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General Astronomy >> Light Pollution

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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: Gil V]
      #5987772 - 07/24/13 12:14 PM

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.


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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: Gil V]
      #5988393 - 07/24/13 08:03 PM

Quote:

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


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herrointment
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/12/11

Loc: North of Hwy. 64
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5988542 - 07/24/13 09:41 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!


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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: magic612]
      #5989393 - 07/25/13 11:38 AM

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

Bob


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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: REC]
      #5989697 - 07/25/13 02:42 PM

Quote:

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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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: richard7]
      #5989823 - 07/25/13 03:36 PM

Hey, have frequent star parties at your house and invite everyone who has one of those coffee grinder mounts........

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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: richard7]
      #5990211 - 07/25/13 08:10 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




Yup - I had looked at mine before. I just typed in my city, state and then local ordinances or something like that. Usually they can be found from your municipality's home page, though sometimes that can take some digging to find them. But most places have them posted in PDF form or some other format.

Once I had the right section, I just did some Ctrl-F searches using "light" or "lighting" to find the relevant sub-sections quickly.


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Astro88
member


Reged: 08/30/09

Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: REC]
      #5990227 - 07/25/13 08:26 PM

Quote:

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

Bob





Try http://www.municode.com


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Jeff Phinney
super member


Reged: 02/20/13

Loc: CA
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: Astro88]
      #5990255 - 07/25/13 08:44 PM

Have you tried "light trespass" as a search term?

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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: Astro88]
      #5999930 - 07/31/13 11:53 AM

Hey, thanks for the tip on the municode and will start there!

Bob


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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: REC]
      #6044320 - 08/24/13 10:10 PM

Update:

I did receive a note back from the Village Administrator, the day after my initial email. His response was basically, we'll do an investigation of the neighbor's lights and get that started, but the streetlight is the electric company's deal - we sent your info to them so they can contact you.

In the interim, the electric company DID come out to look at the streetlight. Two things about that: 1) They NEVER contacted me ahead of time and 2) My kids - who did a nice job of at least trying with the electric company dude since I wasn't there - relayed the information they said, which was essentially, "The Village tells us what to do here about streetlights - there's nothing we can do."

So I'm getting a big runaround, as you can see.

When that happened, I recontacted the Village Administrator, detailing that information, and asking how the neighbor light investigation was going. That was two weeks ago. I STILL had not heard anything as of yesterday, the most recent business day.

So today, a full MONTH after I initiated contact, I wrote this response:

Quote:

"Dear Mr. [Village Administrator]

Exactly one month ago today, I contacted you regarding the lights shining into my daughter's bedroom window. In that time, ComEd has come out and said they will do nothing without village approval. I wrote to you about that 2 weeks ago. I am also still waiting for a Village response in regards to the review you indicated you would initiate back on July 24. It is now August 24.

I feel confident that if there was loud music playing at night or other noise disturbances, the police would be on scene within a matter of minutes. I suppose because it is light - which is actually more harmful than sound, based on some recent research linking it to breast and prostate cancer, not to mention sleep disorders (see this link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002207/ ) - there is less urgency, as it only affects those in direct line-of-sight?

Please, I am asking for your help. I would like this problem resolved, and the Village Code certainly appears to support my position that these lights are a nuisance and should be changed / remedied. This is a simple problem to resolve; the lights either need to be changed, or shielded so they aim down at the ground. I am not asking for them to be off. I am asking for them to light the ground underneath where they are located, and simply keep light from going into a SECOND floor window, where it is neither wanted nor needed. If you drive through Route [XX] in [ABCCity] when it is raining at night or see the new, black post lamps installed in the Village of [XYZABC], you can see how better lights make it easier to see, as there is less glare due to the well-shielded lights. Even the lights at [12345] Dodge here in [our village] are well-shielded, ensuring they light up ONLY the area on the ground below them, and not residences nearby.

[The electric company] has thrown the ball back into your court. Please help me in this matter, and let me know where things stand so I do not feel as if nothing is being done. The Village Code backs me up here - it would seem that this should be a simple matter to resolve. Please let me know what the hold-up is here.

And I should add that since we are nearing autumn, the streetlight at [CROSS STREETS] will be shining into my own bedroom window from over 100 feet away when the leaves fall off the trees. Note that better shielded lights use less energy as well, because they aren't shining light needlessly up into the air.




I am providing all of this info so others can use this language if they wish, and to keep going even when things move slowly. Because I WILL make a difference in my neighborhood, my town, and ideally over a wider area. I just know it will be VERY slow going, and will take a long time to get things changed.

This is encouragement from me to others to KEEP AT IT.


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REC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: magic612]
      #6045004 - 08/25/13 11:21 AM

THAT is an excellent letter!

Thanks for sharing:)

Bob


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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: REC]
      #6045265 - 08/25/13 02:08 PM

Valiant effort if it works or not.
Keep us informed.

Edited by richard7 (08/25/13 02:09 PM)


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John Fitzgerald
In Focus
*****

Reged: 01/04/04

Loc: AR
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: richard7]
      #6046025 - 08/25/13 09:29 PM

I am simply going to move, dome and all, to a better site. Set to close on the new place late this week. No covenants either. Have you ever thought of moving? Sometimes that is the better solution.

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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: John Fitzgerald]
      #6046113 - 08/25/13 10:22 PM

Thanks for the kudos. I suppose I have a pretty good gift for writing stuff like that.

I don't plan to move. One of my kids is still in school - we are not gonna move just for me, based on the lighting. Plus, I feel like that's what a lot of amateur astronomers wind up doing, one way or the other. Rather than meeting the problem head-on, we go away from it. Eventually, we're going to run out of places to go, if all of us leave for darker skies. And the light will follow us, because no one will be speaking up against it.

John, I don't mean that as a slight against you - I completely understand the desire to get away from it. But some of us really do need to stay, and fight this problem. So I am going to share my experiences here to help others know how they can get started and use my experience as a template to do it themselves.

And in so doing, I hope I can help inspire others to take steps of their own, and even teach me, and others, what successes they have (and learn from failures too).


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John Fitzgerald
In Focus
*****

Reged: 01/04/04

Loc: AR
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: magic612]
      #6046190 - 08/25/13 11:29 PM

I am not moving just because of LP. There are other more important reasons, like traffic, taxes, neighborhood development, covenants, etc, etc. Also, being retired will be to my advantage, with a large acreage to care for.

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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory [Re: John Fitzgerald]
      #6046650 - 08/26/13 09:56 AM

I received an email from the Village Administrator this morning. Since I didn't ask for permission to copy it and post here, I will summarize the contents. Basically he apologized for not responding sooner, and indicated that contact with the electric company was initiated. That information was forwarded to another contact who deals more with streetlights, designs, costs, etc., and that he will contact me again when he hears back.

I thanked him for the email and to keep me informed. I'll keep updating progress as I hear more.


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richard7Moderator
Not Quite
*****

Reged: 11/02/07

Loc: Sacramento
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: magic612]
      #6047354 - 08/26/13 05:12 PM

Now that sounds promising!

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: magic612]
      #6049692 - 08/27/13 09:19 PM

You handled this very diplomatically. Your neighbors are not going to budge. Putting the neighbors aside, if their lights were out, how dark are your skies? I have thought a lot about the frustration of trying to view in light polluted skies. You can view out your back yard, find a site about 20 miles from home, and a site further out, i.e. a dark sky site. I believe the best answer is to buy some property at a dark sky site and put up a permanent observatory. Then, drive to the place for a night or two, or over a long weekend, and eventually keep it as a retirement home.

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magic612
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: Small, VERY local, hopefully not temporary victory new [Re: richard7]
      #6049728 - 08/27/13 09:42 PM

I should point out a few recent successes that I have had in the past couple of months.

My wife works at our local library, and it is located just down the street from us - actually, within line-of-sight from my house, and my neighbor's house. My wife is well aware of my light pollution efforts, and even when she was asked what lights they should put in their parking lot a few years ago, she said the right kind. Sadly, they didn't GET those lights, and have some horrible, sideways facing mini-Suns, but she did recently get a 'win' there.

There are two post lamps just outside the door to the library. They are the typical, house-type post lamps: Badly designed, throwing light everywhere with typical incandescent bulbs. There is a new director at the library, so when one of the bulbs burned out earlier this week, my wife asked if they could be replaced with the silver-crown style bulbs that are in my first post here. The new director thought it was a great idea, so I sent my wife to work with two bulbs today, and they are now in those fixtures.

Yay for small wins!

The other small win is my neighbor BEHIND my house (not the one next door that refuses to change their lighting). This neighbor came to one of my astronomy presentations a couple years ago, and after I finished (and had mentioned light pollution and turning off lights at night) she said, "Well why didn't you say something sooner - I'd have turned off my lights for you!"

For a couple years, she has. She has two "post lamp" type fixtures on the back of her deck. But I approached her a few weeks ago and said that she could have those lights on a bit more often is she'd like, simply by using those bulbs. I gave her two of them, and her husband put them in. I noticed them when the lights were on last week.

Yay! Another win!

So if you include the post lamp in my backyard, plus the new fixture I put on the front of my house, that's SIX lights now in my immediate area that are FAR less light polluting of the sky than they were two years ago. We CAN make a difference! It just takes time. And I may not make any headway with my other neighbor, but I have high hopes for the streetlamps being changed. We'll see.

Oh, and if anyone wants those silver crown bulbs, there are incandescent ones here (I just bought 12 more for myself to give away):

http://1000bulbs.com/category/silver-bowl-decorative-globe-light-bulbs/

And a CFL version here:

http://www.genesislamp.com/sibocofllibu.html


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