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California in brief / TRUCKEE

Lighting may be dimmed further

December 24, 2007|Associated Press

Truckee town officials are exploring ways to reduce lighting in order to better see stars shining brightly.

They're considering night-sky lighting standards as part of an ongoing update of the town's development code.

"I think the bumper sticker, 'The stars shine brighter in Truckee' is funny. It should say, 'The stars used to shine brighter,' " said Eric Larusson, a night-sky standards advocate and former planning commissioner.

"It's an aesthetic thing -- quality of life."

Town Planner Duane Hall said existing town standards require lights to be shielded, directing light down rather than up or out. Street lights also are restricted to 20 feet or less in height.

"Those standards have been somewhat successful," Hall told the Sierra Sun newspaper.

"But during the general plan update, the town council said, 'We pride ourselves on our environment, so let's see what we can do more to minimize light pollution.' "

In updating its development code, Hall said Truckee would use information from the International Dark-Sky Assn. and other cities with standards already in place.

Truckee probably will work with neighboring jurisdictions to keep collective light pollution low, he said.

"You don't see many streetlights in Truckee," Hall said.

"When they come up in new developments, the public overwhelmingly says, 'No, not in Truckee.' "

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