Subject: General Plan Update
Date: March 30, 2007
Dear: Supervisor

I have been circulating a petition to provide input to the General Plan.
I started this effort as a result of Supervisor Dickinson' and Supervisor Peters' comments regarding a desire for more citizen participation in General Plan Update.

My primary purpose is to have our General Plan address issues of Sky Glow, Outdoor Lighting, Light Pollution, Light Trespass, Over Lighting, Energy Waste and call for a Outdoor Lighting Ordinance.  In addition it should address Lighting Zones under the 2005 Title 24 California Building Standards and declare Sacramento County Lighting Zone 2 with some areas such as Dear Creek Hills, Stone Lake Wildlife Preserve, Cosumnes River Preserve, American River Parkway as Lighting Zone 1.

I have received many calls from people asking what to do about Light Trespass. They express frustration with lack of response by county officials.  In addition, the Sacramento Metropolitan Area has a very active Astronomy community and Light Pollution/Sky Glow has become so severe that it can no longer be escaped or tolerated. Backyard Astronomy can be the gateway to science education.

We have 8 Astronomy related business in the area from Grass Valley to Rancho Cordova which contribute significantly to our economy.  Ref.

Please Take Action Now to Preserve (RESTORE) our nigh sky and the natural night.  It can be done while providing safe streets and quality night time views of our community.  We can and should be good neighbors to our surrounding communities, even those 70 mile plus away.  

While Lassen County strives to protect it's night sky, sky glow to the south such as from the Sacramento area adversely effects the night sky over Lassen Volcanic National Park.
Night Sky Quality Monitoring at Lassen Volcanic NP clearly shows Sacramento looming above the horizon.

To see why the Sacramento area creates such sky glow please see Good and Bad Lighting in the Central Valley.

I include Internet URL References as a curtesy to reduce the content of my messages so please do review the links.

The following Counties and Cities have Ourdoor Lighting Ordinances and are only a small sample.  Again references can be found at
Counties -- San Benito(very good), El Dorado, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego
Cities -- Mammoth Lakes(very good), Placerville, San Juan Capistrano,  La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, Yucca Valley(very good), Hesperia, Chula Vista, Escondido, Imperial Beach, Oceanside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Jose, Davis(very good).

I include at the end, the latest version of the petition I have been circulating. It should be noted that not all signatures are from Sacramento County just as not all who testify before the board are from Sacramento County.  Light Pollution is a regional issue and degrades the night for 10s if not 100s of miles.  A number of signature sheets have been submitted to Mr. Surinder Singh with more to follow.

Here are some selected statements from other City and County General Plans.
Again more references and reviews at

--------------------  General Plan Reviews -------------------

City of Hollister , San Benito Co POLICIES 66, 67 page 97
66. Hollister shall require those proposing new development to use high-pressure sodium (HPS)
lighting for all street, pathway and parking lighting. (SAP)
67. Hollister shall require those proposing new development to fully shield and install all outdoor lighting fixtures so that no light is emitted above the horizontal plane running through the top of the source of illumination. (SAP)

Twenty Nine Palms
Section XXII
Preservation of the desert sky to perpetuate the view of the stars in the evening, is identified as a community asset. In implementing the General Plan, the City shall seek means of avoiding light pollution, trespass, and unnecessary glare. Outdoor lighting shall be the minimum necessary for security and safety purposes, utilizing shielding methods and prohibiting upward lighting which could diminish the night sky.

** NOTE --- Replace "desert sky" with "valley sky" and you have some good words for our GP.

B. Goal #1
A Land Use Plan which provides a desirable City in which to live.
Program 1.1.3
Lighting in and near residential areas shall be minimal and shielded to prevent nuisance glare.
Policy 5.2
The City shall preserve the existing night sky as a community resource.
Program 5.2.1
The City will regulate private and public lighting in a manner that perpetuates the view of the
stars in the evening.
Program 5.2.2
In approval of projects, lighting shall be required to be the minimum necessary for security and
safety purposes.
Program 5.2.3
All outdoor lighting shall be shielded to protect adjacent and nearby residential districts and
public rights-of-way.

*** NOTE ---  I don't like the use of the term "adjacent" or "adjacent property".  I prefer phrases like "all light shall be confined to the property where it originates". That is because the use of my own property is diminished by light trespass from lighting 3 blocks  away, as well general sky glow.

El Dorado County
Provide standards, consistent with prudent safety practices, for the elimination of high intensity lighting and glare.

Sonoma County General Plan Update.
Staff recommends Option 2, which would require adding a separate section to the
Open Space Element (Scenic Resources) to address issues related to night time
lighting and the preservation and conservation of the quality of the night time sky.
Adding such policies now would allow for interim General Plan policies until such time
as an implementing program is adopted. ...

Sonoma County Parks
... If it is not feasible to avoid night lighting entirely, fields could be equipped with lighting that is designed in terms of appropriate intensity for the setting, shielded downward, and screened to minimize light and glare spillage onto surrounding properties. ...

San Rafael General Plan 2020
Stationary light sources have the potential to adversely affect residences through spillover into adjacent properties. New light sources could also result in a greater overall level of light at night, thus reducing night sky visibility and affecting the general character of the community.

Lassen County General Plan  11. Scenic Resources
GOAL N-24: Protection of the scenic qualities of the county’s night sky.
NR81 POLICY: The County shall maintain and enforce policies, development standards
and mitigation measures to control lighting generated by development and to
minimize the unnecessary adverse impacts of such lighting in the vicinity of the
development and on the general scenic qualities of the night sky in the area.
NR82 POLICY: The County will encourage projects within Lassen County but outside
the County’s jurisdictional authority to include provisions to minimize the adverse
intrusion of lighting on the surrounding area and the night sky in general.

Lassen County General Plan - notes
The night sky of Lassen County is felt by many people to be an important and sensitive scenic
resource of the area. With the introduction and expansion of development projects in rural areas (e.g., the Correctional Center, power plants, car dealerships, etc.), there is increasing concern over the visual impacts and the adverse effects that extensive lighting has on the county’s scenic night sky. The glare of lighting from large developments can sometimes be seen for miles around and fades the brilliance of the moon and stars. Concerns have also been expressed that lighting which extends beyond the development site is an intrusion on the peace and privacy of affected people in the vicinity and sometimes of people miles away. The County recognizes that well-lighted areas are often important for safety and security. The County has frequently imposed conditions of approval on projects to require shielding of lights and other measures to provide that lighting is, as much as possible, directed to the areas where it is needed and the adverse effects on the surrounding area is reduced.

*** NOTE ---  Lassen County wording is very quite good, for a broad statement but lacks concerns about Light Trespass and Over Lighting.

----------------   Petition Contents   ----------------

To: Sacramento County Planning Department.
Subject: General Plan Update, Citizens Response To
Please include and fully address the following topics and issues in the upcoming General Plan Update.
1. Restoration, protection and preservation of the night sky and its wonders.  Restoration of the Milky Way in all parts of Sacramento County should be considered a minimum requirement and a community value.
2. Recognize that "Night is a place all its own," - "We need to plan for the night."  In all aspects of the planning process, Outdoor Lighting and its negative impacts should be fully addressed.
3. Recognize that the night is part of the natural habitat and that most creatures require darkness at night, some at very low levels.  Further that very low levels of light from distant locations can aversely effect many organisms.  
4. Recognize that our citizens and community deserve the freedom from light trespass and obtrusive lighting.  That glare free low impact outdoor lighting enhances our community at night and contributes to our economy.
5. Recognize that proper outdoor lighting can preserve the night and provide safety and security.    Modern fully shielded fixtures reduce sky glow, reduce glare, save energy, improve visibility and enhance the look of our community at night.
6. Recognize that light pollution, sky glow, and light trespass are a regional issue that every municipality should and must address.
7. Light Pollution as Sky Glow and Light Trespass knows no boundaries and extends far beyond the originating property.
8.  To fully address these issues Sacramento County should  (1. Include a Light Pollution or Outdoor Lighting Element in the General Plan  (2. Enact an Outdoor Lighting Ordinance.                                                                                                         V-4-20

----------------   Continued Comments   ----------------

Thank you for your consideration.

Jack Sales
5978 Woodbriar Way
Citrus Heights, CA 95621
(916)726-7405 H/O
(916)726-7405 Cell