'Dark sky' lighting rules postponed

By Matt Ward —

Efforts to limit the nighttime glow in and around Fredericksburg will be delayed as the Fredericksburg City Council opted to postpone action on an outdoor lighting ordinance for an additional 30 days.

A vote to pass the ordinance during Monday’s regular meeting failed 3-2 with Mayor Jeryl Hoover and council members Tim Dooley and Graham Pearson opposed.

“This is about getting it better and getting it right and not turning down the issue completely,” Hoover said. “I think it’s a good idea to head toward the ‘Dark Skies Initiative.’ I don’t know enough about the consequences of city action to know whether or not I would be making a good vote tonight on that.”

The council agreed that they would like to reconsider the ordinance once all the proposed changes were written into the document.

“I am becoming a believer in what the initiative suggests as an outcome,” Hoover said, “but how we get there is what I’m talking about, to do it in a responsible way with regard to all the taxpayers who are not here who don’t care as much as some of you do.”

Commercial lighting

The primary focus of the ordinance would be on new commercial establishments and does not regulate residential lighting.

Existing lighting would be deemed as nonconforming, but would not be required to come into compliance unless the business applied for a conditional use permit, subdivision permit or site plan permit.

Recent revisions have included a “drop-dead” date of 10 years for retrofitting existing lighting for all businesses.

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