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Seeking starry skies

Government: Resolution intended to decrease light pollution in outlying areas of L.A. County

Posted: January 24, 2012 10:14 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2012 10:14 p.m.
 


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has adopted a resolution that promises to cut down on light pollution in outlying areas of the county, including some in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission set out in November to set up a district that would define, among other things, what outdoor lighting contributes to light pollution and which outdoor lights are environmentally responsible.

On Tuesday, the commission’s plan received final approval.

The move promises to appease rural residents seeking to limit the amount of random light they say contributes to “light pollution.”

In December 2010, the board directed the county’s director of regional planning to come up with an ordinance that would set a “rural lighting zoning overlay” that would apply to all unincorporated areas of the county.

The move established the Rural Outdoor Lighting District approved Tuesday.

Regional Planning official Karen Lafferty told the board Tuesday she received seven letters of support for the newly defined zoning ordinance, including one from the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment.

The department also received four letters of opposition to the ordinance.

“I remember the four letters,” said Bruce Durbin of the planning department’s Ordinance Studies Section.

“They were from individuals who all had various reasons for wanting brighter lights in rural areas,” he said.

One letter received and reviewed by the department was from a man describing himself as a longtime Saugus resident upset over the brightly lighted yards of his neighbors.

“I live in a very dark rural area,” he wrote in his letter to county officials.

“I have been here over 24 years to date. Several years ago a new neighbor ... had built a new house which is situated on a much lower elevation compared to my property.

"“He has mounted a very bright and un-shielded vapor light approximately 25-30 foot up on top of a power pole. This light not only illuminates the entire frontage of his land, it shines directly into my eyes whether I am standing on my back patio, or anywhere else on my acreage, and whenever I am sitting inside the back room of my house.”

Guidelines for proper rural lighting are detailed on the department’s website at http://1.usa.gov/zaTQaf.

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