Security and Safety Issues. Dark-sky lighting restrictions includes proposals to cut current outdoor illumination wattage levels by more than half. Public lighting coming under attack from recent California Dark-sky legislation includes roadway lighting, traffic signals, parking lots, grounds lighting for parks and playgrounds, and illumination of public monuments and buildings.
Likewise, lighting on private property (private sector) has also come under attack and includes home security lighting, building façade lighting, service (gas) station canopies, lighting for ATMs, on-premise advertising signs, and billboards.
Trammeling of the First Amendment. On-premise signs, the lifeblood of small businesses across the country, would fall victim to lighting requirements so strict that consumers would no longer be able to read the sign’s message.
By restricting the lighting capabilities of on-premise signs to the proposed levels, business speech is censored, and businesses are denied their protected civil right to communicate to consumers in this manner.
Destruction of Private Property Rights. Dark-sky legislation threatens to place more than property under the control of local government.
Property owners living under historic zoning, limited growth agendas, or tree and noise ordinances, know well that their property is daily becoming less their own and more the property of the local zoning board and state and federal agencies.
With Dark-sky’s proposed imposition of “light districts” on communities, each “district” would carry its own level of light restrictions, and of course, a permitting process for use. Moreover, these light districts or zones, often have no relationship to the primary legal land-use. They appear to be arbitrarily overlaid on a community absent consideration of, or input from, the landowners.
Many Dark-sky proposals go so far as to call for a curfew period, after which no outdoor lighting would be permissible. Thus, dark-sky proposes to begin regulating the acceptable times for human activity, by driving residents indoors during nighttime hours, even on their own property!
Dark-sky Would Adversely Affect the Economy. Proponents of Dark-sky legislation claim that flipping the switch to “off” during the nighttime hours would conserve energy.
Power plants, however, generate power at a consistent level. There is no quantity control, or volume knob, if you will, on the major power producing facilities in our country. These power plants do not operate solely on demand. Rather, they produce a consistent amount of power that is supplemented during daytime “peak demands” by quick-start standby generating plants.
In other words, turning down the lights during nighttime hours when communities are routinely far below peak consumption levels does not conserve energy, it only decreases consumption.
For More Private Property Rights and Property Rights Law. Please visit www.defendersproprights.org.