Town acted wisely in lighting decision
bravo and all manner of kudos, to the Sahuarita Town Council for its wise
decision to stick with Pima County's lighting code and
not buckle to powerful pressures to exceed the code for a new Wal-Mart SuperCenter.
Congratulations also to the residents who spoke at the Monday, Aug. 23,
Town Council meeting in support of dark skies.
The town's Planning
and Zoning Commission and Town Council deserve the thanks of area residents
and the staff of the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory for voting to honor
the long-standing tradition of dark skies and to acknowledge the scientific
and economic importance of astronomy to Southern Arizona, specifically the
Whipple Observatory and the world-class research being conducted there.
After hearing several residents speak in favor of retaining the dark skies
the area is known for, the Town Council voted to grant Wal-Mart and Diamond
Ventures a continuance they sought so that they can work out the details to
comply with the town lighting code, rather than exceed it.
The reversal by the developers was a welcome sign. We don't blame them for
trying to get brighter lights and more advertising impact, but we give them
credit for recognizing that the town's P&Z, Whipple Observatory and
area residents had an irrefutable point, that the lighting levels they
originally proposed could impair astronomical research done at the
Michael Racy, a lobbyist for the developers said the developers would bring
in a design to the Sept. 13 council meeting which would bring the light
level down to the one specified in the town code, approximately 48,000
lumens per acre.
Whipple spokesman Dan Brocious spoke at the Monday, Aug. 23, council
meeting, noting that he supported the continuance because he thought that,
with the help of a lighting designers, the
developers could meet the code and also set a healthy precedent for
development planned for the rest of the area.
We agree. This was an issue that should serve as an example of the
constructive role concerned citizens and major stakeholders in the area can
play in guiding future growth and development to protect the natural assets
that make this area such a desirable place to live.
©2004 Green Valley News & Sun