Letter: Dark skies and bright lights

What is Coconino County’s dark sky ordinance, and why is it important? Many would agree that some of the best star gazing around can be done right here, in Williams. Coconino County’s dark sky ordinance is designed to protect that by limiting light pollution in the sky and public areas. The purpose is described in the first section of the ordinance, which can be found at http://www.coconino.az.gov/documentcenter/view/4617, and states, “… naturally dark landscapes and star-filled skies are valued by many, and poor lighting practices in outdoor lighting waste energy, hamper the reasonable use and enjoyment of property and can endanger the public welfare by producing unnecessary glare.”

Besides protecting the natural beauty of open skies, the ordinance also serves a purpose of public safety, and just being a good neighbor. Light that spills out from a property can be a nuisance to drivers by producing blinding or hazardous glares. Newer LED technology has created extremely bright lighting at cost efficient price points, and more people are installing them than ever before. It is important to remember, according to the ordinance, that this type of lighting must face down, parallel to the ground. Glaring light can also be frustrating to neighbors, if the light is shining through their windows. Part of being a good neighbor is being considerate to those around you.

Coconino County’s dark sky ordinance includes Williams, and lays out specific guidelines for approved lighting. Please take a moment to assess your lighting and see that you are in compliance.

It is also time to talk about decorative holiday lighting. In just a couple months, Christmas lighting will be going up, and the Polar Express will make its way into town. It is important to keep in mind that holiday lighting is only designed for temporary use, and is not meant to be a permanent fixture. The wires on this type of lighting become cracked and brittle when exposed to the elements, and could become a fire hazard. If you are going to be installing holiday lighting, please remember to take them down when the holidays have passed.

Dan Gordon

City Of Williams

Code Enforcement

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