Save the Night | Be the Solution, Stop Light Pollution
Under Nantucket's Outdoor Lighting Bylaw, "all roadway lights and area lights along roadways must be shielded to prevent glare as seen from the road and only placed in areas deemed necessary for safety." (Chapter 102-3G)
However, the Town doesn't currently own the "cobra"-style streetlights that are on utility poles; those are owned by National Grid, which may not be subject to this bylaw. Nevertheless, National Grid will install a shield on its streetlights on a case-by-case basis upon request.
The bigger issue: If the streetlights on Nantucket are converted to LED to save energy and cut the Town's electricity costs, will they be dark-sky friendly? How do we ensure that they are? (To learn more, click here.)
Where a deviation to the Outdoor Lighting Bylaw is shown to provide "demonstrable community and/or health, safety, and welfare benefits," an exemption may be granted (Chapter 102-6).
The question is: Does the outdoor lighting at the public schools really need to be as bright and on as much as it is to serve the school's lighting needs?
We consulted an independent outdoor lighting expert about this. In a nutshell, he said the lighting at Nantucket Intermediate School is fine and the lighting at Nantucket Middle School and Nantucket High School is “mostly compliant” with applicable standards, with only a few minor infractions, but that the lighting at Nantucket Elementary School violated the Nantucket Code in several significant ways. To read his report (issued Dec. 2021), click here.
We have alerted school officials to his conclusions and urged them to follow his recommendations to bring the lighting at Nantucket Elementary School into compliance. Our letter, sent Jan. 27, 2022, is here.
Under Nantucket's Outdoor Lighting Bylaw, lighting required by the FAA for air traffic control and warning purposes are are considered "public safety benefits" and thus exempt from the provisions, requirements and review standards of that bylaw. (Chapter 102-5C and 102-6A)
To be explored: Is all the lighting at the airport required by the FAA? Could it be reduced and still meet FAA minimum requirements?
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