Christina White: Thankfurl for soft light for the future



Published: 02-16-2024 2:36 PM

Modified: 02-16-2024 6:49 PM

On Feb. 1, the City Council unanimously adopted an amendment to the zoning ordinance to strengthen protection for the night sky. I would like to thank them and Carolyn Misch, director of Planning and Sustainability, for their thoughtful listening and courage to make the changes that will benefit people and the environment.

City Council President Alex Jarrett shepherded this amendment through the legislative committee, allowing voices to be heard and also maintaining forward movement. I appreciate that the council consulted James Lowenthal, who provided expertise and has been working with the city on this issue for more than 20 years.

My thanks to my ward representative Councilor Rachael Maiore, who is very responsive to her constituents and held the line on lighting exceptions. The new lighting standards include limits on color, backlighting, uplighting, glare, and lumens; limits on light trespass were already present in the ordinance. Bulbs should be no more than 2700 K (a lovely warm light). The city already provides a way for residents to request modification of streetlights if they are shining into a residential window;  I hope more will take advantage of this service (the form is online).

As we move forward, I am optimistic that sky glow will be reduced and all of us will look at our own lighting and think about the impact we have on the others who share our space, human or otherwise.

Christina White