NELPAG Circular No. 16 1997 May 5 New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG) Editor: Daniel W. E. Green [Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; 60 Garden Street; Cambridge, MA 02138] (telephone 617-495-7440) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary: Eric Johansson (telephone 508-667-0137) email: email@example.com "Subscription" to this irregular news/information Circular is available by sending self-addressed, stamped (32 cents in the U.S.A.) regular-sized (9.5x4-inch) envelopes (SASE) to Dan Green at his postal address, or by sending your e-mail address to NELPAG-REQUEST@HARVEE.BILLERICA.MA.US (Internet). Contributed information for this Circular concerning outdoor lighting problems in New England (or pertinent info from outside New England) are always welcome. Please circulate this newsletter to all interested parties. Look at our World Wide Web site at URL http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/nelpag/nelpag.html *********** BREAKING NEWS FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE LEGISLATURE From Ellen Schneider, the aide to Mass. Rep. Jim Marzilli, regarding the outdoor night-lighting bill pending in the Massachusetts State Legislature: The dark sky bill was reported out favorably from the Energy Committee's executive session on Monday, with amendments. The chairmen wanted to make sure that there would be some sort of oversight body to monitor changes, and they also made an allowance for historic/decorative needs. For now, the bill is on the way to House Ways & Means [another committee], where it will remain before being reported out on the floor. The amendments may be modified on the floor. I will let you know when we expect action on the bill. For the next few months, we are going to try to drum up support, and the best method is having citizens across the state write in support of H.3418 to their representatives and senators. So thanks again for coordinating this mailing with Sky & Telescope! That is exactly the type of push we need to get the dark sky bill onto the floor and passed. [Ellen.Schneider@state.ma.us] Comments by Dan Green: She is referring to the fact that Kelly Beatty and Sky & Telescope magazine have kindly produced mailing labels for all of the S&T subscribers in the state of Massachusetts, to which we will be mailing out a 1-page flyer describing the pending bill, asking the readers to write their state Reps and Senators to ask their support (indeed, cosponsorship) of this bill. Due to time constraints, I will not now be able to do any more on this until after May 14, but perhaps that following weekend (May 16-18), I hope to round up some volunteers here at the Observatory in Cambridge to help me stuff envelopes and mail them out. Three or four volunteers could probably get the job done in a very short time, with an assembly-line process. The 1-sheet, two-page flyer is being compiled from information supplied from Marzilli's office and edited by me, with approval by both Marzilli's office and S&T prior to mailing. I will pay for the photocopying costs, but there are 2608 addresses to send this out to, meaning $834.56 in first-class postage costs, plus the cost of that many envelopes which must be purchased. So I need to ask for financial donations to help in this worthy cost. The more you can contribute, the better. Please contact me directly to inquire about how to contribute financially or as a volunteer. By the way, some slight changes were made to this bill that we proposed via the Energy Committee, and which has now passed to the Ways and Means Committee. In Section 2, exemption number 4 is changed to say "Historic or decorative consideration should be allowed for not converting lumninaires." Section 2.75 was added, which says: "The division of energy resources shall establish and implement a system to ensure that the use of state funds for street lighting complies with sections 2 and 2.5." The bill was H.3418 under the Energy Committee, but I am told that it will now get a new (higher) number in the Ways and Means Committee. If you contact your legislative representative (or senator), they can find the new bill number by telling them "H.3418 in Fiscal Year 1997". NEWS FROM PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS William S. Abbott, the attorney who pushed for the lighting ordinance in Plymouth that was mentioned in the last two NELPAG Circulars, reports that the bill was passed nearly unanimously on April 15. (I erred in NELPAG Circular No. 14 when I said that this ordinance had already passed; what had happened at that time was that the Planning Board had approved the ordinance, passing it along to the Town Meeting for last night's vote.) The wording is provided below; a section about recreational lighting was the only section deleted by the Town Meeting. Abbott tells me that he has given the ordinance text to the town of Duxbury for possible action soon, and he relates that the Town of Plymouth has been bombarded with requests by Massachusetts cities and towns who are interested in using the Plymouth ordinance as a model for writing their own ordinances and bylaws. It is very interesting how these things can snowball! -- D.W.E.G. 1997 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING [Plymouth, Mass.] ARTICLE 22 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE PLANNING BOARD ON THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE ZONING BYLAW TO ESTABLISH SECTION 401.26 PREVENTION OF LIGHT POLLUTION Date of Publication of Public Hearing: 1997 Jan. 2, Jan. 9 Date of Public Hearing: 1997 Jan. 21, Feb. 11, Feb. 18 Vote: On Tuesday, February 18, 1997, the Planning Board voted (3-0) to recommend approval of the following amendment to Town Meeting [which was approved by Town Meeting on 1997 April 15]. PROPOSED AMENDMENT: following text is to be inserted into the Zoning Bylaw. Section 401.26 Prevention of Light Pollution A) Purpose and Intent. The Purpose of this Bylaw is to create standards for outdoor lighting so that its use does not unreasonably interfere with the reasonable use and enjoyment of property within Plymouth. It is the intent of this section to encourage, through the regulation of tye types, construction, installation, and uses of outdoor electrically powered illuminating devices, lighting practices, and systems that will (i) reduce light pollution, light trespass, and glare in order to preserve and enhance the natural, scenic, and aesthetic qualities of Plymouth, (ii) conserve energy and decrease lighting costs without decreasing nighttime safety, security, and productivity, and (iii) preserve the night sky as a natural resource to enhance nighttime enjoyment of property within Plymouth. B) Uses. All Municipal uses, uses in industrial and commercial districts, special permit uses, and signs in all districts are subject to Section 401.26 Prevention of Light Pollution. C) Definitions. Except as noted hereinafter, all definitions are provided in the Zoning Bylaw. Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, certain words and phrases used in this section shall mean the following: "Lamp" means the component of an outdoor light fixture that produces light. "Direct Light" means light emitted directly by a lamp, off a reflector, or through a refractor of an outdoor light fixture. "Light Trespass" means direct light emitted by an outdoor lamp fixture that shines beyond the boundaries of the property on which the outdoor light fixture is installed. "Up-light" means direct light emitted by an outdoor light fixture above a horizontal plane through the fixture's lowest light-emitting part. "Shielded" when referring to an outdoor light fixture means that the fixture allows no up-light. "Filtered" when referring to an outdoor light fixture means that the fixture is to be fitted with a glass, acrylic, or other translucent enclosure of the light source. D) Shielding. All outdoor light fixtures subject to this bylaw shall be shielded. E) Prohibited Light Sources. 1. Mercury-Vapor and Quartz Lamps. For the purposes of this bylaw, quartz lamps shall not be considered an incandescent light source. 2. Laser Source Light. The use of laser-source light or any similar high-intensity light for outdoor advertising, when projected above the horizontal, is prohibited. 3. Searchlights. The operation of searchlights for advertising purposes is prohibited. F) Metal Halide Lighting. All outdoor light fixtures utilizing a metal-halide lamp or lamps shall be shielded and filtered. Filtering using quartz glass does not meet this requirement. G) Outdoor Advertising Signs. Outdoor light fixtures used to illuminate an outdoor advertising sign shall be mounted on the top of the sign structure. H) Exemptions. 1. Fossil fuel Light. All outdoor light fixtures producing light directly by the combustion of natural gas or other fossil fuels are exempt from all requirements of this bylaw. 2. Other Light Sources. All outdoor light fixtures using an incandescent lamp or lamps of 150 watts or less are exempt from all requirements of this bylaw. All outdoor light fixtures using any lamp or lamps of 50 total watts or less are exempt from all requirements of this bylaw. I) Special Permit. Alternative outdoor light fixtures may be allowed by special permit if it is found that: (1) the fixture's design and appearance are superior, (2) significant light pollution will not be created, and (3) light trespass and glare are minimal. NEED AND JUSTIFICATION: Large residential, commercial, and industrial developments are major generators of light pollution. At night, the glow of large parking lots can be seen from miles away. In addition, in heavily lighted areas, the ability to see stars is greatly limited. According to The Amicus Journal [article by Art Upgren in 1995], under ideal conditions the sky is crowded with 2500 visible stars. In a moderately illuminated suburb, the night sky has only 200 or 300 visible stars. In large cities, people are lucky if they can see more than a few dozen. Light pollution also wastes energy. The electricity used to generate the light that illuminates the sky or abutting undeveloped land is wasted. As development occurs in Plymouth, fewer and fewer stars will be visible. This bylaw seeks to limit light pollution by controling two types of light pollution (up-light pollution and trespass light pollution). Up-light is when light is directed into the sky. Up-light is wasted light since there is nothing in the sky to illuminate. Up-light blocks nighttime views. The second type of light pollution is known as trespass light. Trespass light is light that shines beyond the boundaries of a property. A good example of trespass light is the glare from a sign or parking lot that temporarily blinds the driver of a vehicle. EFFECT: The effect of this amendment is to simply require that all lights be shielded. Shielding will limit glare and prevent lights from shining beyond the boundaries of the development. Shielding will also limit the amount of light polluting the nighttime sky. Only the brightest, least efficient type of light (Mercury-Vapor/Quartz light) is prohibited. The amendment does not restrict the intensity of lights. Individual homeowners will be exempt from this bylaw. INTENT: The intent of this amendment is to limit the amount of light pollution generated by outdoor light fixtures. It is also intended to reduce glare, conserve energy, decrease lighting cost, and preserve the views of the night sky. This amendment will preserve and enhance the nighttime natural, scenic, and aesthetic qualities of Plymouth, without decreasing nighttime safety or security. Revised as given above and signed by Planning Board members on 1997 March 4; filed with Town Clerk on 1997 March 5. Voted into law by Town Meeting 4/15/97. NEWS FROM THE CONNECTICUT STATE LEGISLATURE The roadway lighting bill (House Bill 5092) passed in June 1995. Here is some background information. When introduced by Rep. Dominic Mazzoccoli (Assm. Dist. 27), it was originally written to declare that no state funds shall be used to install or replace existing state highway-lighting fixtures (drop-lens refractor, cobrahead type) unless it (a) was energy efficient, (b) minimized light pollution, glare, and light trespass, and (c) equal to or lower than the minimum adequate illuminance for its purpose. For a rated output of more than 1800 lumens (a 60-watt light bulb), replacement would be a full-cutoff fixture. It also stated that the Commissioner of the Department Of Transportation (DOT) would determine where lighting installation or replacement might instead be achieved by alternatives such as a reduced speed limit, reflectors, or reflectorized road markings. The public hearing on this bill took place early in 1995 at the state Legislative Building in Hartford, before the Committee on Energy and Technology. In attendance were IDA members, Prof. Arthur Upgren, and myself, who spoke in favor of the bill before the committee. Two gentlemen spoke against the bill. The first was opposed to legislation being considered for the special interests of astronomers. The second speaker was DOT engineer Donald McCall, who stated that, as determined by a computer program for lighting design, retrofitting existing highway poles with full-cutoff fixtures would not be possible, because it would require installing more poles at tighter spacing to achieve uniformity, costing the state millions. After the dust had settled, the Committee voted in favor of the bill (Yea 13, Nay 3). But the bill was far from being passed. After a lot of back-and-forth between the DOT and the House, a compromise in some of the language had been arrived at, and the final draft of the bill was brought into the Senate through Senator Bill Aniskovich (after I sent him IDA information). Bill 5092 passed both the House and the Senate in June 1995. The key changes in the language now state that replacement with full-cutoff fixtures will happen on state secondary highways and special service highways (when due for replacement). And, for state primary highways, full-cutoff replacement will happen only when the Commissioner of the DOT determines that the fixtures will not compromise driver safety or increase the cost of the lighting plan (at which point, I supplied him with much lighting information). And, for the special requests from individuals who really want the glare, special waivers could be requested of the Commissioner for his review. The Office of Policy and Management serves as the watchdog for the cost analysis of the replacement fixtures. So, here we are nearly two years later. My personal awareness of the effects from this legislation are as follows: Areas of state secondary and primary(!) highways are showing gradual retrofit replacements with full-cutoff cobraheads. Amost all state commuter lots for car-pooling are lit with full-cutoff cobraheads. Newer lighting in rest areas along some primary highways are employing either full-cutoff fixtures or visor-type shields. It's a hopeful beginning to a new era in roadway lighting. -- Bob Crelin [I will try and type the 1-page law into the computer for the next NELPAG Circular. -- Ed.] NEWS FROM ROWLEY, MASSACHUSETTS The town of Rowley's Planning Board unanimously approved lighting rules and regulations recently. At the public hearing on 1997 April 14, the Planning Board heard from Rowley residents that lighting is a concern and that they support my effort and wording for a lighting specification to be incorporated into the town "Site Plan Guidelines" book. Though not a bylaw, this is our first step in gaining acceptance and official legal control of lighting issues. On a 'show of hands vote', all residents in attendance were in favor of Planning Board future action to develop a "lighting bylaw". I plan to now move out and begin a campaign to accomplish this for the 1998 Town Meeting. This vote shows the Planning Board that the residents do have a concern and I am not alone any more. --- John Petrowicz (Star Gate Observatory, Rowley, MA) FIXTURES TO ADD TO "GOOD NEIGHBOR OUTDOOR LIGHTING" LIST Hubbell Lighting, Inc. [2000 Electric Way, Christiansburg, VA 24073-2500], has a couple of nice light fixtures for residential yard/property lighting. Unfortunately, most of their lighting is dreadful (in that it can be pointed outward and upward). But two or three of their "Lightscaper Fixtures" are worthy of our list of cutoff fixtures that produce useful, aesthetically-pleasing light for single- and multi-family houses. Their "Walkway Mushroom Light" (MR118), "Mushroom Lightscaper Fixture" (MR218), and "Scoop Light" (S18) are among the good full-cutoff Hubbell lights that can be used for yard, driveway, and walkway lighting. Hubbell also has an 18-watt louvered-face "Steplight" (D318) that "provides shielded light output for steps, entrances, and walks" (complete with lamp and connector), noting a typical mounting height of 6 inches to 3 feet. This is described in their May 1996 brochure, "Commercial Grade 12-volt Lightscaper Fixtures" (OUT204), and a World Wide Web link to some of this info is available now on the NELPAG homepage. TYPICAL POWER-UTILITY LITERATURE Joshua Roth (Arlington, MA) sent me a billing-envelope insert that he received with his recent Boston Edison electric bill. It's selling "Home Products" from "SECO Home Products", Natick, MA. One of the six items that they're selling by mail (with a "$25 Instant Rebate", no less!) is an "Exterior Flood" light, totally unshielded, to be mounted on the side of your house or building with light sent directly outward and upward. The cost is only $5.00 (with $3.00 shipping). I think it's high time that we all start writing to all such companies that sell, distribute, or promote such horrendous lighting, to ask them to take it off the market and instead provide good, full-cutoff cheap lights that point downward only. If you want to write SECO, their address is given as 14 Tech Circle; Natick, MA 01760-1086. If you have time, please do jot them a note and tactfully ask them to be a "good neighbor" by offering something better. NELPAG WEBSITE I have greatly expanded the NELPAG pages on the World Wide Web (URL provided above) in the past month, by popular demand. I have heard from others (and experienced myself) that the IDA Website is often slow and sometimes even unreachable (as are all Websites from time to time!). I have thus begun two things on the NELPAG Website: (1) Listing some of the best links to other sites regarding outdoor-lighting issues; and (2) adding information to help people more directly who are seeking information concerning the writing/revising of town/city bylaws and ordinances on outdoor night lighting. As such, I have so far typed in some useful information on lamp types/output and on model ordinances, and I have included pointers to some IDA Information Sheets -- a couple of which are re-posted on these NELPAG pages for access when the IDA Website is slow or down (I say "re-posted" because the NELPAG Website was the birthplace of the original IDA Web pages, as many of you may recall). Feel free to pass along recommendations and comments for improvements of this Web material. -- D.W.E.G. OUTDOOR LIGHTING ISSUES IN LEXINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS In compiling all of the information on what has been happening in Lexington, I find that there is so much stuff to report that it would be best to devote most or all of a NELPAG Circular to this issue, and I hope to do that in Circular No. 17. -- D.W.E.G. NELPAG VOLUNTEERS NEEDED Speaking of volunteers, NELPAG could use a few more regular volunteers to help get our message out. There are so many people asking for information on outdoor lighting these days, as a result of the two bright comets of the past year and of the increased visibility in the media to light-pollution issues in this part of the United States. The whole concept of good outdoor lighting is one that is rapidly spreading into government offices, business offices, and residential living rooms, and we need to take advantage of our good fortune and more actively contact our local government and business officials who have the power to make our nighttime environment a much safer, more aesthetically pleasing one. We can win this war, but not without a lot of people working toward the betterment of our outdoor world! Please do more than just read this Circular! -- D.W.E.G. *********** The NELPAG supports the International Dark-Sky Association and recommends that all individuals/groups who are interested in the problems of light pollution and obtrusive lighting should subscribe to the IDA Newsletter (IDA membership costs $20.00 per year; send check to International Dark-Sky Association, 3545 N. Stewart, Tucson, AZ 85716).