Monday, May 18, 2015

Keep the Dark Sky Ordinance Just the Way It Is

Just a reminder to please contact your City Council representative, the Mayor's office, Matthew McElroy in city planning and City Manager Tommy Gonzalez to tell them that you don't want our dark sky ordinance amended. Everyone in the City of El Paso (including big sign companies, viz., Clear Channel) have had 10 years to comply. There is no excuse for not doing so. 

Here is a sample email: Dear Rep. ___/Mayor's Office/City Manager/ Matthew McElroy, Please deny any requests for exemptions or changes to our current Dark Sky Ordinance. 

Here are the email addresses: 

District 1 Ann Morgan Lilly
District 2 Larry Romero
District 3 Emma Acosta
District 4 Carl Robinson
District 5 Michiel Noe
District 6 Claudia Ordaz
District 7 Lily Limon
District 8 Cortney Niland
The Mayor Oscar Leeser
City Manager Tommy Gonzalez      
Matthew McElroy, City Planning    

Additionally, dark sky activist, Marci Turner, sent the following message to all of us:

May 7th, 2015 marks the 10 year anniversary of El Paso’s Dark Sky Ordinance.

Businesses, residents and the City were given 10 years to come into compliance with this ordinance which requires all outdoor lighting to be directed downward, not up toward the sky.  This ordinance not only protects our night skies, but also contributes to the health and safety of our community.

This would be a good time for residents to check their own outdoor lights.

1.  Check your lights to be sure they are directed downward, to the area you want illuminated.

2.  Be sure your outdoor lights do not shine on your neighbor’s property, only on your property.

3.  Your lights also may not shine out toward the street and into the eyes of passing motorists.

Please note that illumination of a flag is allowed.

If you are unsure of your light fixtures, you can check online for Dark Sky Compliant Lights.  Home Depot and Lowe’s sell DSC light fixtures.  They are labeled as Dark Sky Compliant.  The actual light bulb should not be visible from a “side view” of your fixture.  If your neighbor has a light that is trespassing on your property, show them this flyer and ask them to please adjust their lighting.

In 2005, a representative from McDonald’s Observatory in Ft. Davis remarked that the only thing they could see from Ft. Davis to the West Coast was the light pollution created by El Paso.  Since then the amount of light pollution has been significantly reduced thanks to our businesses, city, and residents.

Questions?  Contact Marci Turner

Bottom line: We all can make a difference when it comes to light pollution. Clear Channel should also have a sense of civic pride.

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