Let's keep the night skies dark

Gradual pace of additional lighting means we haven't noticed glare

These are exciting times in Fredericksburg. A growing, healthy market is continuing to attract new investment, business and residents.

But that growth can come with unforeseen and unwanted consequences, and we are glad our city council is open to taking action to guard against one pitfall of population creep — the brightening of our night skies.

On Monday, advocates for dark skies gave a presentation to the city council about a new Outdoor Lighting Ordinance that could help preserve our night views for decades to come.

While some may see this as only an aesthetic issue, doing nothing will affect both quality of life and, potentially, tourism for those seeking to escape the “bright lights, big city” for a night under the stars.

As the Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Ernie Loeffler pointed out, “the preserved scenic beauty and dark skies of Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill Country will become even more cherished by all Texans. The (local) economy stands to benefit from these efforts for decades to come.”

The cumulative effect of night lighting in all of our homes and businesses has meant a poorer night view for all of us, even though at its gradual pace, we may not have realized it.

The city already passed a resolution last year in support of the dark skies initiative. Night sky-friendly lighting is now required for new construction.

Additional ordinances do not have to be heavy handed, and should keep in mind our residents who are both independent-minded and concerned about property rights. But a fair ordinance can remind property owners that simple, inexpensive changes can have positive effects and preserve our night skies.

Though the council took no action Monday — the presentation was informational only — their willingness to consider these measures and possibly retrofit some city fixtures is appreciated.

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