had asked them about the silver-crown bulbs, and if they might consider installing one that I provided. You know, these:

Posted Image

I talked about how the light shines into my daughter's room, affecting her sleep. Well, my mom (GRRRR) was at this party, and said, "Oh, well they don't need to use that - I made those light-block curtains for your daughter."

:foreheadslap:

I love my mom. But dang... I couldn't believe she said that, and completely undermined my point to my neighbor at that moment.

So, that killed my opportunity then. But I got another one earlier this week. Their bulb burned out. Here's the funny thing - it was out for several days, and they didn't even NOTICE it was out. Because when I went over to offer a (free to her / offered by me) silver crown bulb, she said, "Oh, I didn't notice it was out." (To which I thought - then why do you leave it on? But I kept my mouth shut.)

Anyway, she kind of rolled her eyes at the bulb, because she probably remembered what my mom had said. But I said, "Just try it - see if you like it." I honestly didn't expect her to use it. But tonight!! Yes, the bulb was in. It was amazing how my yard had transformed.

It was MUCH darker.

I walked over to their yard. And you know what? You could see there. Nicely lit. Not terribly bright, but no glare, and the sidewalk and their driveway was nicely lit up, fading off as the light got to my yard. To me, it's the best of both worlds - they get the light they want, I get a darker yard. And all their light only goes down - no uplighting either. Everyone wins.

But, it may only be temporary. They may hate the bulb and light. For tonight though, it was great. I just hope it lasts!

Small victory, and perhaps temporary, but I will be approaching a couple of other neighbors with free, provided-by-me silver crown bulbs for their post lamps - and neighbors I know to be more open to them too.

#2 richard7

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

I'm glad to see they worked for you however, out here Incandescent bulds are close to being removed from store shelves.
Yessir, California is leading the way to alternate, energy saving lighting. And different forms of LP.

#3 magic612

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 08:56 PM

Well, Richard it was even shorter-lived than I feared it might be. They had already changed the bulb back by this morning. So I nicely went over to ask if the bulb had burned out prematurely (making sure to come over with a friendly offering of a beer) and the neighbor said, "No, it wasn't that - we didn't like it, it was too dim." So I said that wasn't a problem - I have a brighter one I could offer him - again, free.

He sort of stiffened up, and I could tell immediately he got into a defensive posture, so I tried to tread very carefully. I calmly explained that I want him to be able to have light on his driveway. I simply don't want his light in my daughter's second floor bedroom, or across my lawn. He told me I should get shades for our curtains. I said that it is not just that - I use telescopes, and the light affects observing. He is more than welcome to light up his driveway, and I want him to be able to do that - I just don't want his light on my property.

He pointed to the streetlamp, and said, "What about that?" (It is, admittedly, a bother too.) I said I am working with the village and the electric company to have that changed as well (which is true - I have been... for a LONG time). He laughed and said, "They aren't going to change that for you." I said, "Maybe not, but I'm simply asking you if we can come to a reasonable solution where you can light your driveway, but not light up my house."

He said he'd consider it, but not to be "mad" if he changed it right back.

:(

Let's just say I'm not hopeful. Good grief... sometimes this feels like the most hopeless fight ever.

I know it's not. But I know my next step is gathering some people around town, and working on changes at the local ordinance level, something I know I will have limited opportunity to work on until next spring, based on my upcoming schedule.

Ugh.

Not a good night. Sorry everyone - I hate to be a downer.

#4 herrointment

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 11:51 PM

Small steps.....

#5 obin robinson

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:05 AM

Asking you to install blinds because he wants to leave his lights on is like asking him to permanently close his windows so you can leave music on all night long. He would be annoyed if he had super sensitive hearing and you left music on all night long aimed at his house.

if I were you I would give him one more chance. I would go to the local ordinances and write a complaint to the police department. That will permanently fix his light. You were nice above and beyond what was required. Now it is time to let other people do their jobs as well.

obin ;)

#6 magic612

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 11:55 AM

Small steps.....


I thought that's what I was doing. :(


Asking you to install blinds because he wants to leave his lights on is like asking him to permanently close his windows so you can leave music on all night long. He would be annoyed if he had super sensitive hearing and you left music on all night long aimed at his house.


Across the street from them is a house that used to have dogs that would bark at all hours of the night. They never said anything about the dogs, while the neighbor across from us - somewhat farther from the dogs-house - routinely heard them and complained. I think my "bad-lights" neighbor doesn't care about either noise or light, or their intrusion of other people's rights or needs. It will be an uphill battle, I'm afraid.

if I were you I would give him one more chance.


Well, this was my third time approaching them about the light in two months. I don't think a fourth time is going to do anything but annoy them at this point.

I would go to the local ordinances and write a complaint to the police department. That will permanently fix his light. You were nice above and beyond what was required. Now it is time to let other people do their jobs as well.


Oh, I have a little bit more complete plan than just that. This is my thought process for now, partly due to the time it will take me to make this happen (we don't change minds overnight):

1) For several months - likely into late fall - I will be placing posters around town, pointing out how light at night (LAN) is dangerous to human health / disrupts sleep / etc. As they are taken down, I will replace them with new facts. For the time being, I will only include web addresses that back up the facts so people can research them more.
2) After that time period, and when it is getting dark during the early evening (late fall / early winter) I will start placing posters asking if people have LAN shining into their windows, and if so, to take a picture and contact me at an email address
3) Gathering that support, I will have a meeting with all of those folks, and see who can help in what ways, but specifically with regard to contacting local politicians and/or speaking at local board meetings
4) Set up a presentation at a local board meeting to talk about this issue, having raised the public profile of the issue, discussing the point that this isn't about removing light, just asking light owners to only light up their property (I will talk about lumens too, but the point is the direction of the lighting). Also, about the waste of money for the village (it may or may not be flat rate, so I'll have to research that more).

In the meantime, continue to contact my local electric company about the streetlights in town. And also, use the "kill with kindness" method with my neighbor, and hope that that produces better results, and if it doesn't, then the "changing the ordinances" part will happen at just the right time, hopefully by some time next year.

That's my plan for now. Any thoughts on that would be appreciated - good / bad / adjustments, whatever.

#7 obin robinson

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 12:07 PM

That sounds like a great plan! Let us know if it works. If it does I'll copy your idea and do it here.

obin :D

#8 Gil V

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 01:23 PM

You should invite him over to use your scope. You could ask him if he would consider leaving the light off on those nights you observe.

#9 magic612

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 02:25 PM

Already done that, many times. Zero interest on their part. And they want the light on 24/7/365. You know, burglars and all, despite the fact that have negligible crime here.

#10 obin robinson

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 02:26 PM

Tell them to just put a motion sensor on their light.

obin :question:

#11 REC

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 02:51 PM

This is a very good story and I'm glad I stopped by today as I don't normally check out this page every time I log in. I have the same problem in my neighborhood and when I ask some of them to please turn out the light if not needing it because of my astronomy habits. My next door neighbor of who I share my yard with is pretty good about keeping his single yard light off most of the time. They go out some at night to smoke, but usually keep the lights off cause they don't want to attract more bugs! The problem with them sometimes comes from their very bright kitchen lights that light up my backyard too much when they have them on and have NO curtains or shades on the windows and patio doors. Asking them to turn them down is a touchy subject....so I have to be wary of that as they are my friends as well. While I'm at it, their trees are getting to big asn now starting to block the southern sky some. I'm going to have to start moving my scope to work around that if I want to study that part of the sky.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant....but where can I buy those those silver-crown bulbs, Lowe's, Home Depot ect? What wattage do they come in? This may be a good solution for some neighbors.....if I can get them to do it?

Thanks,

Bob

#12 magic612

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 03:00 PM

Hi Bob,

Check out these links - not sure how much longer they'll be available, as things going to CFL's in many areas may change what can be purchased or used. But for now, it's an option:

http://1000bulbs.com...be-light-bulbs/

http://www.lightbulb...62_60g25_sl.asp

#13 barasits

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 04:50 PM

Hi Dave,

There is at least one silver bowl CFL available in the US now:

http://www.genesisla...bocofllibu.html

And I believe that "crown silver" LED bulbs are currently available in the UK.

Geoff

#14 magic612

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 06:39 PM

Oh, that's fantastic Geoff! Thank you for directing me to that. I will add that to my site. VERY much appreciated!

#15 Eric63

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:29 PM

I Applaud your patience and diplomacy Dave. In my neighbourhood the homes are very close together and if outdoor lights don't cause a problem then it's indoor lighting coming from windows with no shades.

I have talked with neighbours about their outdoor lights. One lets be put a plastic plant pot over the light while I observe (because he is away often and leaves it on) and the other just keeps it off. But more an more people are changing to high power fluorescent white bulbs. The woman across the street now has high power fluorescent lights (100 watts or more) and I have just about given up. Ten minutes away by car is a dirt road with little to no traffic and no lights. I now go there when I want to observe. Unfortunately this also means that I observe less since I don't always want to pack up and go to a site, but the experience is better.
Also, there are less thermals from observing over roofs! :)

Best of luck Dave I hope this works out for you.

Eric

P.S. Now if I lived in a rural sub-division where neighbours are farther apart and one would expect a darker yard, I think that I would fight it like you are doing!

#16 hfjacinto

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:46 PM

If I can get the street light changed to a full cut off you can too. I just said it shined into my bedroom and I couldn't sleep , it took several months but it got changed. Neighbors are hard. I can't help you there.

#17 magic612

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:53 PM

Thank you Eric. I really did try very hard to be both diplomatic and very fair to them, even conceding that I understand they want to light their driveway, and I don't have a problem with that.

It's really a matter of education. Okay, so I need to get my butt in gear and educate more people. Fine. This is apparently the impetus I needed to get going on that.

See attached poster. I'll be putting these up around town at the local spots where people put things up (grocery store / drug store / post office). I'll keep putting up new/different ones as they get torn/taken down. And then I'll move to step 2 that I laid out above.

I guess I just needed a fire lit under me. Okay... I'm moving!! (Not that "Eyes on the Sky" doesn't take me a ton of time each week as it is.)

Posted Image

#18 magic612

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:55 PM

If I can get the street light changed to a full cut off you can too. I just said it shined into my bedroom and I couldn't sleep , it took several months but it got changed. Neighbors are hard. I can't help you there.


I'm still working on it. The problem is, I asked them specifically to CALL me, so that I would know when they were coming out. They ignored my first two requests. The next one, they showed up AS I was arriving at work (my wife did her best; she called me when they got there).

It's a struggle just to get them to take the problem seriously. They think if the light works, there's no problem.

#19 NicolasKL

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 10:31 PM

That's my plan for now. Any thoughts on that would be appreciated - good / bad / adjustments, whatever.


Good luck. I wouldn't get my hopes up. On any of it.

#20 Gil V

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:20 AM

Rob their house. Then, they will see that the light doesn't deter crime.

#21 magic612

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 11:14 AM

I looked at my local ordinances. There is one that deals with off street parking, and that light for off street parking should not create a "nuisance" or shine onto residential properties. It's not much to go on, but it's a start, so I contacted our village administrator by email yesterday, detailing the problem and sent him a picture of the lights. I have yet to hear back from him, but he has always gotten back to me on problems in the past, so we'll see what he recommends in terms of moving forward.

Failing that, I'll implement my campaign to get the codes revised/updated/strengthened. I have three posters made up so far (including the one above). Will update as I learn more and proceed.

#22 obin robinson

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:03 PM

Rob their house. Then, they will see that the light doesn't deter crime.


LOL! I know you're joking but I have to admit that it was pretty funny.

obin :grin:

#23 herrointment

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 08:41 PM

You, Sir, deserve and I hope will recieve the best possible outcome in this matter.

I, myself would be more than happy to chip in on a bribe for the fellow.....if that's what it would take.

Bribes work wonders worldwide.

Good Luck, Dave!

#24 REC

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:38 AM

That's an interesting idea about the ordinance. Where do you think I can start "digging" into these in my city?

Bob

#25 richard7

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 01:42 PM

That's an interesting idea about the ordinance. Where do you think I can start "digging" into these in my city?

Bob


Try doing a web search for your city and/or state outdoor lighting regulations.






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