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#1 okiestarman56

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:59 AM

30 days ago moved to another town with darker skies, shoot 15 miles north puts me into a black zone. Only problem is I can not observe from my house due to light trespass from neighbor who does not even live in his house, nobody lives in it! I was very diplomatic and nice when I talked with him about adding some shields to the two lights, offered to buy them and install them, he said not to worry that he would take care of them and thanked him and went back to work in my yard. 15 minutes late he came over with an offensive attitude and told me the only way he would shield them is if I got a court order. What do I do know get a court order?, packing my gear and driving to the black zone when I want to observe is out of the question as I observe 3 to 4 nights a week. Or do I pack up and move back to the yellow zone I left. Any ideas.

#2 csa/montana

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 08:56 AM

First, check to see if the town has any ordinances regarding light trespass. If there is, talk with an official of the town to see how to proceed.

I would possibly approach this guy again, and ask nicely what you did for him to change his attitude so abruptly; and if something can be worked out between you & him so that both parties are happy. :shrug:

If neither works, perhaps build some light shields.

#3 barbarosa

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:48 PM

If neither works, perhaps build some light shields.


The fight, and it some respects it is a fight, to stop or reduce light pollution and trespass, requires active not passive tactics. If we assume the burden of mitigating the (impact light shields), it is yet another loss. Education and persuasion are the best approach, but frankly most people just do not care. That makes the legislation the best action tool.

If your local government does have a lighting ordinance, in most states, you cannot compel enforcement, you can only ask. When you ask having others join with you is more effective.

After that try small claims courts. You have a legal right to the peaceful enjoyment of your property (in every state). If all else fails small claims might work. One of my neighbors used a small claims filling to get the attention of a commercial property owner. The result was a compromise, but an improvement.

If you have a lot of money, get a lawyer to write a letter, and then prepare to spend a lot more if you want to go to court for injunctive relief.

Good luck.

#4 csa/montana

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:57 PM

I'm not suggesting to rely on "passive tactics". However, if trying to reason with this individual, nor any codes to assist him, rather than having to move, LP panels would at least help him observe.

#5 csrlice12

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:30 PM

and light bulbs have been know to burn out......

#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:13 PM

I'm not suggesting to rely on "passive tactics". However, if trying to reason with this individual, nor any codes to assist him, rather than having to move, LP panels would at least help him observe.


:waytogo:

There are bigger issues that the world faces.

Jon

#7 richard7

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:03 PM

Always try to live with your neighbors, not against them

#8 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 09:19 PM

Build some light shades with bright colored tarps, with the bright side facing out, and leave them up 24/7. He might ask you to remove them, and then you will have negotiating power.

#9 1965healy

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 10:10 PM

Most people see lighting as a blessing rather than a curse. Darkness means the potential for danger. If no one lives in the house I'm sure he sees them as added security against trespassers or burglars. It probably means nothing to him when you talk about them interfering with your hobby, trying to explain it in terms of dark adaptation may help but I doubt it. If they shine in your bedroom windows you have an argument that most folks understand.

#10 Brent Campbell

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 05:56 AM

and light bulbs have been know to burn out......


Very true!

#11 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:29 AM

Nobody lives in the house. I missed that the first time. Why not unscrew the bulbs a bit while you are out and tighten them back when you are done?

#12 csa/montana

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:38 AM

Nobody lives in the house. I missed that the first time. Why not unscrew the bulbs a bit while you are out and tighten them back when you are done?


I would definitely ask the owner first. With the attitude shown, if someone else reports back to the neighbor, the OP could be charged with tresspassing.

#13 FirstSight

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:44 AM

Nobody lives in the house. I missed that the first time. Why not unscrew the bulbs a bit while you are out and tighten them back when you are done?


I would definitely ask the owner first. With the attitude shown, if someone else reports back to the neighbor, the OP could be charged with tresspassing.


I'm curious whether, the OP unwittingly made some mis-steps in approaching his semi-absentee neighbor about the lights, despite believing he was doing so in a polite, diplomatic manner. How much did he chat up, i.e. schmooze a bit with the neighbor first before broaching the subject of the lights? Did he first create the vibe where the neighbor's first impression of the OP living next door is reassuringly positive rather than indifferent or concerning? Was the issue of the lighting practically the first thing out of the OP's mouth?

By saying this, I'm not at all conclusively presuming the OP did go about it all wrong; some people, some property owners are simply cantankerous and mercurial PITAs to reasonably deal with. However, the OP's description does leave open the possibility that despite what he perceived as the neighbor's initial momentary receptiveness to his proposal, he nevertheless somehow rubbed the neighbor wrong, and while the neighbor stepped away for a few minutes, irritation from the wrong-way vibe prevailed over his superficial initial agreeableness. Maybe the guy IS also a bit mercurial and cantankerous to boot, but those are the sort of folks whom it's especially important to schmooze up a bit first before making any negotiating demands upon them.

Think about it: the OP's reaction to the abrupt turn-around turn-down by his neighbor was to think "court orders" rather than trying first to fix a relationship that had inadvertently got off on the wrong foot.

#14 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 12:33 PM

Assuming that 'security' is the issue, point out that bad guys need to see as well.

A darkened house, with light bulbs loosened inside, makes it EASIER for someone outside to see that someone is snooping around when someone has to use a flash light to look around.

Also, point out that as YOU are living there and HIS house is unoccupied most of the time,

IF HE TURNS OFF THE OUTSIDE LIGHTS OFF WHEN HE IS AWAY, you will call the police if you see/hear anything out of the ordinary.

IF HE LEAVES THE LIGHTS ON, you will just chuckle that the annoying neighbor is getting what he deserves when the bad guys break in.

#15 Jesus Munoz

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 04:22 PM

Make him this offer: Put movement sensors and offer you to check his house when it lights up. Win-win. :jump:

#16 Phil Cowell

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 04:58 PM

Build some light shades with bright colored tarps, with the bright side facing out, and leave them up 24/7. He might ask you to remove them, and then you will have negotiating power.


Maybe there needs to be a hall of light pollution shame website where folks could post pictures and location information on. Bad publicity works.

#17 csrlice12

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:47 PM

View Naked....have the entire neighborhood beg him to turn off the lights! :lol:

#18 barbarosa

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 01:59 AM

I'm not suggesting to rely on "passive tactics".

Understood and gentle persuasion is always good. However, but in the middle ground between passivity and malicious mischief, we should tend to move toward activism of a peaceful sort.

I write that as one who is very frustrated with the small gains we make locally and the constant pressure from the land and business groups to move backwards. LEDs undercut the resource conservation argument; almost no one sees sea turtles or the fate of migratory birds. The health argument is not persuasive (at least not yet). Concern for astronomy does not make the list.

There are three nearby observatories. One is urban for public education. One is on college campus, and the director says the sky is so bad he does not worry about his own lights, let alone any ohthers. The third belongs to the University of California. It has a semi-working 30" and and a broken 20" and is in a fairly protected valley. No effort was ever made to deal with light pollution so we have this.

There are literally thousands of acres of open space (parks, watersheds, reservoirs, and some vineyards and grazing land nearby. The land is rural according to the Census, but the sky is increasingly urban (red headed for white). None of the abutting cities or the county requires zero uplight fixtures. We have some strong open space groups, and they all say that they do not want to dilute their main efforts with a lighting controversy. Neither of the two active astronomy groups in the area pursues a darker sky agenda. Things are as they are, seems to be the motto.

California has a reputation for liberal, green, etc, rules, causes, and policies. I live in an upper income (them not me) area with a very high percentage of college grads and professionals. However, light is tough subject, and that won't change if we are timid.

Every neighbor won over by whatever means is a victory, but in our modern world not much can be done one person at a time. Dark sky is now a politcal issue and will require legislated solutions. It might be sad, but one planning director or city coucilman is worth more than a neigbhor.

In my case if it was only the neighbors, the problem would not be a problem, any of them would turn out a light, even the ones who barely know each other.

The OP has dark sky and I wish him well with the neigbor, but whether he wins or not very little changes. If we look at this as individual cases with individual solutions we are doomed. :shocked:. I really urge everyone to make some effort and to expand on any effort that you do make.

I will post later on some recent gains and setbacks by a disparate group of homeowners seeking some limits on light growth by the largest single entity in town. But they made gains, and it required politcal action.



#19 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:04 AM

Also, point out that as YOU are living there and HIS house is unoccupied most of the time,

IF HE TURNS OFF THE OUTSIDE LIGHTS OFF WHEN HE IS AWAY, you will call the police if you see/hear anything out of the ordinary.

IF HE LEAVES THE LIGHTS ON, you will just chuckle that the annoying neighbor is getting what he deserves when the bad guys break in.



Indeed.. whether it is explicitly or implicitly stated, there is some real truth here. We have small second home in an isolated part of the county. We love the place dearly but the best thing about it, our neighbor... he watches the place like it was his.

For a property owner who is mostly somewhere else.. a solid relationship with your neighbor is the best security there is.

Jon

#20 Seanem44

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:26 AM

They call me a cleaner. I fix things... or in some cases, break them. I can infiltrate this guy’s property and "fix" the issue before he knows anyone was there. And, I'll make it look like his cat did it. If he doesn't have a cat, I'll make it look like some type of indigenous wildlife did it. The fact of the matter is, by the time I'm through, your skies will be very dark indeed.


But seriously though, the guy is being a little crazy. If there is no recourse for you, throw up some tall trees, poplars, lelylands or something that will grow fast and block out the light. Either that or when he is home aim a floodlight in his living room. Some people can't be reasoned with. Some people just want to watch the world burn.

#21 csrlice12

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 07:48 AM

Poison ivy is a beautiful climbing plant.....

#22 obin robinson

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:00 AM

If the guy is being a dork about it why not get a pin spot and aim it at his bedroom? Two can play at this game.

http://www.stageligh...?sc=25&categ...

Nobody lives in the house? Get a gobo that says "nobody lives here" and shine it on the house.

obin :grin:

#23 csa/montana

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:25 AM

Retaliating against a neighbor (or anyone) is never a good idea! I don't think this is what CN wishes to represent.

While we all wish to have dark skies, bullying others to suit our needs will do nothing to further our goal to reduce LP.

#24 Seanem44

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 08:51 AM

Retaliating against a neighbor (or anyone) is never a good idea! I don't think this is what CN wishes to represent.

While we all wish to have dark skies, bullying others to suit our needs will do nothing to further our goal to reduce LP.


My response, as I have a feeling that the others are mostly the same, was firnly tongue-in-cheek. I assure you. :mrevil:

#25 magic612

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 09:27 AM

Neither of the two active astronomy groups in the area pursues a darker sky agenda. Things are as they are, seems to be the motto.


Yes, this is my frustration with the astronomy clubs I am a part of. The discussion is 100% on, "Where can we find a dark sky?" rather than "How can we MAKE a dark sky?" Path of less resistance apparently is just driving farther and farther. The point I try to make is, "What are you going to do when the light catches up to you, and there's no where left to drive?" Sadly, it falls on deaf ears, mostly. Or, "Great idea Dave - YOU go do it." :foreheadslap:

However, light is tough subject, and that won't change if we are timid.


TRUE.

Every neighbor won over by whatever means is a victory, but in our modern world not much can be done one person at a time.


On that point I disagree. Having good lighting present as an example matters. "Look at the good lights that the Dodge car dealership has up." Or, "Ever notice how Joe just leaves his light off, despite having that expensive car? There's a reason for that..." It allows us to have a conversation with others. YES, we need political action too - I'm not disagreeing with your later point about that. But one at a time matters as well. We need a both/and strategy.

Dark sky is now a politcal issue and will require legislated solutions. It might be sad, but one planning director or city coucilman is worth more than a neigbhor.


Yes, and this can be an even steeper uphill battle than one neighbor at a time (though you're right that getting one good political person on board can reap huge rewards for us).

My story: I got one neighbor to turn off her lights simply by asking. My wife got the library to change their lights when one burned out. I am still waiting - 2 years later - for either the electric company or the village to get something done about one of my other neighbor's lights, and the streetlight which both shine into my daughter's window.

And here's the point on that: We can then lobby both political leaders and neighbors on both the benefits, AND be able to SHOW them what is good about better light. My neighbor laughed/scoffed at me when I mentioned getting the streetlight changed, "HA! They'll never change it!" he declared. Of course, he doesn't know me well enough to realize how persistent I am. So if I can get even that one streetlight changed, I will be able to approach him again, and say, "Okay, the streetlight got changed... now what about YOUR light? Marie turns her lights off, the library changed theirs... see?" (Not that bluntly of course, but something along those lines.) It let's me point to examples for the prickly/stubborn ones.

If we look at this as individual cases with individual solutions we are doomed. :shocked:. I really urge everyone to make some effort and to expand on any effort that you do make.


I've been making astronomy videos for 2.5 years to get more people looking up at the night sky, so that light pollution is on their radar, and they will then DO something about their own lights.

We need to start by making the changes at our own homes. "Hi neighbor - look at the lights on my house. See how there's no glare? All the light goes down, and I can still see everything I need to see at night to walk, look for burglars, etc." An example matters.

And beyond that, we need to not talk about how it affects US, as amateur astronomers. "Oh, you can't see the stars? Go drive out into the country!" No one cares about OTHER people's issues. People care about what matters to THEM. So we need to focus on the reduction in crime stats when cities have turned off lights (Bristol and Essex UK are great examples), or how even the tiniest bits of light at night can disrupt your sleep (Dr. David Blask and Dr. George Brainard's work). If we say, "Do you know you could sleep better if it were darker - no pills, no sleep aids, no expensive curtains that don't block all the light - just DARKNESS?" we might get some people's attention. The U.S. spends 9 BILLION on sleep medications. Of course, everyone likes a secret too, so we can't just scream, "Turn off the lights!!" we need to approach like, "Hey, I discovered the secret to a great night's sleep... call me if you're interested."

BAM! You have their attention - you've got a secret, and have information they want.

I plan to do just that by talking about better sleep at library presentations. Imagine how much more we could accomplish if we approach it that way. Yes, the political side - totally agreed. But we need to get citizens on board too. Politicians listen to squeaky wheels, and if squeaky wheels are only hearing, "We need more light because CRIME!" (even if there is effectively no crime, like where I live, yet we have hundreds of lights - and it's not because of them we have no crime), they will do what will get them VOTES - or more accurately, they will do what will not LOSE them votes.

In other words, educate EVERYONE. And be in it for the long haul, too.

So that's a really long way of both responding to your points, and saying to the OP "Take the long view." I know it's frustrating. I've been dealing with lights spewing onto my yard for years, and haven't made a ton of progress. But I've made some, and will make more. It just takes time. Be patient, work out a positive approach to get the changes made. And in the meantime, put up light shields.






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