Friday, September 10, 2004



Developers still seeking brighter lights
Latest proposal would exceed town code by 45= percent

By Philip Franchine





GREEN VALLEY--Developers of the= Wal-Mart= SuperCenter on= Monday will ask the Sahuarita Town Council to approve a plan for outdoor= lighting at 45 percent above the amount allowed by town code.

The developers, who originally sought 110,000 lumens per acre,= more than double the limit of 48,000, on Wednesday sent a letter to the= town saying they would like to amend their request "not to exceed= 70,000 lumens per acre."

A lumen is a measure of light emitted from a fixture.

Developers have insisted higher lighting levels are needed for= safety, but critics say they simply want to use the lighting as a form of= advertising.

The council meeting will be at
7= p.m. Monday= at Anamax= Park, 17501= S. Camino de las Quintas.

The council agenda was not available at press time, but will be= available at town hall, which is now located behind the post office at 725= W. Via Rancho Sahuarita.

The agenda also will be posted on the bulletin board in front= of the
Sahuarita= Unified= School= District= administration building, 350 W. Sahuarita= Road and at= a bulletin board in Bashas' grocery store.

Wal-Mart= Center will be= adjacent to a planned commercial area being developed by Diamond Ventures and= Evergreen Devco of Phoenix.

Spoke to homeowners

Clint Jameson of Evergreen in a letter to the town said the= developers have consulted with lighting expert Hy Kaplan and the Whipple= Observatory's spokesman, Dan Brocious, in order to refine the plan and that= the developers' lobbyist, Michael Racy, spoke to members of the La Joya Verde= Homeowners' Association last week.

However, Whipple sent a letter to the developers saying, in= part, "we have received your latest outdoor lighting plan for= Wal-Mart/Madera Marketplace and are disappointed to find it still contains more= than 40 percent more light than the Sahuarita Code allows.

"In the course of our meetings, we thought the design= criteria were clear: Create a lighting design that meets the lumen cap and= then show us any deficiencies it might have. We can then explore possible= solutions including a variance," the letter continued.

"We hoped the addition of a lighting designer to your team= would result in a plan that addressed the Code. The latest plan,= however...does not seem to be a fresh start or new design. Nibbling down on an= unworkable design will not meet the Code," the letter from Brocious said.

The developers' letter also said they have retained lighting= designer Miho Mizukami Schoettker of the Scottsdale-based lighting firm,= Akali Lighting Design, after Kaplan and Brocious suggested they hire an expert= in outdoor lighting design.

The Web site for Akali Lighting Design, www.akali=, says "Completed projects include Airports, City Lighting Master= Plans, Corporate Headquarters, Banks, Environmental/Landscape= projects, Governmental Facilities, Golf Club Facilities, High-End Golf Communities,= High-End Residences,
High= Rise= Office= Towers,= Historical Restorations, Hospitality Facilities, Museums,= Performing= Art= Center,= Religious Facilities, Retail Spaces, Malls, and Stadiums."

No experience

However, Brocious said that Schoettker said in a recent meeting= that she does not use in her designs low pressure sodium lights (LPS), which= affect astronomy work the least, and that she has not had experience= dealing with outdoor lighting limits.

The new lighting level may not please neighbors. Terry Klaum of= the La Joya Verde HOA sent an e-mail message to members of the HOA urging= them to attend the council meeting and criticizing the Racy presentation.

Klaum said in his e-mail that he had been told Schoettker said= she would not agree to 48,000 lumens per acre because it would not serve the= shopping center's aesthetics, while the developers have contended that= the increased lighting is needed for safety.

Start from scratch

The letter from Whipple said, "We suggest again that you= create a design from scratch that keeps the lumens limit in mind.

"If such a design shows that more light is needed at= certain locations on the site, well be glad to discuss solutions. We still hope= this development can be a showpiece for Sahuarita and Diamond= Ventures."

The developers and their critics each claimed to be following= the recommendations of the Illuminating Engineering Society of= North America.

The Whipple letter said "The easiest way to meet the code= from the current lighting level is to change the average foot candle to= approximately 1, as the IESNA recommends. That would bring the lumens per= acre to 48,600--certainly close enough." |= 625-5511 x 28