NELPAG Circular No. 17 1997 Sept. 15 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: email@example.com Secretary: Eric Johansson (telephone 508-667-0137) email: firstname.lastname@example.org "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 *********** NELPAG MEETING ON 1997 MAY 17 Six people were present on Saturday, May 17, to help mail out the flyer to Massachusetts Sky and Telescope subscribers to alert readers about the pending outdoor night-lighting bill in the State Legislature. Bob Napier drove up from Rhode Island; others present included Eric Johansson, Michael Ratner, Tom Calderwood, and Dan Green. In addition, John Small helped with stuffing and sealing some 2000 envelopes on May 16 with an automatic machine, saving hours of manual work. We reached our goal in terms of contributions, and were able to mail out flyers to all subscribers on the list. We also thank Kelly Beatty, Susan Lit, Eric Bloom, and Joshua Roth of Sky and Telescope for kindly producing self-adhesive mailing labels for all of their Massachusetts subscribers. Donations of either stamps, envelopes, or cash for stamps were also made by Boston Engineering Services (the largest donor, at $250.00), Steve Willner, members of the Amateur Telescope Makers of Boston ($205.00 collected at their May 8 meeting), Dale L. Reid (Eau Claire, WI!), Bob Napier, Michael Ratner, Tom Calderwood, Joshua Roth, John Small, John Hopkins, Bob Wylie, and Warren Offutt (Cloudcroft, NM!). If I've missed anybody, I apologize sincerely. But many thanks go to all of these volunteers and donors, and let's hope that this bill gets passed as a result! --- D.W.E.G. STATUS OF MASS. STATE BILL Shortly after the letters were mailed out to Massachusetts subscribers of Sky and Telescope, one recipient called to say that there were problems with the bill. I thank Ed Wallner (Wayland, MA) for alerting me to some of the following information, and it was he who sent me a copy of the bill and the bill's recent history, which in turn was supplied to him by his state rep, Susan W. Pope. First the history: The bill was reported/referred to the Comittee on House Science and Technology, favorably, by the Energy Committee, on 1997 May 1. At this time, a "new draft" of H3418 (the old bill number) was included. The bill summary for H-3418, available to all members of the legislature, has the old summary wording, "This bill would require local governments to adopt outdoor lighting ordinances", which could easily kill this bill; this outdated wording referred to the original bill from a few years back. Recent years' wording of the bill have addressed state-funded lighting only. This summary that I have noted is an "internal" bill summary that state legislators can call up when they want to know what a bill is about (and what its introduction/hearing history has been), without actually reading the bill themselves. That bill summary for H.3418 was outdated by a couple of years, so that if any legislator looked only at the summary and not at the actual bill, he/she would see something that was entirely different from reality and something that might immediately cause them to be against the bill (namely, mandating that cities and towns install ordinances/bylaws concerning outdoor lighting, when cities/towns do not like to be told by the state what to do). Now for the really bad news. One problem is apparently unavoidable and due to government bureaucracy: the bill number is changed whenever it moves to a new committee. Thus, our bill H.3418 was confusedly changed to H.4449. But worse actions had happened in the process. About 20 words were deleted from the old bill (H-3418) for the new bill, now known as House No. 4449. But those words are *the most important* words of the whole bill! Thus, section 2.5 was changed from No state funds shall be used to install any news permanent outdoor luminaire or to replace an existing permanent outdoor luminaire unless the following conditions are met: 1) The new or replacement luminaire is a full-cutoff luminaire when the rated output of the luminaire is greater than 1,800 lumens; TO No state funds shall be used to install any new permanent outdoor luminaire unless the following conditions are met: 1) The new or replacement luminaire is greater than 1,800 lumens; This is actually WORSE than passing no bill at all; not only has the "full-cutoff" language disappeared, but a high minimum level of lumen output is mandated! I heard that in the final editing and discussion of the bill prior to reporting out of the energy committee, one or more individuals on the committee were concerned about the meaning of "replacement" lighting. How on earth anybody could construe that this meant the replacement of all existing lamps, I do not know --- but this apparently did happen. The result was what we now see, I am told. The solution is to put back the original wording in lines 3-8 of Section 2, and then add in a definition (section 1) that "Replacement lighting" means any broken or non-illuninating existing lamp, or something to that effect. I'm told by Rep. Marzilli's office that they are trying to re-instate the original wording from H.3418; in fact, today Ellen Schneider of his office said that things will again pick up on this and other legislation on September 17, and that discussions between Marzilli's office and the Science and Technology Committee indicate that the latter will change the wording of H.4449 back to the original wording of H.3418 perhaps as soon as this week. But we cannot in ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM support H.4449 as it is was horribly re-written (above). PLEASE, contact your state reps and senators and tell them to support the outdoor night-lighting bill under the old wording of H.3418 AS IT WAS SUBMITTED in December 1996 (not what was submitted earlier) and not the revised wording in H.4449! This is a perfect example of where the old bill number should be retained and the new bill number deleted. This makes the whole legislative/democratic process very problematical, because one must be very specific in this case as to which version of the bill is being supported. If the wording of H.4449 *is* made the same as H.3418, *then* we can support H.4449 (but only then). One official at the State House told me some weeks ago that the summary to H.3418 (and H.4449?) has been changed now, but that may not change the fact that old summaries are probably floating around in the offices of various individuals at the State House. If you sent letters to your legislators and/or called them a few months ago, please do so again now, in support of H.3418. Tell them that it was favorably reported from the Energy Committee to the Science and Technology Committee last May 1, with the bill number changed to H.4449, but that some wording was (supposedly inadvertently) thoroughly messed up so as to be unsupportable, and that the original wording of H.3418 is going to be brought back; ask them to support H.3418, and also H.4449 only if/when the original wording from H.3418 has been replaced. I know this is a pain and is awkward, but we have no other choice if we want the correct bill passed! Note also that Massachusetts state legislators can now be looked up on the World Wide Web at http://www.state.ma.us/legis/legis.htm. --- D. W. E. Green MESSAGE OF 1997 MAY 23 FROM REP. MARZILLI'S OFFICE TO US Thank you and all the NELPAG volunteers for your hard work on this project. It illustrates how the political process truly is a democratic and grassroots effort. We are aware of the problems that you cited with H.4449. Our original bill, H.3418, left the Committee on Energy on May 1st with amendments as H.4449. It was then sent to the Committee on Science and Technology. We are working with the Committee on Science and Technology to correct both the simple typographical errors and of course the gross omission of the "full-cutoff" language. For the next few weeks the Legislature will be working on the FY98 Budget. No action will be taken on the Dark Sky Bill until the state budget is reported out. We will continue working with the Committee on Science and Technology to make sure that H.4449 is fully restored before it moves to House Ways & Means and ultimately the floor of the House of Representatives for debate. In the past week we have found out that the lighting industry is watching H.4449 closely. I will keep you apprised of any action there. We want to continue to work closely with you and with NELPAG to make sure that the Dark Sky Bill is as strong as it can be before it reaches the House Floor. We appreciate the publicity it has received through the NELPAG circulars and now the Sky & Telescope mailing. Thank you again for all your efforts. --- Ellen Schneider, for Representative Jim Marzilli OUTDOOR LIGHTING ISSUES DISCUSSED IN VERMONT Friday, June 6th, saw the 3rd annual Vermont Historical Preservation Conference in the town of St. Johnsbury. An all-day event filled with concurrent workshops on historical restoration, revitalization, and future development in Vermont. The workshops were touted as an open-forum design, with speaker presentations followed by discussion. On this year's agenda was a program of particular personal interest called "Lighting Communities". The fact that Vermont is as-of-yet mostly unspoiled by poor outdoor lighting, was reason enough for me to attend this workshop. Not knowing what to expect, I came prepared to contribute whatever I could --- if needed. After a short introduction by moderator/author Thomas Visser, the first presentation was given by Burlington (VT) landscape architect Kathleen Ryan. Kathleen's slide-show-assisted talk was a culmination of a year-long study by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) on outdoor lighting. Her presentation was incredibly in-depth and thorough, starting with the history of electric lighting to where we are today. A slide of "North America at Night" was included to illustrate our current condition. Types of fixtures were discussed, graphs of comparative light levels and lighting terminology were explained. Very effective models of competitive business lighting were used to show the need for light-level regulation. Key lighting issues were dealt with in great depth, like: glare, the workings of the human eye, color rendering, sky glow/effect on the night sky, signage, security lighting, saving energy, etc. As she wrapped up her presentation, she mentioned that the complete study and recommendations were compiled as a full-color book called "Outdoor Lighting Manual For Vermont Municipalities" ($25 for individuals, $20 for community organizations; available from the CCRPC, telephone 802-658-3004). I picked up a copy, and I must say that it is the best booklet of this type that I have seen yet! It is an excellent "layman's" primer for understanding the municipal benefits of preventing light pollution --- I strongly recommend it. The second speaker was Alfred Holden, a preservation journalist from Toronto who served in an advisory position for lighting design in the city. His talk, "Seeing Communities in a Better Light", was sprinkled with the very interesting history of civic-lighting design, and also dealt with the psychology behind outdoor lighting throughout this century. Alfred used slides to demonstrate the lighting choices in the Toronto downtown area, and compared similar scenes from other areas to illustrate the benefits and effects. He topped off his presentation by lighting a historical display of actual street-light fixtures in the room, from the early incandescents to the modern metal-halide street fixtures. The newest street fixture shown was an internally shielded, drop-lens (strawberry shape) that are being used throughout Toronto (maximum wattage used --- only 70 watts!). Alfred describes his design approach as: less light --- better visibility. He is currently writing a book on street lighting. In this book, he is devoting a chapter to the detrimental effects of light pollution on professional astronomy/observatories, and is looking for information about this. He would welcome any input at e-mail address email@example.com. By the time Alfred's presentation ended, the workshop had run 20 minutes overtime, and there was no time for discussion. All in all, I was personally very inspired and hopeful for the state of Vermont by the amount of awareness exhibited at this Conference. --- Bob Crelin [firstname.lastname@example.org] UPDATE ON LIGHT-POLLUTION EFFORTS IN RHODE ISLAND According to an article in the August 6 Woonsocket Call newspaper, the City of Woonsocket (in northern RI) is going to have all of its 3258 street lights replaced over the next five years with full-cutoff fixtures. This was announced by Blackstone Valley Electric (BVE) spokesman, Todd McLeish. Not only is the City of Woonsocket having its lights replaced, but all the communities serviced by Blackstone Valley Electric in northern RI are going to have full-cutoff light fixtures installed. The reasons given for the conversion are: the full-cutoff lights use less electricity but produce more light; drivers see just as well; and light is directed at the ground and does not spill into the sky, causing light pollution. Bill Gucfa, a member of Skyscrapers (Amateur Astronomical Society of Rhode Island), may have been instrumental in getting discussions started to convert the BVE street lights. He did start the City of Pawtucket, RI, on the road to full-cutoff lights, but it has recently been stalled. Pawtucket is in the Narragansett Electric service area as is Scituate, RI, where I am meeting resistance from Narragansett Electric. Narragansett Electric states: "As for shielding, the cost is also $25.00 per light. However, shielding is done only on a limited basis and a flat lens is used instead of a shield." They add that "...removal of lights is permissible upon payment of the portion that has not been depreciated for lights installed for a period of less than 10 years. .... The removal of lights could aveage $90.00 each." Also, they state "....discuss with your Town Solicitor the possible liabilities of removing street lights. There are many legal precedence that have been established by the courts which could unnecessarily expose the Town to legal action." Does anybody know of any such legal precedence as mentioned above in any other communities??? For some reason, as yet unknown, Narragansett Electric also stated that full-cutoff fixtures were not available to municipalities. Who else would they be making them available too, it at all? [This is the sort of problem we're up against all over America! -- D.W.E.G.] I expect to meet with a Narragansett Electric representative, the Scituate Director of Public Works and two Scituate Town Council members to see what can be done in the Town to curtail light pollution and the 20% over budget problem ($90K budget; $108K spent last year). --- Bob Napier, Skyscrapers, Inc., Scituate, RI NEW OUTDOOR LIGHTING ORDINANCE APPROVED IN TOWNSEND, MASS. I wanted to let you know that an outdoor-lighting bylaw that I authored (with the assistance of materials [that NELPAG] provided earlier this year) passed unanimously at Town Meeting in Townsend, Massachusetts, (population 9,000; 45 miles northwest of Boston) on May 6. Ironically, I could not be present, in spite of being the bylaw's chief advocate, because Town Meeting conflicted with a long-planned vacation. However, the Planning Board members ably presented the bylaw with help of a handout and poster I prepared, with photographs of good and bad lights in our town. As you will see, it is based on the Kennebunkport (Maine) ordinance, with some minor wording changes that evolved during various meetings and a public hearing. One difference is that our bylaw does not apply to street lights, because Town Counsel advised us that zoning bylaws cannot control the design of street lights. I have made and will continue to make an effort to educate the Selectmen (who are responsible for street lighting) on full-cutoff lighting and have also contacted the local utility (Fitchburg Gas and Electric). We currently have only 90 street lights in the entire town, so it's not too big an issue right now. Another feature of the bylaw is a section limiting the use of recreational facility lights to no later than 11:00 p.m.; this would apply even to existing lights. The positive response of people in this town to the lighting issue and the unanimous vote at Town Meeting cause me to agree with you that good lighting efforts could really take off. I feel great about achieving acceptance of a strong lighting bylaw in my town; I genuinely believe that Townsend will be a noticeably better place to live. One problem did come up --- I wondered if you had heard of this before. The proposal was reviewed by town counsel. The bylaw is written as an amendment to the zoning bylaws. However, town cousel believes that a zoning bylaw cannot regulate public street lights; only a general bylaw can do that. The bylaw would then apply only to private lighting, including parking lots, private subdivision roads, individual houses (if above 1800 lumens), etc. This would still be a great benefit, as street lights are probably a relatively minor issue here (there are 90 street lights in the entire 35-square-mile town currently). The idea then was to place a separate provision for public street lights in the general bylaws (as opposed to zoning bylaws). The bylaw we passed in May requires all newly installed or replaced outdoor lights on private property to be full cutoff and also imposes height limits. At the Sept. 9 Special Town Meeting, we had an opportunity to enact additional restrictions on outdoor lighting. The new restrictions are in the form of a general bylaw that addresses public outdoor lighting, including street lights, municipal buildings, schools, parks, and recreational facilities. All public lights are now subject to the same restrictions as private lights (i.e., they must be full-cutoff). The Board of Selectmen and Town Counsel had expressed concern about the public lighting bylaw, because they believe the Selectmen are entitled to discretion over street lights under state law. There was also concern over the perceived added cost of full-cutoff street lights. However, I demonstrated that other nearby towns (e.g., Harvard and Boxborough, MA) have and enforce bylaws that restrict street lights as well as private lights. I also successfully argued that the incremental cost of the full-cutoff lights is negligible ($20 each based on a phone inquiry to GE Lighting Systems), and would be recovered in a few months by the lower electricity costs from using lower watt lamps (e.g., using a 50-watt full-cutoff sodium-vapor lamp instead of a 175-watt mercury-vapor drop lamp). A phone call to our utility (Fitchburg Gas and Electric) confirmed that they would be willing to stock full-cutoff lights and would only charge us the incremental difference in costs for installation. Both bylaws passed unanimously on voice vote at the two Town Meetings. The text of the public lighting bylaw is attached. Please contact me if you want any other information. --- Mike Brown [email@example.com] 9.19 OUTDOOR LIGHTING 9.19.1 PURPOSE This Bylaw is intended to reduce the problems created by improperly designed and installed outdoor lighting. It is intended to eliminate glare, minimize light trespass and sky glow, and reduce energy use of outdoor lighting by limiting the area that certain outdoor lighting fixtures can illuminate in the Town of Townsend. 9.19.2 DEFINITIONS: For the purposes of this Bylaw, terms used shall be defined as follows: Direct Light: Light emitted directly from the lamp, off of the reflector or reflector diffuser or through the refractor or diffuser lens of a luminaire. Fixture: The assembly that houses the lamp or lamps and can include all or some of the following parts: a housing, a mounting bracket or pole socket, a lamp holder, a ballast, a reflector or mirror, or a refractor or lens. Flood or Spot Light: Any light fixture or lamp that incorporates a reflector or a refractor to concentrate the light output into a directed beam in a particular direction. Glare: Light emitting from a luminaire with an intensity great enough to reduce a viewer's ability to see and in extreme cases causing momentary blindness. Height of Luminaire: The vertical distance from the ground directly below the centerline of the luminaire to the lowest direct light emitting part of the luminaire. Lamp: The component of a luminaire that produces the actual light. Light Trespass: The shining of light produced by a luminaire beyond the boundaries of the property on which is it located. Lumen: A unit of luminous flux. One (1) footcandle is one (1) lumen per square foot. For the purposes of this Bylaw, the lumen output values shall be the initial lumen output ratings of a lamp. Luminaire: A complete lighting system including a lamp or lamps and a fixture. Outdoor Lighting: The illumination of an outside area or object by any man made device located outdoors that produces light by any means. Temporary Outdoor Lighting: The specific illumination of an outside area or object by any man made device located outdoors that produces light by any means for a period of less than seven (7) days with at least one hundred and eighty (180) days passing before the device is used again. 9.19.3 REGULATIONS: All luminaires for private outdoor lighting installed in the Town of Townsend shall be in conformance with the requirements established by this Bylaw. 18.104.22.168 The luminaire shall emit no direct light above a horizontal plane through the lowest direct light emitting part of the luminaire. 22.214.171.124 The luminaire shall be mounted at a height in feet equal to or less than the value 3 + (D/3), where D is the distance in feet to the nearest property boundary. The maximum height of the luminaire may not exceed 25 feet. 9.19.4 EXCEPTIONS: 126.96.36.199 Any flood or spot luminaire with a lamp or lamps rated at a total of nine hundred (900) lumens or less and any other type of luminaire with a lamp or lamps rated at a total of eighteen hundred (1,800) lumens or less may be used without restriction to light distribution or mounting height except that if any spot or flood luminaire rated nine hundred (900) lumens or less aims, directs, or focuses direct light toward residential buildings on adjacent or nearby land or creates glare perceptible to persons operating motor vehicles on public ways, the luminaire shall be redirected or its light output controlled as necessary to eliminate such conditions. 188.8.131.52 Luminaires used for roadway illumination may be installed at a maximum height of 25 feet and may be positioned at that height up to the edge of any bordering property. 184.108.40.206 All temporary emergency lighting needed by the Police Department, Fire Department, or other emergency services and vehicular luminaires shall be exempt from the requirements of this Bylaw. 220.127.116.11 All hazard warning luminaires required by government regulatory agencies are exempt from the requirements of this Bylaw except that all luminaires used must be shown to be as close as possible to the minimum required lumen output for the specific task. 9.19.5 NONCONFORMING TEMPORARY OUTDOOR LIGHTING: Nonconforming temporary outdoor lighting may be used upon issuance of a temporary lighting permit by the Building Inspector. 9.19.6 OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL FACILITIES: Illumination of outdoor recreational facilities (public or private), such as, but not limited to, football fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, softball fields, or tennis courts, shall not occur after 11:00 p.m., except to conclude a scheduled event that was in progress before 11:00 p.m. and circumstances prevented concluding before 11:00 p.m. 9.19.7 EFFECTIVE DATE AND GRANDFATHERING OF NONCONFORMING LUMINAIRES: 18.104.22.168 This Bylaw shall take effect immediately upon approval by the voters of the Town of Townsend at an annual or special Town Meeting. 22.214.171.124 Any luminaire lawfully in place prior to the date of this Bylaw shall be exempt from section 9.19.3 of this Bylaw until the luminaire is moved or replaced. 9.19.8 VIOLATIONS, LEGAL ACTIONS AND PENALTIES: 126.96.36.199 Violations and Legal Actions: If, after investigation, the Zoning Enforcement Officer finds that any provision of this Bylaw is being violated, he shall give notice by hand delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such violation to the owner and/or to the occupant of such premises, demanding that violation be abated within thirty (30) days of the date of hand delivery or of the date of receipt of the notice. If the violation is not abated within the thirty (30) day period, the Zoning Enforcement Officer may institute actions and proceedings, either legal or equitable, to enjoin, restrain, or abate any violations of this Bylaw and to collect the penalties for such violations. 188.8.131.52 Penalties: A violation of this Bylaw, or any provision thereof, shall be punishable by a civil penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25), and each day of violation after the expiration of the thirty (30) day period provided in paragraph 184.108.40.206 shall constitute a separate offense for the purpose of calculating the civil penalty. Approved at Town Meeting 5/6/97. DATE CLARIFICATIONS In the last Circular, the dating was a bit off on two of the items. This occurred because I usually do not sit down and compile a Circular all at once, but rather add things to a Circular as weeks or months go by, and then issue a Circular when I think enough things have accumulated (or there is something really urgent to get out). Thus, things often get dated, and an example occurred in Circular 16 under the Plymouth item, where I said that it passed at the Town Meeting at "last night's vote"; this was obviously written the day after the vote was taken (the vote being taken on April 15). Likewise, with Ellen Schneider's item, the reader may have read "Monday" as meaning May 5, where in fact it referred to April 28. Just to set the record straight. -- Ed. *********** 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).