Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Glens Falls considers lighting law; testy hearing

Chronicle staffer Zander Frost writes: A Glens Falls Common Council workshop was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 16, to discuss the proposed lighting law that would regulate outdoor lighting levels while “minimizing the undesirable side effects of excessive illumination such as light trespass and light pollution.”

It requires light fixtures “be designated to prevent light pollution by shielding the light source and directing light downward, away from the night sky and adjacent property or properties.”

It would apply to residences, but not to businesses or government buildings.

Any existing lights that violate the law “shall be altered, removed or replaced in conformity with the provisions hereof.”

An exchange between Mayor Bill Collins and resident Michael Borgos became testy at a Feb. 8 public hearing on the law.

Mr. Borgos, an attorney who lives in Glens Falls, suggested the proposed law is unfair, poorly defined, and unnecessary, as light trespass is already a violation of code.

He noted, “There are a lot of school district buildings that are in direct proximity to residences. Why don’t they have to have these cut-off fixtures? The city itself has a lot of street lighting that presents light 360 degrees and up into the sky.”

Mayor Collins said, “It’s a shame that you didn’t reach out to your councilwoman, and find out that we’ve been meeting about this…”

“We’ve had a committee that’s looked at this and our attorney, we looked at other municipalities…There’s reasons that for every concern that you have, that we left it out of our law by comparing to other laws. We actually think it’s really well thought out.”

Mr. Borgos said he first become aware of the law was the day before the hearing.

He said, “I went to the website first. And there was nothing posted about this meeting —and the public hearing. It wasn’t until yesterday that made it onto the website. So just pointing that out. I think it’s got to be out there for the public to consume and to be well vetted. And that’s really the idea behind good law is to have it discussed.”

Ward 3 Councilwoman Diana Palmer said, “It’s always good to have public input. And that’s what public hearings are for…I would suggest that we keep the public hearing open, we can meet in committee, consider all the comments. If we feel we need to make adjustments, we can do that. And then we’ll post the amended law.”

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