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Neighbours and their lights

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#1 Alby


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Posted 04 May 2005 - 08:23 PM

Hi all;

I live in a small subdivision in a small town.

I always b---- to my wife about the neighbours having their outdoor lights on! Some do it so their dogs (who have great night vision) don't trip while doing their business?! Come on!
Others for a sense of security(that usually includes their front lights aswell). Some because they figure the country has too much FOSSIL BURNING FUEL energy so lets waste it along with their money! Some people......well who knows?

On occasion when the lighting gods permit, I set up in the backyard to view. It has happened a few times that a neighbour would turn on a outdoor light. If someone is out and able to hear, I politely ask if they can be switched off and they oblidge:) However I don't know all my neighbours and I'm not into driving/walking to their homes seeking that the light show stop............SO

The reason for this post.

I've often thought of drafting and distributing a letter to all the homes in my area enlightning them to the issues of light pollution and preservation of the night sky.

Do any of you CNer's have any thoughts or experience dealing with a situation of this sort?
Anyone have any neighbouly disputes to share with the CN readers?
Has anyone had dealings with local officals/goverment?
Anyone else out there going through similar frustrations?

What can I do? Perhaps I should just stick to the 30/40 minute drive to my out of town viewing spot. But I usually
find that tough to do after a busy exhausting day.

Moving to a more rural location and getting my planned back yard observatory built isn't going to happen for a few years yet.

Egerly awaiting any input.


#2 nodaknewbie


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Posted 04 May 2005 - 09:26 PM

Hi Alby,
I have almost the same scenerio, but instead of relying on neighbors and the city to install better lighting, I chose to build and use some light weight panels of 1 1/4 pvc and 6 mill black poly. That way I can do my own thing and they can feel safe when their timers cause their back/front/side yards to be well lighted venues for any thief to be able to skirt any obstacles as they make off with whatever they're interested in.
Good luck and warm clear mosquito-free nights.

#3 Glassthrower


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Posted 04 May 2005 - 10:07 PM

I use a variety of measures to cut out the surrounding
lights. Thankfully, most of my immediate neighbors are
nice about leaving their lights off once it gets late.

I do however have an extremely offensive street light
that does not listen to reason or begging. It sits there,
high and mighty on it's shiny pole, glaring down at me,
mocking me and my futile efforts to stargaze. I shout
at it, I wish bad things on it, I try bribing it, finally
I gave it a swift kick. Nothing worked.

So I got myself two 8-foot long wooden stakes about 1-1/2
inches thick. On to the bottom of each stake I affix a
thin but rigid 18" section of rebar. This allows me
to easily and quickly push the stake cleanly into the
ground without hammering or using much muscle. Between
the two stakes I have stretched a king-size black bed
sheet and stapled the edges to the stakes. This puts a
blind between myself and the hate-filled darkness-destroyer.
Works like a charm. And since then, the light pole and
I have enjoyed a warm re-evaluation of our once rocky



#4 Craig Simmons

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 07:07 AM

Here's my solution. Sheet plastic sewn into pillow cases that fit over a pvc framework attached together with cable ties. Total cost about $35 IIRC.


#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 07:20 AM

Alby, your desire to do something about light pollution is how a small movement could snowball into a big movement to reduce light pollution. Check out darksky.org for more inspiration.

If that doesn't work I suggest a sling shot to take out any annoying lights. :grin:

#6 Neil Weiner

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 08:41 AM

A letter from or on behallf of a green sounding organization (Cloudy Nights?) might be more effective and have less potential to give offense. Even better if combined with a personal/neighborly request.

#7 Silvio


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Posted 05 May 2005 - 01:48 PM

I don't know if a letter is such a good idea. While it allows you to avoid dealing with neighbors on a person to person basis, I suspect that a letter would annoy your neighbors who would view it as junk mail and simply toss it in the garbage. As intimidating as person to person contact might be, it has always worked for me in my townhome sub-division.

I will knock on their door, make sure that I am smiling, apologise for inconveniencing them, explain who I am & where I live, explain that I have a hobby that I am passionate above, and then finally ask them for their help in allowing you to continue to enjoy your hobby (ie switch off their lights on the occasions that you call them when you are observing. If they are positive, thank them profusely and offer to let them look through your equipment.

I have never encountered anything but civility when I do it this way. The only hostility that I have ever encountered was when I tried a heavy approach - that their lights were annoying me and that they were in breach of the townhome CC&Rs - big mistake.

As for street lights, many cities have ordinances prohibiting direct light shining onto your property - I have called the utility company and offered to pay for light shields but each time they declined to accept payment & shielded the lights anyway.

Good luck,

#8 Glassthrower


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Posted 05 May 2005 - 09:54 PM

I hadn't thought of simply contacting the city and making
a request. What's the worst that could happen? I can't
believe I didn't give that more thought before.

Heck, even if they only shield one light, as long as it's
the *one* that drives me nuts, then I'll be happy.

In the meantime, my bed-sheet-blind suffices.


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