Subject: General Plan Update
Date: March 30, 2007
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
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.
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
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
Here are some selected statements from other City and County General
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
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.
GOALS AND POLICIES
B. Goal #1
A Land Use Plan which provides a desirable City in which to live.
Lighting in and near residential areas shall be minimal and shielded to
prevent nuisance glare.
The City shall preserve the existing night sky as a community resource.
The City will regulate private and public lighting in a manner that
perpetuates the view of the
stars in the evening.
In approval of projects, lighting shall be required to be the minimum
necessary for security and
All outdoor lighting shall be shielded to protect adjacent and nearby
residential districts and
*** 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
OBJECTIVE 2.8.1: LIGHTING STANDARDS
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
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 countyâs night sky.
NR81 POLICY: The County shall maintain and enforce policies,
and mitigation measures to control lighting generated by development
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
NR82 POLICY: The County will encourage projects within Lassen County
the Countyâs jurisdictional authority to include provisions to minimize
intrusion of lighting on the surrounding area and the night sky in
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 countyâs 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
---------------- 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
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
---------------- Continued Comments
Thank you for your consideration.
5978 Woodbriar Way
Citrus Heights, CA 95621